Congress recently passed and the President signed into law a $1.3 trillion spending bill that funds the government through September 2018. But the adminstration is now taking steps to slash the increases they disagree with.
AFGE members take this threat seriously and are prepared to fight to keep any gains from the omnibus spending bill.
Leading up to the final passage of the bill, AFGE members worked hard to remind lawmakers how these taxpayer programs create safe and thriving communities across the country. Our efforts have blunted the impact of the administration’s devastating proposal which would have forced very deep cuts in a variety of critical taxpayer services such as medical research, veterans healthcare, education, and safe drinking water.
While we did not get everything we wanted, the bill did contain several items we strongly supported. Most agencies also received a bump in funding to deal with increasing demands for services as the population grows.
But if some lawmakers gets their way, some of the budget increases would be rolled back.
Here are the highlights of our gains:
- A governmentwide ban on A-76 privatization studies. This protects taxpayers from being looted by businesses charging the government two to three times more for the same work done by federal civilian employees.
- VA privatization is not in the bill. The Department of Veterans Affairs receives $185.4 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding, which is $8.5 billion more than 2017.
- A provision prohibiting base realignment and closure (BRAC) for both Department of Defense and VA facilities.
- A provision prohibiting civilian caps, direct conversions, and contracting out without public-private competitions in the Department of Defense.
- Congress rejected the administration’s request to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 30%. The agency receives the same funding it did in 2017.
- The Social Security Administration receives $12.9 billion, which is a $480 million increase. Lawmakers expressed concerns about SSA’s decision to close field offices. They stated that SSA should not make any final decision to close other offices until the IG has finished reviewing closure decisions.
- The Bureau of Prisons gets $7.28 billion, an increase of $140 million.
- ICE receives $7 billion, a $600 million increase.
- Border Patrol receives $4.3 billion, an increase of $90 million.
- TSA receives $7.9 billion, which is $114.6 million more than last year. Within the total, $3.2 billion is for TSA’s screener workforce and $185 million is for the private screener program.
- FEMA gets $12.3 billion, which is $900 million more than last year.
- The National Science Foundation receives $7.7 billion, an increase of $300 million.
- The National Institutes of Health gets $37 billion, which is an increase of $3 billion.
- The National Park Service receives $3.2 billion, a $270 million increase.
- Numerous agencies covered under the Interior and Environment bill receive additional funds to address critical maintenance backlogs, including $138 million at NPS, $53 million at the Fish and Wildlife Service, and $50 million at the Bureau of Land Management.
- The bill provides $153 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, which the White House sought to eliminate.
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development receives $42.7 billion, a $3.9 billion increase. This funding will be in part used to create new units for veterans housing. The law also appropriates money for vouchers for persons with disabilities and other housing programs.
- Congress also appropriated money for various infrastructure projects across the country. The Department of Transportation receives $27.3 billion, an increase of $8.7 billion above the 2017 levels. The law fully funds federal employees serving as air traffic controllers, safety inspectors, and support personnel.
- Congress rejected the administration’s proposal to cut the Department of Education’s budget. Instead, it gave the agency $51 billion, an increase of $2.7 billion. Congress also blocked the agency’s effort to reorganize and decentralize the Budget Service office. The administration has been trying to dismantle public schools and transfer public funds to private school vouchers.
- $9.9 billion is for Head Start, which is $610 million more than last year.
- Congress rejected the administration’s plan to drastically reduce personnel and programs at the State Department and the Agency for International Development.
- The bill maintains or increases funding for life-saving global health programs such as those combatting HIV/AIDS.
- $3.7 billion is dedicated to fighting the opioid crisis, an increase of $2.7 billion.
We will keep you updated on the White House's next move. Stay tuned and be ready to act if the administration rescinds portions of the Omnibus funding.