US federal goverment spending bill details

The bill will be voted on in the next day or so. If it doesn’t pass there is the risk of another US government shutdown. The Washington Post outlines what is in the bill. Their list is quite long but here are some of the more interesting parts. Unless indicated the spending provisions run until September 2015.

ABORTION: The bill once again bans using federal funding to perform most abortions; blocks the use of local and federal funding for abortions in the District of Columbia; and blocks the use of federal dollars for abortions for federal prisoners.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: The law is still funded, but there’s no new money for it. There’s also no new ACA-related funding for the Internal Revenue Service and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the two agencies most responsible for implementing the law. The bill also would cut the budget of the Independent Payment Advisory Board — what Republicans have called “the death panel” — by $10 million.
No extra funding is no surprise whilst the one of the GOP pet hates the IPAB gets its funding cut.
AFGHANISTAN: Congress withholds funding for the Afghan government “until certain conditions are met,” including implementing the bilateral security agreement reached with the United States.
The Afghan government hardly excels in its level of competency. Not sure why the Americans even give the idea of providing financial assistance any serious thought. They are going to continue giving money to Egypt ($US1.3 billion) with provisos.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: The agency gets $8.1 billion, down $60 million from the last fiscal year. The agency’s budget has been slashed by $2.2 billion, or 21 percent, since fiscal 2010, according to GOP aides. The cuts mean that EPA will have to reduce its staffing to the lowest levels since 1989.
This was predictable, the EPA is another of the Republicans pet hates.
DODD-FRANK: Democrats agreed to make some of the biggest changes yet to the 2010 financial regulatory reforms. In a deal sought by Republicans, the bill would reverse Dodd-Frank requirements that banks “push out” some of derivatives trading into separate entities not backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporations. But in exchange, Democrats say they secured more money for the enforcement budgets at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Probably a win-win for both parties in the Congress. The banks have been lobbying heavily for changes to the Act since its inception. The GOP may well attempt to amend Dodd-Frank in the new Congress.
IMMIGRATION: The bill only funds the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees most immigration policy, until February [2015].
INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE: One of the GOP’s favorite targets will see its budget slashed by $345.6 million. The nation’s tax agency also would be banned from targeting organizations seeking tax-exempt status based on their ideological beliefs.
Again no surprises here either. The Republicans are still fuming about the Obama executive order and having a go at IRS funding was always going to be included.
Both parties have made some gains in terms of their respective agendas though it looks like GOP have possibly done better in getting what they want.

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