Senate Appropriations Committee unveils omnibus

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Senate appropriators revealed Dec. 14 details of their proposed $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill for fiscal 2011. The combined spending bill would fund the federal government at a level $29 billion below President Obama's February budget request.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Dan Inouye (D-Hawaii) proposes to introduce the bill as a substitute amendment to the continuing resolution approved by the House on Dec. 8.

"I do not believe that putting the government on autopilot for a full year is in the best interest of the American people," Inouye said in a prepared statement. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has reportedly expressed opposition to the bill, calling it "completely inappropriate" despite the presence of earmarks McConnell had requested for his home state in the bill.

Congress must pass some sort of spending bill by midnight Dec. 18, when the current continuing resolution funding the federal government expires, or the government won't be open for business the following day. Fiscal 2011 started Oct. 1, without Congress having completed any of the spending bills normally required before federal agencies can spend money.

The omnibus bill would fund the Defense Department at $10.3 billion less than requested, allocating $509.9 billion in what the Senate terms discretionary DoD funding (which also doesn't include the $157.8 billion it allocates for war operations). That number appears to be less than then House's continuing resolution amount of $513 billion, but a Senate Appropriations Committee spokesman said the Senate doesn't count an additional $10 billion in retiree healthcare costs as discretionary while the House does. Were the two numbers to be compared with the healthcare costs included, the Senate base budget amount would be $519.9 billion, the spokesman added. The Defense base budget request for fiscal 2011 was $549 billion; however, that amount also includes the military construction request, which is funded through the separate "military construction, veterans affairs and related agencies" budget. The Senate omnibus allocates $18.6 billion for military construction and family housing.

The Homeland Security Department, meanwhile, would get $43.5 billion under the omnibus, less than the nearly $43.9 the department requested for fiscal 2011, but more than the fiscal 2010 amount of $42.7 billion. For a deeper look at information technology funding levels proposed by the omnibus, and a comparison of hose levels to the House continuing resolution, check out the table below.

 

Program

House CR (approved by the House)

Senate omnibus (proposed)

Difference

DoD

Topline

$513 billion

$519.9 billion

$6.9 billion

DHS

Topline

$42.5 billion

$43.5 billion

$1 billion

DHS

Border and Security Fencing, Infrastructure and Technology

$574.2 billion

$574.2 billion

0

DHS

CBP IT modernization

$347.6 million

$347.6 million

0

DHS

ICE IT modernization

$84.7 million

$84.7 million

0

DHS

US-VISIT

$339.3 million

$339.3 million

0

DHS

NPPD infrastructure protection and information security

$878.3 million

$874.9 million

$3.4 million

DHS

USCIS e-Verify

$103.4 million

$103.4 million

0

IRS

Business Systems Modernization

$363.9 million

$364.2 million

$284,000

NARA

Electronic Records Archives

$72 million

$72 million

0

VA

Information technology

$3.16 billion

$3.16 billion

0

OMB

Integrated Efficient and Effective Uses of Information Technology

$0

$37.5 million

$37.5 million

For more:
- take a look at the proposed Senate omnibus
see a Senate Appropriations Committee press release about the omnibus--it has links to summaries of individual divisions of the omnibus bill

Related Article:
Congress makes a pass at funding fiscal 2011