Government Relations

Government Relations Legislative Update

Government Relations Legislative Update

Updates on state and federal issues relating to the UW System.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Federal Update for September 11

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee released the details of the Continuing Resolution that will fund the government for six months beginning October 1, 2013.  It would increase across-the-board spending for most federal agencies by just over half of a percent for the first half of fiscal year 2013.

The bill will be debated on Wednesday, and the House is set to vote Thursday.  Senate leaders have yet to say whether they will vote for the House measure or seek to alter the bill.  So far, Congress has yet to clear any fiscal 2013 funding measures.

Following is a summary of the Continuing Resolution highlights as provided by the House Appropriations Committee:

Rate of Operations – The CR continues funding at the current rate of operations for federal agencies, programs and services. To meet the bipartisan agreement between the House, Senate and White House that ensured a total rate of operations at $1.047 trillion, a government-wide, across-the-board increase of 0.6 percent over the base rate is also included. In total, including all discretionary spending, the annual rate of the CR is $26.6 billion below last year's level.

Disaster and War Spending – The bill continues funding for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) at last year's level of $6.4 billion. This funding is used to provide relief and recovery efforts following disasters, such as the recent Hurricane Isaac. The bill also provides $88.5 billion in war-related funding for Department of Defense (DOD) Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), the amount requested by the Administration.

General Items – Virtually all policy and funding provisions included in currently enacted Appropriations legislation will carry forward in the CR. However, some changes to current law are needed to prevent catastrophic, irreversible, or detrimental changes to government programs, or to ensure good government and program oversight. Some of these provisions include:
  •  A provision allowing DOD to acquire supplies in other countries for use in Afghanistan.
  •  A provision allowing additional funding for nuclear weapons modernization efforts, to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the nation's nuclear stockpile.
  •  A provision allowing flexibility for the Customs and Border Patrol to maintain current staffing levels.
  •  A provision allowing additional funding and flexibility to sustain Homeland Security cybersecurity efforts.
  •  A provision allowing additional funding for the Interior Department and the Forest Service for  wildfire suppression efforts.
  •  A provision allowing additional funding for the Veterans Administration to meet an increase in the disability claims workload.
  •  A provision extending the current pay freeze for federal employees, which includes Members of Congress and Senators.
  •  A provision allowing the launch schedule of new weather satellites to move forward, ensuring the continuation of critical weather information, especially in the event of weather-related natural disasters.
  • A provision requiring every federal agency to provide spending plans to Congress to ensure transparency and the proper use of taxpayer dollars.