The Senate has approved a mammoth bill providing $1.1 trillion for federal agencies this year. The measure fills in details of the budget deal that bipartisan leaders reached last week and the House approved Wednesday.
Highlights of the measure, which President Barack Obama is expected to sign:
—Overall: For basic agency operations — excluding the costs of war and natural disasters — the $1.1 trillion includes about $30 billion less than Congress originally provided for last year. But it is also about $20 billion more than was provided after automatic spending cuts called the sequester took effect for 2013. The total prevents $45 billion in sequester cuts legally required for this year because of the failure of Obama and Congress to agree to previous budget savings.
—War and disasters: Provides $92 billion for U.S. military operations overseas this year — mostly in Afghanistan — and nearly $7 billion for disasters. That’s about $1 billion less than last year for war and $44 billion less for disasters, when Hurricane Sandy drove up that price tag.
—Defence: Provides $487 billion, excluding war costs. Includes money for 1 per cent pay raise requested by Obama. Cuts operation and maintenance to $160 billion, $14 billion below last year’s enacted level. Cuts equipment procurement and research and development programs. Provides requested $157 million for Sexual Assault and Prevention Office.
—Military retirees: Exempts wounded military personnel who retire early, and their surviving spouses, from cuts in the annual inflation increases to their benefits. Congress approved the cuts last month to help pay for some of the increases in the spending bill.
—Obama’s health care law: Funded at lower levels than the administration wanted, including retaining last year’s $3.7 billion for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the program. Cuts $1 billion from Prevention and Public Health Fund, which Republicans worry the administration will raid to pay for improvements in the federal health insurance exchange.
—Health research: $29.9 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $1 billion more than the final amount provided for last year.
—Abortion: No new restrictions on federal funding. Continues existing prohibitions against funding most abortions, bars financing abortions for federal prisoners and public financing for abortions in the District of Columbia.
—Guantanamo: Prohibits transferring detainees from the American naval prison in Cuba to the United States.
—Transportation: No money for high speed rail, an Obama-backed initiative. The Federal Aviation Administration’s $12.4 billion budget is nearly $200 million below last year but allows full funding for air traffic controllers and safety inspectors.
—Domestic security: Holds Transportation Security Administration budget to $4.9 billion, more than $200 million below last year. Limits that agency to having 46,000 full-time screeners. Slight increases for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, including $2.8 billion — nearly $200 million more than Obama’s request — for detention and removal of immigrants in the U.S. illegally.
—Internal Revenue Service: Reduces its budget to $11.3 billion, $500 million below last year’s level. Provides none of the $440 million Obama wanted to help the agency enforce the health care law. In response to the agency’s admission last year that it targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny, bars the IRS from focusing on organizations due to their ideological beliefs. After reports of costly IRS training conferences, requires agency reports on training and bars spending for inappropriate videos.
—Financial agencies: Nearly $1.4 billion for the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is $324 million below Obama’s request. Small Business Administration budget also reduced.
—Environment: $8.2 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, slightly below last year’s enacted level. Contains language exempting livestock producers from greenhouse gas regulations, requiring EPA to report to Congress on its climate change programs. Includes more than Obama requested for some clean water projects.
—Education: Denies Obama requests for new preschool programs and new grants to make colleges more affordable. Provides additional $500 million to hire 6,000 more special education workers. Level spending for Pell Grants for lower-income college students.
—Flood insurance: Delays some premium increases based on new maps, but allows already planned higher premiums on vacation homes and properties that flood often.
—Food and agriculture: Small increases for feeding program for pregnant women and young children, Food and Drug Administration, aid to rural renters and for rural water projects.
—Law enforcement: Increases FBI to over $8 billion, including a near-doubling to $128 million of its money for running background checks on gun buyers. Provides small sums to help states improve records provided to federal background check system, for school safety and to train local police on responding to shootings. Increases also for Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
—Veterans: Extra money for technology upgrades, overtime and other spending to reduce the nearly 400,000 claims for disability benefits that have been pending for longer than 125 days.
—Diplomacy and foreign aid: Provides $25 million over Obama’s $5.4 billion request for security at diplomatic facilities overseas. Includes $3.1 billion in aid for Israel. Links aid to Egypt to that country retaining its security relationship with the U.S. and continuing to abide by its peace accord with Israel. Cuts assistance to Afghanistan to $1.1 billion. Bars the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and Export-Import Bank from halting work on overseas power plants, a provision aimed at protecting U.S. exports and jobs.
—Congress: $4.3 billion for Congress’ own operations, nearly $200 million below last year’s level and $250 below the president’s request for this year.
—Miscellaneous: Imposes government-wide ban on spending for officials’ portraits. Rejects Obama funding request for the International Monetary Fund, in effect blocking an overhaul of the international lending agency supported by Obama and the IMF. Extends freeze on Vice-President Joe Biden’s $233,000 salary for another year.