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Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2005 VA/HUD Appropriations Bill

Press Release From: Senate Appropriations Committee
Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved FY 2005 Appropriations bill funding the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency and other independent agencies.

The bill totals $128 billion, of which $35.1 billion is mandatory and $92.930 is discretionary budget authority. Highlights of the bill are listed below:

Department of Veterans Affairs: Overall, the bill recommends over $66 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). With collections, the bill provides almost $68.1 billion. Of this amount, $35.1 billion is for mandatory programs and almost $33 billion (including collections) is for discretionary programs. -- Medical Care - For medical care activities, the bill recommends $30 billion, with collections ($2 billion). This level is $1.96 billion over the FY04 level and $1.22 billion over the Budget Request. The bill designates $1.2 billion in medical services as an emergency. The bill does not include the proposed fees included in the budget request. The bill also contains a new $20 million - Prosthetics and Integrative Health Care Initiative - to treat returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan who have lost limbs in combat.

-- Construction - For construction programs, the bill recommends the budget request levels of $458.8 million for major construction and $230.8 million for minor construction. Of these funds, $370.7 million of major construction and $182.1 million of minor construction are designated for the "Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services" or CARES.

-- Other highlights include: (1) $405.6 million for medical and prosthetic research (+$20.8 million over budget request); (2) an additional $75 million for VBA operating expenses to prevent staff reductions in processing disability claims benefits; and (3) the budget request level of $105 million for state home construction. All other programs are at the budget request level.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): HUD is funded at $36.4 billion, an increase of $1 billion over the FY04 level and $700 million over the Budget Request.

-- Section 8 is funded at $20.707 billion, an increase of $2.24 billion over the Budget Request and $1.426 billion over the FY '04 level.

-- Public Housing Capital Fund. The bill includes $2.7 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund for FY05, an increase of $4 million over the FY04 level and $26 million over the Budget Request.

-- Public Housing Operating Fund. The bill includes $2.61 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund, a decrease of $969 million from the FY04 level and $963 million from the Budget Request. This reduction reflects a requirement that PHAs convert to calendar year accounting which results in savings of a little more than $1 billion. About $50 million in additional funds are included for transition costs.

-- Revitalization of Distressed Public Housing (HOPE VI). The bill includes $150 million for HOPE VI, approximately the same as the FY04 level and an increase of $150 million over the budget request which recommended elimination of the program.

-- Native American Housing Block Grant program (NAHASDA). The bill includes $650 million for NAHASDA, the same as FY04 and some $3.2 million more than the budget request.

-- Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) - The bill includes $4.95 billion for CDBG, an increase of $29 million over the FY04 level and some $332 million over the budget request.

-- HOME Program - The bill includes $2.05 billion for HOME, an increase of $44 million from the FY04 level and a decrease of $34 million from the Budget Request. The account includes $50 million for the American Dream Downpayment program. The account also includes $45 million for housing counseling.

-- Homeless Assistance Grants - The bill includes $1.26 billion for homeless assistance which is $44 million more than the FY04 level and $34 million less than the budget request.

-- Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) - The bill includes $295 million for HOPWA for FY05, about the same as the FY04 level and the same as the budget request.

-- Housing for the Elderly (Section 202 Housing) - The bill includes $774 million (including $53 million for service coordinators) for Section 202 Elderly Housing, approximately the same as FY04 level and the budget request.

-- Section 811 Disabled Housing - The bill includes $250 million for Section 811 Disabled Housing, about the same as the FY04 level and the budget request.

-- Office of Lead Hazard Control - The bill includes $175 million for the Office of Lead Hazard Control, which is the same as the FY04 level and $36 million more than the budget request. The bill includes $50 million for the Bond-Mikulski Lead Hazard Elimination program which was proposed for elimination.

Corporation for National and Community Service: The bill recommends $590 million for the Corporation. This level is about $52.2 million below the budget request and $9 million above the FY04 level.

-- AmeriCorps - The bill provides the budget request levels of $291.9 million for State and National grants and $150.5 million for the National Service Trust. These funding levels will support 75,000 new AmeriCorps members.

--Other highlights include - (1) $10 million for Points of Light; (2) $5 million for America's Promise; and (3) $26 million for AmeriCorps NCCC.

American Battle Monuments Commission (AMBC): The bill recommends $46.1 million for ABMC, a $5 million increase above the Budget Request. The additional funds are provided to make up for the Commission's operating funding shortfalls due to the unexpected drop in value of the U.S. dollar compared to the euro ("foreign currency fluctuation"). The bill also provides the budget request level of $9.1 million for the new Normandy Interpretative Center.

Environmental Protection Agency: The total funding level for the agency is $8.5 billion which is $134.6 million above the FY04 enacted level and $711 million above the budget request.

-- The Science and Technology (S&T) account is funded at $758 million which is $23.5 below the FY04 enacted level and $69 million above the budget request. An additional $36 million is available from the Superfund account.

-- The Environmental Programs and Management (EPM) account is funded at $2.3 billion which is $30.217 million above the FY04 enacted level and $6.7 million below the budget request.

-- The Superfund account is funded at $1.381 billion which is equal to the budget request and $123.9 million above the FY04 level.

-- The State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) account is funded at $3.886 billion which is $8.8 million above the FY04 level and $654.75 million above the budget request. The Clean Water SRF is funded at $1.35 billion which is the same as the FY04 enacted level and $500 million above the budget request. The Drinking Water SRF is funded at $850 million which is equal to both the budget request and the FY04 level.

-- The total funding level for Brownfields is $165 million. This program is comprised of two major parts in the STAG account which are as follows: Categorical grants are funded at $50 million; Infrastructure projects are funded at $90 million. $25 million is also included for the Brownfields program in the EPM account.

National Science Foundation (NSF): is funded at $5.75 billion, the same level as the proposed budget by the Administration. This is an increase of $169 million, or 3% over the FY04 level.

-- Plant genome is funded at $95 million, an increase of $5 million over FY04.

-- Additional funds are included for the following minority programs:

--- HBCU UP $27 million, a $7 million increase (minority undergraduate)

--- Lewis Stokes Alliances $36.3 million, a $2 million increase.

--- CREST/THRUST $20 million, a $9 million increase. -- Tech Talent: $26.21 million, an increase of $11 million

-- Informal Science: $65 million, an increase of $15million.

-- EPSCoR is increased in funding to reach the FY04 funding levels of $95million

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): is funded at $16.379 billion, an increase of $200 million over the FY04 enacted level, and a reduction of $665 million from the budget request. An additional $800 million in emergency funding was added for NASA during the Committee's consideration of the bill.

-- The return to flight activities for the Shuttle program are funded at $4.319 billion, the requested level from the Administration.

-- The International Space Station is funded at $1.6 billion. The bill reduces ISS operations by $120 million due to the continued reduced capability of the ISS for at least half of FY05.

-- The Moon/Mars vision:

--- The Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) is funded at $268 million.

--- A lunar exploration mission is funded at $20 million.

--- $10 million is provided for Centennial Challenges. Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NRC): is funded at $115 million, the same as FY04 and the budget request.

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