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Senate Appropriations Committee: Summary of Continuing Resolution through March 4, 2011

Press Release From: Senate Appropriations Committee
Posted: Monday, December 20, 2010

Below are highlights of the Senate amendment to H.R. 3082, a Continuing Resolution (C.R.) that would allow continued government operations through March 4, 2011. Cloture was filed on H.R. 3082 on Sunday, December 19, 2010, with a cloture vote expected to take place Tuesday, December 21, 2010. The current CR also expires on December 21, 2010.

Continuing Resolution Summary

Ongoing programs: Under the CR, funding would continue at FY 2010 enacted levels for most programs. In total, the CR would provide funding at a rate approximately $1.16 billion over the FY 2010 level.

Extended Authorizations and Other Actions: The CR extends authorizations or allows for continuous normal operations through March 4, 2011, for certain programs that would otherwise expire or be severely disrupted, including: New Anomalies:

* Freezes the pay of Federal civilian employees for two calendar years starting in 2011.

* Ensures that HHS obligates the same amount for LIHEAP during the CR as it obligated during the same period in FY 2010.

* Ensures that the maximum Pell Grant award remains at the same level it was in FY 2010.

* Clarifies the definition of a "highly qualified teacher."

* Adjusts the amount available for operations of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to prevent layoffs that would cause the agency to cease almost all operations.

* Adjusts the current rate of operations for the Veterans Benefits Administration to $2.1 billion, an increase of $460 million over the FY 2010 appropriation, to prevent layoffs of claims processers and to support efforts in reducing the processing times of disability claims.

* Prevents elimination of over $4.3 billion of reduced fee loans for small businesses that would otherwise expire.

* Ensures adequate funding to prevent significant scaling back of critical audits and investigations of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

* Prevents the need for a rate increase on telecommunications companies that would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher charges to consumer phone bills.

* Extends authority for current surface transportation programs to ensure that State departments of transportation and local transit agencies will be able to continue their ongoing infrastructure investments.

* Provides transfer authority for the Transportation Security Administration to sustain efforts to improve defenses against terrorist attacks, such as the attack on Northwest Flight 253 last December and the recent attempts against all-cargo aircraft.

* Provides transfer authority to the Coast Guard to address operational challenges, such as military pay. Anomalies continued from the previous CR:

* Allows the Federal Air Marshals to maintain the existing FY 2010 4th quarter coverage level for international and domestic flights.

* Allows the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to maintain the level of Customs and Border Protection personnel in place in the final quarter of FY 2010.

* Extends the authority for the Department of Defense to execute the Commanders Emergency Response Program which is an essential tool for military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan.

* Extends the application period for retroactive stop loss benefits throughout the duration of the continuing resolution.

* Extends for the duration of the CR the existing authority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to retain its authority to regulate chemical facilities that present high levels of risk.

* Extends for the duration of the CR the existing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authority to provide technical and financial assistance to States and localities for predisaster hazard mitigation activities.

* Adjusts the current rate of operations for the National Nuclear Security Administration's weapons program to $7 billion, a $624 million increase over FY 2010 appropriation, in conjunction with the START Treaty.

* Provides for the continuation of a program included under the Child Nutrition Act which will allow for school feeding activities where year round activities occur.

* Provides an additional $23 million to the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (formerly the Minerals Management Service) for increased oil rig inspections in the Gulf of Mexico. The increase in funding is fully offset with a rescission of unobligated balances.

* Allows the National Cord Blood Inventory contracts to continue at their current level through the duration of the CR.

* Extends the TANF block grant and Child Care Entitlement to States program at their current level through the duration of the CR.

* Reduces the amount available for BRAC 2005 from over $7 billion in FY 2010 to a rate equal to $2.35 billion, the FY 2011 request.

* Adjusts the current rate for operations for the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program in order to include in the rate for operations the $965 million that was advanced for Israel, Egypt and Jordan in the FY 2009 Supplemental.

* Continues the rate of operations for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF) at $700 million. This section also continues the terms and conditions included in the FY 2009 and FY 2010 Supplementals.

* Reduces the amount available for Census programs from over $7 billion in FY 2010 to a rate equal to $964 million annually, the same as the amount recommended for FY 2011.

* Permits the District of Columbia to spend funds under its local budget beginning on and after the October 1, 2010 start of fiscal year.

* Allows the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which is responsible for coordinating the federal policy relating to homelessness, to continue operating.

* Extends the current HECM loan limits for high cost areas through FY 2011.

* Extends the current FHA loan limits for high cost areas through FY 2011.

* Extends the current GSE loan limits for high cost areas through FY 2011.

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