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Monday, August 30, 2010

FY2010 Supplemental for Wars, Disaster Assistance, Haiti Relief, and Other Programs

Amy Belasco, Coordinator
Specialist in U.S. Defense Policy and Budget

Daniel H. Else
Specialist in National Defense

Bruce R. Lindsay
Analyst in Emergency Management Policy

Rhoda Margesson
Specialist in International Humanitarian Policy

Kennon H. Nakamura
Analyst in Foreign Affairs

Maureen Taft-Morales
Specialist in Latin American Affairs

Curt Tarnoff
Specialist in Foreign Affairs

The Administration requested $64.3 billion in FY2010 supplemental appropriations: 

• $5.1 billion to replenish the U.S. Disaster Relief Fund administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); 

• $33 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD) primarily for deploying 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan; $4.5 billion in war-related foreign aid; and $2.8 billion for Haiti earthquake-related relief and reconstruction aid; 

• $243 million for activities related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; 

• $600 million for border security, and $129 million to reduce backlogs in patent requests; and 

• $13.4 billion to compensate veterans exposed to Agent Orange, and $3.4 billion to settle court cases about trust claims of American Indians (Cobell) and $1.2 billion for discrimination claims of black farmers (Pigford II). 

Much of the debate about this year's supplemental focused on the effect on the deficit of additional spending and, particularly, whether certain spending should be designated as emergency spending that Congress is not required to offset under congressional rules. Offsets can come from either rescissions, which cancel prior year budget authority (BA), and then apply that BA to new spending, thus reducing the amount of new budget authority required, or from savings in direct spending or mandatory programs. 

On March 24, 2010, the House passed H.R. 4899, the Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act, by a vote of 239 to 175, with $5.7 billion in funding, including $5.1 billion to replenish FEMA's Disaster Assistance Fund and $600 million for a Labor Department summer jobs program. Taking the bill's $600 million in offsetting rescissions into account, the bill required $5.1 billion in new budget authority (BA). A House Appropriations Committee (HAC) markup of an $84.8 billion draft bill with additional domestic spending scheduled for May 26, 2010, was cancelled. 

On May 27, the Senate passed its version of H.R. 4899 by a vote of 67-28, with $59.2 billion in funding for disaster assistance, war funding, Haiti relief, and new VA benefits, but without funding for the two court cases. Including its $380 million in rescissions, the Senate version required $58.8 billion in new budget authority. 

On July 1, 2010, the House passed an amended version of H.R. 4899 totaling $81.8 billion for disaster assistance, wars, Haiti relief, and new VA benefits, and additional domestic spending to prevent teacher layoffs, provide agricultural and energy loans, and Pell Grants, in discretionary spending and funding to settle the two court cases. With its $12.2 billion in rescissions and $4.5 billion in 10-year mandatory savings from lower government drug prices, this bill would have required $65.1 billion in new BA. On July 22, 2010, the Senate sent a message to the House disagreeing with the earlier version passed by the House on July 1, 2010. On July 27th, the House passed the Senate's May 27 version, which was signed by the President on July 29, 2010, and became P.L. 111-212. 

Part of the debate and timing of congressional action was driven by funding deadlines cited by the Department of Defense, FEMA, and the Coast Guard, some which proved to be somewhat flexible.

Date of Report: August 6, 2010
Number of Pages: 99
Order Number: R41232
Price: $29.95

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