In this episode, we look at the riders added to the must-sign
2015 budget, including favors for Wall Street, unions,
agribusiness, the oil and gas industry, electric utilities, the
vending machine industry, telecoms, the trucking industry, the
insurance industry, and the politicians themselves.
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CRomnibus Disaster Signals a Sad New Normal in D.C. by David
Dayen. The Fiscal Times. December 2014. Article:
Wall Street's Omnibus Triumph, and Others by Russ Choma,
OpenSecrets Blog, December 2014.
Agriculture & FDA
Commerce, Justice, & Science
TITLE VI- Travel Promotion Enhancement and Modernization Act
Energy & Water
Section 107: Federal funding can't be used to enforce the
mitigation regulations known as the "Modified Charleston Method."
The Modified Charleston Method was implemented in May 2011 and is a
formula for calculating how much wetlands need to be protected for
each acre of private development. This method protects more
wetlands than are protected when it is not used, generally
requiring 3 acres of wetland conservation for every acre destroyed.
Section 109: Prohibits changes to the regulatory definition of
"fill material" or "discharge of fill material".
Section 111: Prohibits the government from requiring a permit
dumping farming and ranching "fill material" into
Section 112: Deletes
an EPA/ Army rule that limits the farming and ranching "fill
material" that can be dumped without a permit.
Section 312: The Department of Energy is not allowed to
construct centrifuges for enriched uranium in 2015 and needs to do
a cost-benefit analysis of options for suppling enriched uranium
for war purposes and an "estimate to build a
national security train".
Section 313: Prohibits enforcement of
energy efficient light bulb standards.
- According to the Department of Energy, these standards will
save $17.7 billion in energy costs over the next 30 years, as well
as avoid 106 million metric tons of co2 emissions.
amendment was added by Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas, whose #5
contributing industry is Electric Utilities -
he's taken almost $200,000 -, although he get 69% of his money
from PACs. He has added it to must-sign legislation every year
Land Management & Environment
The Department of the Interior
USGS: For the United States Geological Survey to surveys and
research topography, geology, hydrology, biology, and the mineral
and water resources of the United States... approx $1 billion,
available until 9/30/2016.
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, offshore
safety: $125 million minus fees collected, estimated real
appropriation of $66 million for enforcing regulations for leases
for oil and gas, other minerals, and energy on the Outer
+ $65 million - minus fees collected- over half of which needs
to go towards expediting drilling permits on the Outer Continental
- Collection and disbursement of royalties, fees, and other
mineral revenue will get
- Wildland fire management:
- Hazardous fuels management and resilient landscapes activities
can be privatized.
- This money can be used by the Secretary of State outside the
- This money
can be used to pay off debts incurred for fires in previous
- This money
can be used as emergency funds to deal with earthquakes,
floods, volcanoes, storms, oil spills, and to control cricket
Section 122: Prohibits the Secretary of the Interior from
protecting the Sage-Grouse under the Endangered Species Act.
Environmental Protection Agency
$2.3 billion for fire suppression.
Section 411: Allows Alaska red and yellow cedar to be exported
to foreign countries.
- Press Release:
Petition Seeks to Protect Tongass' Ancient Yellow Cedars as
Endangered Species by the Center for Biological Diversity, June
Forest Service criticized over Tongass management by Maria La
Ganga, Los Angeles Times, November 2014.
Viking Lumber wins Big Thorne contract, again by Katie Mortiz,
Juneau Empire, October 2014.
In Alaska, a Battle to Keep Trees, or an Industry, Standing by
Michael Wines, New York Times, September 2014.
The Forest Service bets on second-growth logging in Alaska by
Krista Langlois, High Country News, January 2015.
- Article: Budget
bill boosts logging by
Section 419: No money can be used to regulate carbon dioxide,
nitrous oxide, water vapor or methane emitted from livestock
Section 420: No money can be used to require mandatory
reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management
Amendments identical to Sections 419 and 420 were attached to
the 2014 budget by Rep. Ken Calvert of Southern California. He
over $650,000 from Agribusiness.
Section 425: No money can be used to regulate the lead content
of ammunition or fishing tackle.
Labor, Health, & Education
Health and Human Services
Department of Education
Section 301: No money can be used for transporting children to
other school districts to "carry out a plan of racial desegregation
of any school or school system."
Section 303: No money can be used to prevent voluntary prayer
in public schools.
Department of Labor
Section 406: The National Labor Relations Board can't use their
money to provide employees with electronic voting for electing
representatives for their collective bargaining.
Section 506: The Departments of Health & Humans Services,
Labor, and Education can't use their money to pay for health
benefits coverage that includes abortion coverage.
Section 507: Abortions can be paid for with Federal funds if
the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest or if the mother's
life is in danger. States will be allowed to cover abortion and
abortion coverage can be offered separately.
Section 508: No money can be used for research that harms a
Section 521: No money can be used for programs that distribute
sterile needles to drug addicts.
Section 529: No money can go towards ACORN, "or any of its
affiliates, subsidiaries, allied organizations, or successors."
Ebola Response & Preparedness Ebola money is available for
use until September 30, 2019.
Over $1.7 billion for the Centers for Disease Control to
"respond to Ebola domestically and internationally."
- $10 million for hospital worker and emergency first responder
- $597 million for global health security
- The money can be used to purchase and insure vehicles in
Section 601: The CDC can use this money to "acquire, lease,
construct, alter, renovate, equip, furnish, or manage facilities
outside the United States."
$238 billion in "emergency" funding will go towards the
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases" to "respond
to Ebola domestically and internationally."
$733 million for the Public Health and Social Services
Emergency Fund to "respond to Ebola domestically and
internationally" to develop and purchase vaccines, "necessary
medical supplies, and administrative activities."
- Money can be used for the "renovation and alteration of
privately owned facilities at the State and local level"
Section 102: No money can be used to deliver a printed copy of
a bill to a Representative unless that Representative asked for
Section 105: No more than 50 copies total of the US Code can be
printed for the entire House of Representatives.
Section 1301: The Government Printing Office is renamed to the
Government Publishing Office.
Section 101: Construction contracts with guaranteed profits
will be allowed in Alaska and/or if the Defense Secretary says
there's a reason for one in writing.
Section 109: Military construction money can't be used to pay
property taxes in foreign countries.
Section 110: The military can't use this money for any new
installations without notifying the House and Senate Appropriations
Section 111: Architect or engineer contracts over $500,000 in
Japan, NATO countries, or countries bordering the Arabian Gulf must
be awarded to US firms or be partnerships with US firms.
Section 117: Money for military construction can be held &
used up to four years after it is appropriated.
Section 127: $125 million extra is appropriated until September
2018 for projects anywhere excepts in Europe.
Section 512: No money can be used to prepare any United States
facilities to house detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison.
- Veterans benefits will cost
$94 billion and medical expenses will cost
$59 billion, which is $153 billion total.
Section 236 The Veterans Integrated Service Networks are not
allowed to change their system for contracting for diabetes
monitoring supplies and equipment.
State Department & Foreign Operations
$2.1 billion for Worldwide Security protection for the State
Department, which has doubled
$3.5 billion will go towards the United Nations, including U.N.
$1 billion plus
$2.7 billion in "global health programs" funds will go to
$5.6 billion will go towards combatting AIDS, Tuberculosis and
$2.5 billion will go towards "development assistance", which
includes spending on:
- Setting up financial institutions
- "Policy and regulatory programs" that "improve the environment"
for financial institutions.
- Energy and storage facilities
- Schools spreading "ideas and practices of the United States,
including new education material and curricula
- "To expedite the location, exploration, and development of
potential sources of energy in developing countries"
Over $2.6 billion for the "Economic Support Fund", which
includes funding for:
$853 million for the War on Drugs
$145 million for "Peacekeeping Operations" to "enhance the
capacity of foreign civilian security forces" including military
forces in charge of policing civilians (gendarmes).
$106 million for "International Military Education and
$5 billion for the "Foreign Military Financing Program
- The money can be used "to procure defense articles and services
to enhance the capacity of foreign security forces"
- Over $3 billion must be grants to Israel
$1.3 billion can be put in an interest bearing account at the
NY Federal Reserve for Egypt, and the money can be used for weapons
as long as Egypt meets a list of demands (including giving
detainees access to due process of law).
$1 billion will be for Jordan.
- This money can be
used in the Western Sahara.
- This money can be used for
"counterterrorism and counterinsurgency" in Pakistan.
Section 7004: The State Department can construction "diplomatic
facilities" that include office space or "other accommodations" for
the US Marine Corps.
Section 7008: Money can't be used to directly assist
any government whose elected government is removed by the military.
However, we can give that country money again as long as the next
government is elected.
Section 7034: Prohibits money being used for "tear gas, small
arms, light weapons, ammunition, or other items for crowd control
purposes for foreign security forces that use excessive force to
repress peaceful expression."
Section 7041: We will give $150 million to Egypt as long as
Egypt is taking steps to
"implement market-based economic reforms".
Section 7041: The State Department can use its money to create
a new government and "promote economic development" in Syria.
Section 7042: State Department funds are going towards training
and equipping Ethiopian military and police.
Section 7042: State Department funds will also towards training
militaries in Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d"Ivoire, Guinea, and
Section 7042: State Department money will go towards managing
natural resources and supporting security forces in South
Section 7043: State Department money will be used for naval
forces, coast guards and nongovernmental organizations "directly
engaged in maritime security issues" in Asia.
Section 7043: State Department money will go towards the
Section 7043: State Department money will be given to the
military of Vietnam and for health/disability activities in areas
sprayed with Agent Orange and/or contaminated with dioxin.
Section 7044: The State Department can construct and renovated
US government facilities to accommodate Federal employees or
contractors or expand aviation facilities in Afghanistan if it
would "protect such facilities or the security, health, and welfare
of United States personnel."
- Money for Afghanistan can go towards "programs in Central and
South Asia relating to a transition in Afghanistan, including
expanding Afghanistan linkages within the region."
Section 7044: Money can go towards military training in Sri
Section 7045: State Department funds can be used to "support a
unified campaign against narcotics trafficking" in Columbia.
- 10% of the funds will go towards "aerial drug eradication
Section 7045: State Department funds can be given to the
Section 7045: State Department funds can be given to the
Honduran army and police.
Section 7045: State Department funds can be given to the
Mexican army and police.
Section 7074: $100 million for the Special Defense
Acquisition Fund, which is under the control of the Defense
Department, to buy weapons and defense services for foreign
Section 7083: The United States will contribute over $3.8
billion to the International
Development Association, a branch of the World Bank that
provides loans and grants to "boost economic growth" in poor
countries. It's our 17th contribution.
$1.3 billion will be for State Department security.
$7.6 billion for the War on Terror.
$1.5 billion for Ebola "assistance for countries affected by,
or at risk of being affected by, the Ebola virus disease
$500 million for national transportation infrastructure,
including highway, bridge, rail, port, and public transportations
$9.7 billion: For the Federal Aviation Administration. $8.6
billion is from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund so the taxpayer
subsidy for air travel is $1.1 billion.
$40 billion for the highway trust fund.
Section 133: Prohibits enforcement of regulations
until September 30, 2015. The regulations delayed say:
- Commercial drivers must not work for 34 consecutive hours
between weeks and that 34 hours must include two periods from 1am
- Commercial drivers must not drive more than 60 hours in 7
consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days. Truckers will
be able to drive for
82 hours per week.
The Department of Transportation wants truckers to sleep more.
Congress said no. by Lydia DePillis. Washington Post. December
Survey Shows Hours of Service Top Trucking Concern. Trucking
Info. October 2014. OpenSecrets: Senator Susan Collins of Maine
inserted the rider on behalf of the trucking industry.
She received $21,000 from the trucking industry for the 2014
election. The trucking industry also gave
$87,150 to Senator Mitch McConnell, the new Majority Leader in
Section 235 Forbids funding for a program that reduces mortgage
rates for first time home buyers who go through
home counseling and financial education.
Section 420 "It is the sense of Congress that the Congress
should not pass any legislation that authorizes spending cuts that
would increase poverty in the United States."
Funding for the Department of Homeland Security remains at the
same levels as 2014. Funding runs out on February 27, 2015.
Expatriate Health Coverage
This section includes the altered text of HR 4414,
the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act of 2014, which
was discussed on Congressional Dish episode CD075:
The April Bills.
The original version of this bill was written by Rep. John
Carney of Delaware, who has taken
over $312,000 from the insurance industry.
In May, as discussed on Congressional Dish episode CD071: Our
New Laws, the President signed into law the Gabriella
Miller Kids First Research Act, which
eliminated public financing of political party conventions.
We don't know exactly how much individuals will be able to
contribute to political parties now that this provision is law.
NPR has a different number than the
Washington Post, which has a different number than
The New York Times. Congressional Dish calculations indicate
that the changes will allow an individual to contribute at least
$257,400 per year and that amount
increases every two years based on the Consumer Price
Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA),
pensions for retiree's who have already started to collect benefits
can't be cut unless a company goes into bankruptcy. This
section changes the law to allow benefit cuts to multi-employer
pension plans under other scenarios.
Section 102: Allows a multi-employer pension plan to be labeled
status" five years before it's projected to actually meet
critical status criteria, if the plan sponsor chooses to label it
Labor list of Multi-Employer Plans listed as "critical
Rep. John Kline has taken over $14 million in campaign
contributions from all kinds of industries. OpenSecrets: Former
Rep. George Miller took over $2.4 million from unions, that we
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