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H.R. 5025 (108th): Transportation, Treasury, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2005

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

9/22/2004--Passed House amended. Transportation, Treasury, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2005 - Title I: Department of Transportation - Makes appropriations for FY 2005 for: (1) the Department of Transportation (DOT), Office of the Secretary; (2) the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); (3) the Federal Highway Administration (FHA); (4) the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA); (5) the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA); (6) the Federal Transit Administration (FTA); (7) the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation; (8) the Maritime Administration; (9) the Research and Special Programs Administration; and (10) the Office of Inspector General.

(Sec. 102) Increases from 350 (during FY 2004) to 375 the maximum number of technical staff-years for whose compensation funds may be used under the federally funded research and development center contract between the FAA and the Center for Advanced Aviation Systems Development during FY 2005.

(Sec. 103) Bars the use of funds made available in this Act for engineering work related to an additional runway at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

(Sec. 105) Bars the use of funds appropriated or limited by this Act by this Act to change weight restrictions or prior permission rules at Teterboro Airport in Teterboro, New Jersey.

(Sec. 106) Extends the Secretary of Transportation's authority to issue war risk insurance through December 31, 2005.

(Sec. 123) Transfers certain highway funds for Routes 70/38 Circle Elimination, New Jersey, to other specified New Jersey projects, including: (1) Mantua Creek Overpass in Paulsboro; (2) Delsea Drive Route 47 Timber Creek in Westville; (3) Camden Northern End Parking Garage in Camden; and (4) Route 47 Chapel Heights Avenue in Gloucester.

(Sec. 124) Prohibits the use of funds made available under this Act to require a State or local government to post a traffic control device or variable message sign, or any other type of traffic warning sign, in a language other than English (except with respect to the names of cities, streets, places, events, or signs related to an international border).

(Sec. 142) Prohibits the use of funds under this Act to implement or enforce any provisions of the Final Rule, issued on April 16, 2003 (Docket No. FMCSA-97-2350), with respect to either: (1) the operators of utility service vehicles; or (2) maximum daily hours of service for drivers engaged in the transportation of property or passengers to or from a motion picture or television production site located within a 100-air mile radius of the work reporting location of such drivers.

(Sec. 161) Authorizes FRA to: (1) use appropriated funds to provide for installation of a broad band high speed Internet service connection (including necessary equipment) for FRA employees; and (2) either pay directly recurring monthly charges, or reimburse a percentage of such monthly charges which are paid by such inspectors. Requires FRA to certify that: (1) adequate safeguards against private misuse exist; and (2) the service is necessary for direct support of its mission.

(Sec. 175) Transfers unobligated balances from the FTA's Discretionary Grants account to: (1) its Formula Grants account; and (2) the Interstate Transfer Grants -Transit account. Requires such balances to be used, together with Formula Grant funds available for reapportionment in such account, to restore obligation authority reduced due to a prior deficiency.

(Sec. 187) Prohibits funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act from being used to implement or make an award pursuant to the National Defense Tank Vessel Construction Assistance Program Request for Proposals issued by the Maritime Administration on February 20, 2004.

(Sec. 189) Makes DOT appropriations contained in this Act available for the procurement by an agency head of temporary or intermittent services of experts or consultants, but at rates for individuals not to exceed the per diem rate equivalent to the rate for an Executive Level IV.

(Sec. 190) Prohibits funds under this Act from being: (1) made available for salaries and expenses of more than 106 DOT political and Presidential appointees; or (2) used to implement the establishment of a National Highway Safety Advisory Committee.

(Sec. 192) Prohibits a recipient of funds made available in this Act from disseminating personal information obtained by a State department of motor vehicles in connection with a motor vehicle record, except for specified permitted uses.

(Sec. 194) Authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to allow the issuer of preferred stock sold to DOT to redeem or repurchase it upon the payment to DOT of an amount determined by the Secretary.

(Sec. 195) Prohibits funds in this title from being used to make a grant unless the Secretary notifies the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations at least three full business days before any discretionary grant award, letter of intent, or full funding grant agreement totaling $1 million or more is announced from: (1) any discretionary grant program of the Federal Highway Administration other than the emergency relief program; (2) the airport improvement program of the FAA; or (3) any program of the FTA other than the formula grants and fixed guideway modernization programs. Provides that no notification shall involve funds that are not available for obligation.

(Sec. 197) Makes recovered improper payments by DOT to a third party contractor under a financial assistance award available to: (1) reimburse the actual expenses incurred in recovering improper payments; and (2) pay contractors for services provided in recovering them.

(Sec. 198) Authorizes the Secretary to transfer unexpended balances available for the bonding assistance program from "Office of the secretary, salaries, and expenses" to "Minority business outreach".

(Sec. 199) Prohibits funds made available in this Act for DOT from being obligated for the Office of the Secretary to approve assessments or reimbursable agreements pertaining to funds appropriated to the modal administrations in this Act, except for activities underway on enactment of this Act, unless such assessments or agreements have completed the normal reprogramming process for congressional notification.

Title II: Department of the Treasury - Authorizes appropriations for FY 2005 for the Department of the Treasury, including: (1) department-wide systems and capital investments; (2) the Office of Inspector General; (3) Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration; (4) the Air Transportation Stabilization Board; (5) the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network; (6) the Financial Management Service; (7) the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau; (8) the United States Mint; (9) the Bureau of the Public Debt; and (10) the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

(Sec. 211) Amends Federal law to extend from six years to seven years the authorization for the personnel management demonstration project providing for the compensation and performance management of not more than a combined total of 950 employees who fill critical scientific, technical, engineering, intelligence analyst, language translator, and medical positions in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

(Sec. 212) Extends through October 1, 2005, the Treasury Franchise Fund.

(Sec. 213) Amends Federal law to declare that the Secretary of the Treasury shall not be liable for a payment made by the Secretary or depository in due course and without negligence of an electronic payment issued by the Treasury or the depository. Requires the amount of liability relief to be charged to the Check Forgery Insurance Fund, and any recovery or repayment of a loss for which replacement is made out of the fund to be credited to such fund.

(Sec. 215) Prohibits the use of funds appropriated by this Act or any other source to merge the U.S. Mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing without the approval of specified congressional committees.

Title III: Executive Office of the President and Funds Appropriated to the President - Authorizes appropriations for FY 2005 for compensation of the President and salaries and expenses of designated White House agencies, including: (1) the Council of Economic Advisers; (2) the National Security Council (NSC); (3) the Homeland Security Council; (4) the Office of Administration; (5) the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); (6) the Office of National Drug Control Policy; (7) various other specified Federal Drug Control Programs; and (8) special assistance to the President and the official residence of the Vice President.

Title IV: Independent Agencies - Authorizes appropriation for FY 2005 for independent agencies, including: (1) the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board; (2) the National Transportation Safety Board; (3) Federal Election Commission; (4) the Election Assistance Commission; (5) the Federal Labor Relations Authority; (6) the Federal Maritime Commission; (7) the General Services Administration (GSA); (8) the Merit Systems Protection Board; (9) the Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation; (10) the Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund; (11) the National Archives and Records Administration; (12) the National Historical Publications and Records Commission; (13) the Office of Government Ethics; (14) the Office of Personnel Management (OPM); (15) the Office of Inspector General; (16) the Office of Special Counsel; (17) the U.S. Postal Service; and (18) the U.S. Tax Court.

Title V: General Provisions (This Act) - Sets forth permissions for and restrictions upon the use of funds under this Act.

(Sec. 507) Prohibits payment of the salary from any appropriation under this Act for any person filling a permanent or indefinite position formerly held by an employee who has: (1) left to enter the U.S. Armed Forces; (2) satisfactorily completed his period of active military or naval service; (3) within 90 days after release from such service, or from hospitalization continuing after discharge for a period of not more than one year, applied for restoration to his former position; and (4) been certified by OPM as still qualified to perform the duties of his former position, but not been restored to it.

(Sec. 512) Prohibits the availability of funds under this Act to any person or entity that has been convicted of violating the Buy American Act.

(Sec. 513) Prohibits the availability of funds appropriated under this Act to pay for an abortion, or the administrative expenses in connection with any health plan under the Federal employees health benefits program which provides any benefits or coverage for abortions (except where the life of the woman would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest).

(Sec. 519) Prohibits the use of funds made available under this Act to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce a proposed rule declaring real estate brokerage to be an activity that is financial in nature or incidental to a financial activity, thereby permitting banks to enter the real estate business as agents and brokers.

(Sec. 520) Expresses the sense of Congress that the DOT should consider programs to reimburse general aviation ground support services at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (including airports located within 15 miles of such airport) for their financial losses due to Government actions after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

(Sec. 521) Prohibits the obligation of funds made available under this Act to establish or implement a pilot program (commonly known as the EAS local participation program) under which up to ten designated essential air service communities located in proximity to hub airports are required to assume ten percent of their essential air subsidy costs for a four-year period.

Title VI: General Provisions (Departments, Agencies, and Corporations) - Sets forth requirements for the use of appropriations by designated departments, agencies, and corporations.

(Sec. 617) Sets restrictions upon the use of appropriations by any Federal department, agency, or instrumentality unless it has in place, and will continue to administer in good faith, a written policy designed to ensure that all workplaces are free from discrimination and sexual harassment and are not in violation of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

(Sec. 631) Amends Federal law to extend from October 1, 2004, to October 1, 2005, the authorization for the franchise fund pilot programs in six executive agencies.

(Sec. 632) Prohibits the use of funds appropriated by this Act by any Federal agency to collect, review, or create any aggregation of data by any means of any personally identifiable information relating to an individual's access to or use of any Federal Government Internet site.

(Sec. 633) Prohibits the use of funds appropriated by this Act to enter into or renew a contract for a Federal employee health plan which includes a provision providing prescription drug coverage, except where the contract also includes a provision for contraceptive coverage. Exempts specified religious plans. Prohibits such a health plan, however, from discriminating against an individual on the basis that the individual refuses to prescribe contraceptives because such activities would be contrary to his or her religious beliefs or moral convictions.

(Sec. 638) Requires a pay increase of 3.5 percent for civilian employees of the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security for FY 2005.

(Sec. 639) Bars the FHA from using funds made available in this Act to develop or disseminate any version of a programmatic agreement which regards the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways as eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

(Sec. 641) Bars the use of funds appropriated by this Act to plan, enter into, implement, or provide oversight of contracts between the Secretary of the Treasury, or his designee, and any private collection agency.

(Sec. 642) Reduces by a certain amount the moneys otherwise provided by this Act for deposit in the Federal Buildings Fund. Specifies an aggregate amount available from revenues and collections deposited into the Fund shall be available for necessary expenses of real property management and related activities not otherwise provided for.

(Sec. 643) Bars the use of funds appropriated by this Act by the Council of Economic Advisers to produce an Economic Report of the President regarding the inclusion of employment at a retail fast food restaurant as part of the definition of manufacturing employment.

(Sec. 644) Bars the use of funds appropriated by this Act by the Secretary of the Treasury to implement any suspension of issuance of U.S. obligations for purchase by the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, to implement any suspension of issuance of U.S. obligations for purchase by the Thrift Savings Fund for the Government Securities Investment Fund, or to implement any sale or redemption of securities, obligations, or other invested assets of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund before maturity.

(Sec. 645) Bars the use of funds made available by this Act to implement the revision to OMB Circular A-76 made on May 29, 2003 (regarding the outsourcing process governing competitions between private contractors and Federal employees for certain job tasks).

(Sec. 646) Bars the use of funds appropriated by this Act to assist in overturning the judicial ruling contained in the Memorandum and Order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois entered on July 31, 2003, in the action entitled Kathi Cooper, Beth Harrington, and Matthew Hillesheim, Individually and on Behalf of All Those Similarly Situated vs. IBM Personal Pension Plan and IBM Corporation (Civil No. 99-829-GPM).

(Sec. 647) Bars the use of funds made available in this Act to implement, administer, or enforce certain restrictions on travel to Cuba which limit an individual's visit to his or her relatives in Cuba to once every three years instead of once every year.

(Sec. 648) Bars the use of funds made available in this Act to implement, administer, or enforce certain regulations that limit licenses to study abroad in Cuba.

(Sec. 649) Bars the use of funds made available in this Act to implement U.S. sanctions on private commercial sales of agricultural commodities or medical supplies to Cuba (other than a sanction imposed pursuant to agreement with one or more other countries).

(Sec. 650) Bars the use of funds made available under this Act to issue or implement DOT's proposed regulation (Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Certification of Compliance With Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs), published in the Federal Register, volume 67, number 53, on March 19, 2002) that would provide foreign-built trucks that have previously entered the United States with a two-year exemption from current Federal safety standards.