This bill is the vehicle for passage of the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017.
The bill was originally introduced as the Bankruptcy Judgeship Act of 2017 and passed both the House and the Senate. But the Senate made changes, sending it back to the House for approval. On October 12, 2017, the House changed the text of the bill to the disaster relief bill and sent it back to the Senate, per a self-executing rule in H.Res. 569, where the text of the disaster relief bill can be found.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Oct 27, 2017.
(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the House on October 12, 2017. The summary of that version is repeated here.)
Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017
This bill provides supplemental appropriations for disaster relief, reauthorizes temporary bankruptcy judgeships, and revises requirements regarding the U.S. Trustee System Fund and bankruptcy.
DIVISION A--ADDITIONAL SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR DISASTER RELIEF REQUIREMENTS ACT OF 2017
Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act of 2017
This division provides $36.5 billion in FY2018 emergency supplemental appropriations to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of the Interior for relief and recovery efforts in response to recent hurricanes and wildfires.
The funds provided by the division are designated as emergency requirements, which exempts the funding from discretionary spending limits and other budget enforcement rules.
TITLE I--DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
For FEMA, the bill provides $18.67 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund, of which: (1) $10 million must be transferred to the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General for audits and investigations related to disasters, and (2) up to $4.9 billion may be transferred to the Community Disaster Loans Program for direct loans to assist local governments in providing essential services as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, or Maria.
TITLE II--DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
This title provides $576.5 million for wildfire suppression operations and activities, including: (1) $526.5 million for the Forest Service, and (2) $50 million for the Department of the Interior.
TITLE III--GENERAL PROVISIONS
(Sec. 301) Funds provided by this division are in addition to amounts otherwise appropriated for the fiscal year involved.
(Sec. 302) No part of any appropriation provided by this division is available for obligation beyond the fiscal year, unless this bill expressly provides otherwise.
(Sec. 303) The terms and conditions applicable to the funds provided in this division, including those provided by this title, also apply to the funds provided by the Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements, 2017.
(Sec. 304) Each amount designated in this division by Congress as being for an emergency requirement is only available if the President subsequently designates the amounts and transmits the designations to Congress.
(Sec. 305) Each agency must submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the respective Inspector General of each agency, and the congressional appropriations committees internal control plans for funds provided by this division and the Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements, 2017. The GAO must review the design of the plans.
All programs and activities receiving funds under this division shall be deemed to be "susceptible to significant improper payments" for purposes of the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002. (This requires the relevant agency to comply with certain requirements for reports and corrective actions regarding improper payments.)
Funds for grants provided by this division or the Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements, 2017 must be expended by the grantees within 24 months of the agency's obligation of funds for the grant, unless the OMB waives the requirement.
(Sec. 306) This section amends the Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements, 2017 to permit the Department of Housing and Urban Development to award Community Development Block Grant funds provided by the Act directly to Indian tribes, in addition to a state or unit of general local government.
(Sec. 307) This section amends the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 to specify that the language included in The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017 under the heading "FLAME Wildfire Suppression Reserve Fund' for the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior does not apply for the purpose of the continuing appropriations provided by the Act.
(Sec. 308) This section cancels $16 billion of the debt held by the Department of the Treasury under notes or obligations issued by the National Flood Insurance Program.
(Sec. 309) USDA may use up to $1.27 billion of funds from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program) contingency reserve to provide a grant to Puerto Rico for disaster nutrition assistance in response to the presidentially declared major disasters and emergencies.
(Sec. 310) This section specifies that the dollar limitation on advance billing of a customer of a Department of Defense working-capital fund does not apply to FEMA during FY2018.
DIVISION B--BANKRUPTCY JUDGESHIP ACT OF 2017
Bankruptcy Judgeship Act of 2017
(Sec. 1002) This bill reauthorizes 14 temporary bankruptcy judgeships in judicial districts in Delaware, Florida, Puerto Rico, Maryland, Michigan, Virginia, Nevada, and North Carolina.
(Sec. 1003) It authorizes the appointment of four additional temporary bankruptcy judges in Delaware, Florida, and Michigan.
(Sec. 1004) The bill amends the federal judicial code to increase the quarterly fee imposed on certain chapter 11 (reorganization) debtors. Specifically, if the balance in the U.S. Trustee System Fund is less than $200 million, then a debtor with total quarterly disbursements of $1 million or more must pay a quarterly fee equal to $250,000 or 1% of disbursements, whichever is less.
It also specifies that for FY2018-FY2022, 98% of the quarterly fees collected must be deposited as offsetting collections to the U.S. Trustee System Fund and 2% must be deposited in the general fund of the Treasury.
(Sec. 1005) This section amends the federal bankruptcy code to include an unsecured claim by a governmental unit (e.g., a tax claim by the Internal Revenue Service) resulting from the sale, transfer, exchange, or disposition of farming property in chapter 12 bankruptcy (family farmer or fisherman reorganization) proceedings. Such a claim that arises before a debtor's discharge, regardless of whether the claim is pre-petition or post-petition, must be treated as a pre-petition claim, is not entitled to priority status, must be provided for under the bankruptcy plan, and is dischargeable.