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H.R. 601 (115th): Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017

This bill became the vehicle for passage of government funding through Dec. 8, 2017, disaster relief, temporary suspension of the debt limit through Dec. 8, 2017, and the bill's original provisions to create more oversight over foreign aid for education in developing countries.

The bill was originally introduced with only the foreign aid provisions. The Republican Policy Committee summary of the bill's original provisions follows:

H.R. 601 amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to provide additional congressional direction and scrutiny over U.S. assistance in developing countries for the promotion of quality basic education.

Specifically, the bill updates the legislative authority for U.S. international basic education efforts to ensure that existing resources are effectively prioritized and aligned with U.S. foreign policy and economic interests. The bill requires the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop a strategy to work with partner countries and organizations to promote basic education in developing countries, and designates a Senior Coordinator of U.S. International Basic Education Assistance (while simultaneously eliminating an existing, comparable position) within USAID.

The Senior Coordinator will oversee the implementation of the strategy across federal agencies, ensure coordination, and eliminate duplication and waste among ongoing efforts to promote basic education. The Senior Coordinator must report annually, on a country-by-country basis, and describe any progress made.

Last updated Jan 23, 2018. View all GovTrack summaries.

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Sep 9, 2017.

(This measure has not been amended since the Senate agreed to a House amendment with an amendment on September 7, 2017. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017


Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act or the READ Act

(Sec. 3) Amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to state that it shall be U.S. policy to work with partner countries, other donors, multilateral institutions, the private sector, and nongovernmental and civil society organizations (including faith-based organizations and organizations that represent teachers, students, and parents) to promote basic education through programs that: (1) respond to the needs and capacities of developing countries to improve literacy and other basic skills; (2) strengthen educational systems, expand access to safe learning environments (including by breaking down barriers to basic education for women and girls), and support the engagement of parents in their children's education; (3) promote education as a foundation for economic growth; (4) monitor and evaluate basic education programs in partner countries; and (5) promote U.S. values, especially respect for all persons and freedoms of religion, speech, and the press.

Requires the President to ensure that assistance provided under this bill is aligned with U.S. foreign policy and economic interests and that priority is given to developing countries in which: (1) there is the greatest need and opportunity to expand access to basic education, including for marginalized and vulnerable groups; (2) assistance can produce a substantial impact on children and educational systems; and (3) there is the greatest opportunity to reduce childhood and adolescence exposure to or engagement in violent extremist ideologies.

(Sec. 4) Requires the President, within one year, to submit to Congress a comprehensive U.S. strategy to be carried out during the following five fiscal years to promote quality basic education in partner countries by: (1) expanding access to basic education for all children, particularly marginalized children and vulnerable groups; and (2) improving the quality of basic education and learning outcomes. Requires the President to provide an opportunity for public comment on the strategy.

Requires such strategy to seek to: (1) prioritize assistance to U.S. partner countries whose populations are most in need of improved basic education; (2) build the capacity of relevant actors in partner countries to develop national education plans that improve basic education; (3) identify and replicate successful interventions that improve access to and quality of basic education in conflict settings and in partner countries; (4) develop means to track implementation in partner countries and ensure that such countries are expending appropriate domestic resources and instituting relevant legal, regulatory, or institutional reforms; (5) leverage U.S. capabilities, including through technical assistance, training, and research; and (6) improve coordination and reduce duplication among relevant agencies, donors, multilateral and nongovernmental organizations, and partner country governments.

(Sec. 5) Establishes within the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) the position of Senior Coordinator of United States International Basic Education Assistance, who shall have primary responsibility for the oversight and coordination of U.S. government resources and activities relating to the promotion of international basic education. Requires the President to eliminate a USAID position in order to offset costs and eliminate duplication of activities involved in appointing such senior coordinator.

(Sec. 6) Requires the President to ensure that programs carried out under the comprehensive strategy: (1) apply monitoring and evaluation methodologies to determine if programs and activities accomplish measurable improvements in literacy or other basic skills development; (2) include funding for both short- and long-term monitoring and evaluation; and (3) disaggregate as appropriate all data collected by age, gender, marital status, disability, and location.

(Sec. 7) Requires the President to submit to Congress an annual implementation report.


Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements, 2017

Provides $15.25 billion in FY2017 supplemental appropriations to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for disaster relief requirements, such as response and recovery efforts from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Specifies that the $15.25 billion includes:

$7.4 billion for FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund, $450 million for the SBA's Disaster Loans Program Account, and $7.4 billion for HUD's Community Development Block Grant program. Designates the funds as an emergency requirement and provides that the funds are only available if the President subsequently designates the funds and transmits the designation to Congress. (Emergency spending is exempt from discretionary spending limits and other budget enforcement rules.)


(Sec. 101) Suspends the public debt limit through December 8, 2017. Increases the limit on December 9, 2017, to accommodate obligations issued during the suspension period.

Specifies that adjustments to the debt limit for obligations during the suspension period are limited to obligations necessary to fund a commitment incurred by the federal government that required payment before December 9, 2017.

Prohibits the Department of the Treasury from issuing obligations during the suspension period to increase cash balances above normal operating balances.


Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018

(This division provides continuing appropriations to federal agencies through December 8, 2017, or the enactment of specified appropriations legislation.

It is known as a continuing resolution [CR] and prevents a government shutdown that would otherwise occur when FY2018 begins on October 1, 2017, if the twelve FY2017 regular appropriations bills that fund the federal government have not been enacted.

Unless otherwise indicated, all extensions and provisions referenced in the summary of this division are for the duration of the CR.)

(Sec. 101) Provides FY2018 appropriations to federal agencies for continuing projects or activities at the levels of, and under the terms and conditions of specified FY2017 appropriations Acts, reduced by 0.6791%.

Permits the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of the Interior to use emergency funding provided for wildfire suppression to fully repay amounts previously transferred from other accounts for wildfire suppression.

(Sec. 102) Prohibits the Department of Defense (DOD) from using funds provided by section 101 for starting new programs, entering into multi-year contracts, or increasing production rates.

(Sec. 103) Specifies that funds provided by section 101 shall be available to the extent and in the manner that would be provided in the pertinent appropriations Act.

(Sec. 104) Prohibits any appropriations or funds made available by section 101 from being used to initiate or resume any project or activity which was not funded in FY2017.

(Sec. 105) Continues all authorities, requirements, and limitations from FY2017 appropriations Acts through the date in section 106 and permits valid obligations and expenditures during the period of this CR.

(Sec. 106) Continues the appropriations provided by this division through the earlier of December 8, 2017, or the enactment of the pertinent appropriations bill.

(Sec. 107) Requires expenditures for activities funded in this division to be charged to the relevant account when the applicable appropriations bill becomes law.

(Sec. 108) Waives the normal time limitations for submission and approval of apportionments of accounts funded in annual appropriations Acts.

(Sec. 109) Limits disbursements for programs that otherwise would have high initial rates of operation or would complete distribution of funding at the beginning of the fiscal year if those actions would impinge on final congressional funding prerogatives.

(Sec. 110) Requires this division be implemented so that only the most limited funding action permitted by this division is taken in order to provide for continuation of projects and activities.

(Sec. 111) Provides that entitlements and other mandatory payments with budget authority provided in FY2017 appropriations bills and for activities under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 shall continue at the rate to maintain program levels under current law and under the authority and conditions provided in the applicable FY2017 appropriations Act for up to 30 days after the expiration of the CR.

(Sec. 112) Permits funding made available by this division for civilian personnel compensation and benefits in each department and agency to be apportioned up to the rate of operations necessary to avoid furloughs. Requires all necessary actions to reduce or defer non-personnel-related administrative expenses to be taken prior to using this authority.

(Sec. 113) Permits funds appropriated by this division to be obligated and expended notwithstanding specified statutory provisions restricting appropriations for foreign assistance, the Department of State, international broadcasting, and intelligence activities in the absence of prior authorizations.

(Sec. 114) Extends designations for Overseas Contingency Operations/ Global War on Terrorism, disaster relief, and emergency requirements to funds provided by this division that previously carried those designations.

Exempts funds for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism, emergency requirements, disaster relief, the Social Security Administration's continuing disability reviews and redeterminations, and the Department of Health and Human Service's Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control account, from the across-the-board reduction included in section 101.

Provides that amounts designated for Overseas Contingency Operations/ Global War Terrorism or as an emergency requirements shall only be available if the President subsequently designates the amounts and transmits the designations to Congress.

(Sec. 115) Applies the across-the-board reduction in section 101 to advance appropriations made in prior years that first become available in FY2018.

(Sec. 116) Provides a higher rate of operations for USDA's Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which is a domestic food assistance program that predominantly serves low-income elderly individuals.

(Sec. 117) Modifies a rescission of certain unobligated balances provided for commodity purchases by USDA under section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1935. (Section 32 is a program created to assist agricultural producers of non-price-supported commodities and is funded by a permanent appropriation of a portion of the previous year's customs receipts less certain mandatory transfers to child nutrition and other programs.)

(Sec. 118) Permits the funds provided by section 101 for the Census Bureau to be apportioned up to the rate of operations necessary to maintain the schedule and deliver the required data according to statutory deadlines in the 2020 Decennial Census Program.

(Sec. 119) Extends the authority that otherwise expires for the Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq.

(Sec. 120) Permits funds provided by this division to the Department of Energy for the Uranium Enrichment Decontamination and Decommissioning Fund to be apportioned up to the rate for operations necessary to avoid disruption of continuing projects and activities. (This account primarily funds the decommissioning and environmental remediation of three federal uranium enrichment facilities in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee.)

(Sec. 121) Extends the authority of the Bureau of Reclamation to provide emergency drought assistance from prior year appropriations.

(Sec. 122) Reduces the power purchase and wheeling receipt authority for the Western Area Power Administration, the Southwestern Power Administration, and the Southeastern Power Administration.

(Sec. 123) Permits the District of Columbia to spend funds collected through local taxes and other non-federal sources.

(Sec. 124) Provides a higher rate of operations for the General Services Administration for Allowances and Office Staff for Former Presidents. Specifies that no funds are provided by this bill for specified account related to the Presidential transition.

Reduces the rate of operations for:

Federal Payments for Emergency Planning and Security Costs in the District of Columbia, the National Archives and Records Administration's Operating Expenses account, and the National Park Service's Operation of the National Park System account. (Sec. 125) Permits the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to obligate funds in a budget structure that transfers administrative activities currently funded across DHS through the Working Capital Fund to specified management accounts.

(Sec. 126) Permits funds provided to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, and the U.S. Secret Service to be apportioned at a rate of operations necessary to maintain the staffing levels in place on September 30, 2017.

(Sec. 127) Extends the authority of DHS to use certain procurement agreements for research and development projects with non-traditional government contractors.

(Sec. 128) Extends the expedited hiring authority for the Coast Guard's acquisition workforce.

(Sec. 129) Permits funds provided to FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund to be apportioned up to the rate of operations necessary to carry out ongoing disaster response and recovery efforts.

(Sec. 130) Extends the authorization for the National Flood Insurance Program.

(Sec. 131) Amends the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act to extend through September 30, 2019, the authority of federal agencies to establish, collect, and retain fees on federal recreational lands and waters.

(Sec. 132) Extends the authority for the Eisenhower Memorial Commission that otherwise expires at the end of FY2017.

(Sec. 133) Provides a higher rate of operations for the Environmental Protection Agency's Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Program Account for administrative expenses to carry out the direct and guaranteed loan programs for ongoing water infrastructure programs.

(Sec. 134) Extends the authority for the Environmental Protection Agency to collect and spend certain fees related to pesticides.

(Sec. 135) Extends the authority for the Department of Education's National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. (The committee is responsible for assessing the process of accreditation in higher education and the institutional eligibility and certification of institutions of higher education to participate in federal student aid programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act.)

(Sec. 136) Specifies requirements for calculating the base grant amount for Head Start grantees during the period of the CR.

(Sec. 137) Extends the authority for a consortium of states to use FY2011 funds to jointly develop unemployment insurance information technology systems.

(Sec. 138) Prohibits the Department of Health and Human Services from capping the National Institutes of Health's facilities and administrative costs.

(Sec. 139) Modifies a funding limitation for the State Children's Health Insurance Program's (CHIP's) Child Enrollment Contingency Fund and a rescission from CHIP.

(Sec. 140) Permits the funds provided by section 101 to the Senate's Office of the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper to be apportioned up to the rate of operations necessary to maintain current Senate cybersecurity capabilities.

(Sec. 141) Extends the availability of specified funds provided to the Veterans Administration's Construction, Major Projects account for renovations and repairs as a consequence of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

(Sec. 142) Extends HUD's Mark-to-Market Program. (The program is intended to preserve long-term low-income housing affordability by restructuring FHA-insured or HUD-held mortgages for eligible multifamily housing projects.)