This bill is the vehicle for passage for government funding to avert a partial government shutdown on Friday, December 21, 2018. On December 19, the Senate passed this bill with provisions to fund the government through February 8, 2019. Subsequently, on December 20, the House added $5 billion in funding for a border wall, sending the bill back to the Senate.
Although most government agencies were already funded for fiscal year 2019, this bill would fund the remaining agencies for about seven weeks. According to the Senate appropriations committee, the bill would fund for that time:
- USDA, FDA
- Departments of Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, Environment, State, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development
- Programs related to science, financial services, and other agencies
- The National Flood Insurance Program
- The Violence Against Women Act
- The Pesticide Registration Improvement Act
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Immigration extensions (EB-5, E-Verify, Conrad 30 program for international medical school graduates, Special Immigrant Religious Workers program, and H2B returning worker authority for DHS)
- The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act
- Two expiring provisions of the Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Act
- Medicaid Money-Follows-the-Person and Spousal Impoverishment, through March 31
Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2018
This bill has had a complex history. Prior to the Senate's December 19, 2018 vote, this bill was the vehicle for passage of a different government funding bill, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2018, which would have funded the military through the end of the current fiscal year, Sept. 30, 2018. The bill was not enacted in this form, however, and the military was given short-term funding through other legislation.
However, H.R. 695 began as a bill on an unrelated matter. It became the defense spending bill when the House voted on Jan. 30, 2018 to replace the bill's text with the defense spending bill.
Child Protection Improvements Act of 2017
This bill was originally the Child Protection Improvements Act of 2017. Our original summary, which was the Republican Policy Committee summary of the original bill, follows
H.R. 695 directs the Department of Justice to establish a program to allow organizations that provide services to youth, the elderly, and the disabled to obtain information from criminal background checks in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprint database. Specifically, the legislation ensures these organizations have access to the FBI’s fingerprint searches in a timely and effective manner and protects privacy rights by ensuring that specific information of a criminal record is not disclosed without the explicit consent of the volunteer or employee.
Under current law, organizations in certain states that provide services to youth, the elderly, and the disabled have limited access to information from national criminal background checks. Currently, many organizations only have access to request state-level background check systems.
This legislation builds on the success of the PROTECT Act’s Child Safety Pilot which ran from 2003 until 2011. The pilot provided access to FBI fingerprint background checks for a variety of child-serving non-profits. The pilot conducted over 105,000 background checks and 6.2% of potential volunteers were found to have criminal records of concern – over 6,500 individuals. In addition, over 40% of individuals with criminal records of concern had crimes in states other than where they were applying to volunteer – meaning that only a nationwide check would have flagged these individuals’ criminal records. The criminal offenses among some of these applicants included convictions for criminal sexual conduct with a child, child endangerment, and manslaughter.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Dec 20, 2018.
This bill provides continuing FY2019 appropriations to several federal agencies through February 8, 2019. It also provides additional appropriations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, extends Medicaid provisions, and provides supplemental appropriations for disaster relief.
DIVISION A--FURTHER ADDITIONAL CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2019
Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019
(Sec. 101) This division amends the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019 to provide continuing FY2019 appropriations to several federal agencies through the earlier of February 8, 2019 (December 21, 2018, under current law), or the enactment of the applicable appropriations legislation.
It is known as a continuing resolution (CR) and prevents a partial government shutdown that would otherwise occur when the existing CR expires if any of the seven remaining FY2019 appropriations bills have not been enacted.
(Five of the FY2019 appropriations bills were enacted earlier this year, including:
the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2019; the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019; the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019; the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2019; and the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019.) The CR extends through February 8, 2019:
the Department of Homeland Security Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program; the authority for the Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to withhold from public disclosure certain technical data or scientific information that reveals vulnerabilities of existing medical or public health defenses against biological, chemical, nuclear, or radiological threats; and an exemption from antitrust laws for meetings and consultations to discuss the development of certain vaccines and drugs related to public health threats such as bioterrorism, pandemics, or epidemics. Additionally, the CR has the effect of extending through February 8, 2019, several authorities and programs that were extended in prior CRs, including:
the National Flood Insurance Program, the Violence Against Women Act, the authority for the Environmental Protection Agency to collect and spend certain fees related to pesticides, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, and several authorities related to immigration. The CR also delays the release of required Congressional Budget Office and Office of Management and Budget sequestration reports.
This division also provides $5.7 billion in additional FY2019 appropriations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to remain available through FY2023 for Procurement, Construction, and Improvement, such as the construction of physical barriers at borders.
The funds provided by this division are exempt from provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 that:
specify that funds provided to CBP for fencing along the southwest border may only be used for operationally effective designs deployed as of the date of enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (March 23, 2018), such as deployed steel bollard designs that prioritize agent safety; and prohibit funds from being used to construct a border barrier in the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. DIVISION B--MEDICAID EXTENDERS
(Sec. 101) The division amends the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 to make appropriations for FY2019, and otherwise revise, the Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration Program (Under this program, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services must award grants to state Medicaid programs to assist states in increasing the use of home and community care for long-term care and decreasing the use of institutional care.)
(Sec. 102) Additionally, the division temporarily extends the applicability of Medicaid eligibility criteria that protect against spousal impoverishment for recipients of home and community-based services.
(Sec. 103) The division also reduces the federal medical assistance percentage (i.e., federal matching rate) for states that have not implemented asset-verification programs for determining Medicaid eligibility.
(Sec. 104) The division reduces funding available to the Medicaid Improvement Fund beginning in FY2021.
(Sec. 105) This section exempts the budgetary effects of this division from: (1) the Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) rules established by the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 and the FY2018 congressional budget resolution, and (2) certain budget scorekeeping guidelines.
It also requires any debits on the statutory PAYGO scorecard for 2019 to be transferred to the 2020 scorecard. (The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 prohibits certain legislation from increasing the budget deficit. PAYGO scorecards are used to enforce the requirements and determine whether a sequestration order implementing spending cuts is necessary.)
DIVISION C--ADDITIONAL SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR DISASTER RELIEF, 2019
Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief, 2019
This division provides approximately $7.8 billion in FY2019 supplemental appropriations to several federal departments and agencies for expenses related to the consequences of recent wildfires, hurricanes, volcanos, earthquakes, and typhoons.
The funding provided by this division is designated as emergency spending, which is exempt from discretionary spending limits and other budget enforcement rules.
This title provides FY2019 appropriations to the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for:
the Office of the Secretary, the Farm Service Agency for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program, the Natural Resources Conservation Service for Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations, and Rural Development for the Rural Community Facilities Program Account. (Sec. 101) This section makes specified Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program) funds available for a grant to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands for disaster nutrition assistance in response to the presidentially declared major disasters and emergencies.
(Sec. 102) This section specifies that, for the purpose of administering the USDA 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program, losses to agricultural producers resulting from hurricanes also include losses incurred from Tropical Storm Cindy and losses of peach and blueberry crops in calendar year 2017 due to extreme cold. (Under current law, the program provides disaster payments to agricultural producers who suffered crop, tree, bush, and vine losses resulting from hurricanes and wildfires that occurred in the 2017 calendar year.)
This title provides FY2019 appropriations for the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, and related agencies.
For Commerce, the bill provides appropriations to the Economic Development Administration for Economic Development Assistance Programs.
Also within Commerce, this title provides appropriations to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for:
Operations, Research, and Facilities; Procurement, Acquisition and Construction; and Fishery Disaster Assistance. Within the Department of Justice, the title provides appropriations for: (1) the U.S. Marshals Service, and (2) the Federal Prison System.
The title also provides appropriations for the Legal Services Corporation.
This title provides FY2019 appropriations to the Department of Defense (DOD) for Operation and Maintenance for: (1) the Marine Corps, and (2) the Air Force.
This title provides FY2019 appropriations to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for:
Investigations, Construction, Mississippi River and Tributaries, and Operation and Maintenance. The title also provides FY2019 appropriations to the Department of the Interior for: (1) the Central Utah Project, and (2) the Bureau of Reclamation Water and Related Resources account.
This title provides FY2019 appropriations to the Department of Homeland Security for the following U.S. Coast Guard accounts:
Operations and Support; Environmental Compliance and Restoration; and Procurement, Construction, and Improvements. TITLE VI
This title provides FY2019 appropriations to the Department of the Interior for:
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, Insular Affairs, and the Office of Inspector General. The title also provides appropriations to the Environmental Protection Agency for:
Science and Technology, the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Fund Program, and State and Tribal Assistance Grants. Additionally, this title provides appropriations to the USDA for the Forest Service, including for:
Forest and Rangeland Research, State and Private Forestry, the National Forest System, Capital Improvement and Maintenance, and Wildland Fire Management. (Sec. 601) Agencies receiving funds provided by this title must submit to Congress a detailed operating plan for the funds. No funds provided by this title may be obligated until the operating plans have been submitted.
This title provides FY2019 appropriations to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Education (ED).
For HHS, the bill provides appropriations to: (1) the Administration for Children and Families for Head Start programs, and (2) the Office of the Secretary for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund.
The title also provides appropriations to ED for Hurricane Education Recovery to assist in meeting the educational needs of individuals affected natural disasters or emergencies.
(Sec. 701) HHS and ED must submit to Congress specified spending plans and updates regarding the uses of funds provided by this title.
(Sec. 702) Unless otherwise provided for by this title, the additional funds provided by this title for appropriations accounts are subject to the same authorities and conditions that apply to the accounts for FY2019.
This title provides FY2019 appropriations to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for audits and investigations relating to Hurricanes Florence, Lane, and Michael; Typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut; the 2018 wildfires and volcano eruptions; and other disasters declared pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
The GAO must submit to Congress a spending plan for the audits and investigations.
This title provides FY2019 appropriations to DOD for Military Construction for:
the Navy and Marine Corps, the Air Force, and the Army National Guard. It also provides appropriations to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the Veterans Health Administration Medical Facilities account.
This title provides FY2019 appropriations to the Department of Transportation for:
the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Federal Transit Administration. The title also provides appropriations to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
(Sec. 1001) Specified HUD CDBG funds that were allocated for the response to either Hurricane Florence or Hurricane Matthew may be used interchangeably for the response to either hurricane.
Specified HUD CDBG funds provided for administrative costs may be used for the administrative costs of the grantee related to any disaster relief funding identified in this subsection, without regard to the particular disaster for which the funds were originally appropriated.
(Sec. 1101) The funds provided by this division are in addition to the amounts otherwise provided for the fiscal year involved.
(Sec. 1102) No appropriation provided by this division may remain available beyond the current fiscal year, unless the division expressly provides otherwise.
(Sec. 1103) Unless otherwise specified in this division, the additional funds provided by this subdivision for appropriations accounts are provided under the authorities and conditions applicable to the accounts for FY2019.
(Sec. 1104) Funds provided by this division that are designated by Congress as an emergency requirement are only available if the President subsequently designates all of the amounts and transmits the designations to Congress.
(Sec. 1105) For purposes of this division, the consequences or impacts of any hurricane include damages caused by the storm at any time during the entirety of its duration as a cyclone, as defined by the National Hurricane Center.
(Sec. 1106) Funds that are provided by this division and designated as an emergency requirement shall retain the designation if the funds are transferred under authorities provided by this subdivision.