September 28, 2010

Short-term CR Advances, Pell Shortfall Left Out

By jnurse

With fiscal year 2011 set to begin on Friday October 1st and none of the 12 spending bills yet signed into law, Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution (CR) in order to keep the government functioning. A CR typically funds government operations on a temporary basis, at the previous year’s spending levels, in order to give Congress and the President additional time to complete the process.

Today, the Senate voted to advance its CR in the legislative process. During the past week, speculation circulated that Congress might add language to the CR that would fill a shortfall in the Pell Grant program. However, early indications from the Senate Appropriations Committee are that funding for Pell will not be included in the CR. The $5.7 billion Pell shortfall was created largely by increased student eligibility for the program during the economic downturn. If Congress does not address the Pell shortfall, it would result in significant decreases in student award amounts for next academic year. However, most higher education observers believe that it is not a question of whether Congress will address the shortfall, but rather through which legislative vehicle. The Pell Grant program generally enjoys wildespread support, so a significant cut in award levels seems unlikely at this point.

A summary of the special provisions added to the Senate’s CR is available below.

For Immediate Release                     

September 28, 2010                                                                

 Contact:  Rob Blumenthal (202) 224-1010 / John Bray (202) 224-3751

Summary of Continuing Resolution

WASHINGTON, DC – Below are highlights of the continuing resolution (CR) to allow continued government operations through December 3, 2010:

Ongoing programs: Under the CR, funding will continue at FY 2010 enacted levels for most programs. In total, the CR will provide funding at a rate $9 billion below the FY 2010 level. 

Extended Authorizations and Other Actions: The CR extends authorizations or allows for continuous normal operations through December 3, 2010 for certain programs that would otherwise expire or be severely disrupted, including:

  • Allows the Federal Air Marshals to maintain the existing FY 2010 4th quarter coverage level for international and domestic flights. 
  • Allows the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to maintain the level of Customs and Border Protection personnel in place in the final quarter of FY 2010. 
  • Extends the authority for the Department of Defense to execute the Commanders Emergency Response Program which is an essential tool for military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Extends the application period for retroactive stop loss benefits throughout the duration of the continuing resolution.
  • Extends for one year the existing authority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to retain its authority to regulate chemical facilities that present high levels of risk.
  • Extends for one year existing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authority to provide technical and financial assistance to States and localities for pre-disaster hazard mitigation activities.
  • Provides for the continuation of a program included under the Child Nutrition Act which will allow for school feeding activities where year round activities occur. 
  • Provides an additional $25 million to the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (formerly the Minerals Management Service) for increased oil rig inspections in the Gulf of Mexico.  The increase in funding is fully offset with a $25 million rescission of unobligated balances. 
  • Allows the National Cord Blood Inventory contracts to continue at their current level through the duration of the CR.
  • Extends the TANF block grant and Child Care Entitlement to States program at their current level through the duration of the CR. 
  • Reduces the amount available for BRAC 2005 from over $7 billion in FY 2010 to a rate equal to $2.35 billion, the FY 2011 request.
  • Adjusts the current rate for operations for the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program in order to include in the rate for operations the $965 million that was advanced for Israel, Egypt and Jordan in the FY 2009 Supplemental. 
  • Continues the rate of operations for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF) at $700 million. This section also continues the terms and conditions included in the FY 2009 and FY 2010 Supplementals.
  • Reduces the amount available for Census programs from over $7 billion in FY 2010 to a rate equal to $964 million annually, the same as the amount recommended for FY 2011.
  • Permits the District of Columbia to spend funds under its local budget beginning on and after the October 1, 2010 start of fiscal year. 
  • Allows the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which is responsible for coordinating the federal policy relating to homelessness, to continue operating.
  • Extends the current HECM loan limits for high cost areas through FY 2011.
  • Extends the current FHA loan limits for high cost areas through FY 2011.
  • Extends the current GSE loan limits for high cost areas through FY 2011.
  • Provides $193,400 for the survivors of Robert C. Byrd, the late Senator from West Virginia.

 

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