Winners and Losers in Congress’ $1 Trillion Spending Deal
WASHINGTON (CNN) — You could read the entire 1,582-page, $1 trillion omnibus spending plan announced in Congress Monday night. Or you can check out our handy cheat sheet of some of the key winners and losers in the plan.
Little kids: Big winners. Funding for the Head Start and early Head Start programs would jump by $1 billion. That’s $1 billion more than last year’s low point after budget cuts.
The mentally ill: Social-worker-turned-Senate-Appropriations-Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, has long pushed for mental health programs. This year she got them an additional $173 million dollars more than their funding level with last year’s budget cuts.
Disabled veterans and surviving families: No longer would a planned cut in pensions hit “medically” discharged military retirees or military spouses or children who depend on military pensions.
Federal workers and active military: A 1% pay raise would come to both groups of furlough- and sequester survivors.
G-men: The FBI stands to gain $700 million+ over the funding it got following last year’s budget cuts.
Social Security Administration: The agency gets a hefty $651 million increase to help it make up for budget cuts in the past.
Seated handshakes: The photo of Mikulski and House Appropriations Committee chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, sealing the deal is a double win: a more natural-looking, lawmakers-at-work shot than the traditional standing handshake. And it masks the significant height difference between the two powerful lawmakers.
Obamacare: (And see below.) No gain in funds, but no loss of funds, either. Given the razor-sharp opposition to the health care law, a spending bill that doesn’t get snagged in the Obamacare debate (and vice versa) could be considered a win.
Appropriations committees: Think of it as a reality game show that no one would enjoy. The chairmen and staffs of the House and Senate appropriations committees had less than a month to agree on 12 detailed spending bills and fold them into one 1,582-page document that both parties could sign.
EPA: The deal restores some of the funds cut by sequester to the Environmental Protection Agency, but not all. In a summary of the measure, Republicans boasted that with this bill, they have cut the EPA’s funding by 20% since 2010.
IRS: The tax agency’s funding has been cut to 2009 levels, according to the Republican House Appropriations Committee. And just to send a more direct message, this appropriations bill states that the agency cannot use its funds to target citizens or groups based on their ideology.
TSA: You have millions of passengers to screen everyday and now Congress has capped the number of employees you can hire. If passed, the deal would set a limit of 46,000 TSA screeners and require the TSA to find a way to make half of the traveling public eligible for “expedited” screening by the end of this year.
Russia: Two reasons. 1. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, told CNN the deal fully funds a U.S. missile defense system in Romania, which the Russians do not like. 2. The measure makes it harder for the United States to buy weapons from Russia, including some controversial helicopters. To get around the ban, the omnibus requires the Pentagon to reveal the number of anti-aircraft missiles the Russian weapons agency has sold to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.
Obamacare: (And see above.) If the Obama administration needs more funds to implement the health care law, it isn’t going to get them from Congress. The bill doesn’t add any funding and also blocks the administration from dipping into a prevention fund as a backup pool of money.
Generals and admirals: Flag and general officers in the military would see a cut in their staff expense budgets under this plan.
The president of Afghanistan: The bill specifically prohibits any of its funds from going to “the direct personal benefit of the president of Afghanistan.”
Portrait artists: The bill bans government officials from spending money to have a portrait made.
Jerry Brown: No funds for you. The California governor hoped to get some federal funds for his dream of a $60 billion high-speed rail line between L.A. and San Francisco. But Republicans successfully blocked the idea in this deal.