By Sarah Guy, Manager, Legislative and Media Affairs, IACP
hortly after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a two-year budget deal, the Senate passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (H.J. Res. 59). This marks the first complete federal budget to be signed into law since 1997.
The compromise was crafted by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) and sets the overall discretionary spending for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 at $1.012 trillion. This is halfway between the Senate proposed budget level of $1.058 trillion and the House proposed budget level of $967 billion. The measure sets the spending level for FY 2015 at $1.014 trillion. The agreement also provides $63 billion in sequester relief over two years, split evenly between defense and non-defense programs.
The sequester relief is fully offset by $85 billion in deficit reduction measures over the next decade, including, but not limited to, raising air passenger travel fees, decreasing cost of living adjustments for military personnel, and increasing pension contributions for newly hired federal workers. The agreement reduces the deficit by $23 billion.
Below are highlights of the budget deal.
- Permanently cancels $693 million of the unobligated balances in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF). The DOJ’s AFF is used by federal law enforcement agencies to seize and collect assets related to criminal activities.
- Expands the amount of data to be collected by the Social Security Administration (SSA) on incarcerated individuals and requires that state and local institutions, such as jails, prisons, or other penal institutions or correctional facilities, transmit that data to the U.S. Treasury Department on a regular basis. Correctional institutions will now be required to add a prisoner’s release date and the inmate’s assigned status number and last known address to the information maintained in the Prisoner Update Processing System (PUPS). The reported data would be made available to federal and state agencies for statistical and research activities and to the Treasury Department for tax administration and debt collection and to prevent, identify, and recover improper federal payments.
- Requires the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to continue to monitor the area passengers enter after TSA screening before boarding a flight, known as the “sterile area.” This requirement would block a TSA proposal to require airports to take over the monitoring as a cost-cutting move.
- Extends the current user fees collected by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) through 2023. The fees currently run through 2021.
- Repeals the fees paid by the airlines for aviation security, yet increases the aviation security fee for airline passengers from $2.50 per leg to a flat $5.60 per one-way trip. This increase is expected to generate $12.6 billion in revenue over 10 years.
- Reduces by one percent the annual cost-of-living adjustment for military retirees under the age of 62, taking effect December 1, 2015, for a savings of $6.2 billion over 10 years.
- Increases the contribution rate that federal employees pay toward their retirement plans for employees that begin service on or after January 1, 2014.
Although the completion of a budget agreement is a big step, Congress will need to enact another continuing resolution or pass the annual appropriations bills by January 15 in order to avoid a government shutdown.
Jeh Johnson Confirmed as Next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
The Senate voted 78-16 to confirm Jeh Johnson to serve as the next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The agency has been without a head since former Secretary Janet Napolitano resigned in the fall to become the president of the University of California system. Johnson will be the department’s fourth leader and will be responsible for one of the federal government’s largest and most complex departments, which comprises 28 agencies and employs approximately 240,000 individuals.
Johnson’s prior experience consists of serving as the General Counsel of the Department of Defense and General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force. He also spent time serving as the assistant United States attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he worked closely with the New York City Police Department and also the surrounding law enforcement agencies.
The IACP sent a letter of support for the nomination of Jeh Johnson back in November. ♦
Please cite as:
Sarah Guy, “U.S. Congress Passes the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013,” Legislative Alert, The Police Chief 81 (January 2014): 8.
|IACP is dedicated to helping government officials understand and consider the impact of legislation on law enforcement and the ability of our members to effectively protect and serve their communities.|
To learn more about IACP's legislative priorities for the 113th U.S. Congress, designated by the Executive Committee, please visit http://www.theiacp.org/IACP-Legislative-Agenda.
From The Police Chief, vol. 81, no. 1, January 2014. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.