Congress has begun its August recess. Let’s take a look at some bills that it recently advanced. New cost estimates change the amount of money they would cause to be spent. It’s your money, so pay attention!
H.R. 5230 is a supplemental spending bill. It’s called the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2014, but it’s known as the “Secure the Southwest Border Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2014.” It’s the House of Representatives’ response to the crisis at the United States’ southern border, which is seeing an influx of unaccompanied Central American children.
When it was introduced, the bill contained total spending of $239,000,000. That was to come as $25,000,000 spent in fiscal 2014, over half-a-billion in 2015, and then reductions in spending over the ensuing years. The result was that H.R. 5230 would cost $2.59 per U.S. family.
The version that passed the House was slightly different. The new version spends $25,000,000 in fiscal 2014, a whopping $561,000,000 in 2015, but then cuts spending even more in future years, for a grand total of $241,000,000 in spending. That reduction in spending means that the bill would cost the average U.S. family $2.58 — one penny less than the earlier version.
The bill goes to the Senate now, where a very different bill is pending. S. 2648 is Senator Barbara Mikulski’s (D-MD) spending bill aimed at the border crisis. We’ll see if the House and Senate can get together on a bill when they return in September.
Speaking of getting together on a bill, the House and Senate have come together on H.J. Res. 76. The bill started its life as the National Nuclear Security Administration Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014. Introduced by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), it was one of the miniature spending bills the House used tactically in its stand-off with the Senate over the annual spending bills last year. That version of the bill promised to spend about $7 billion, or $68 per U.S. family.
But it’s a different bill today. H.J. Res. 76 is now known as the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Resolution, 2014, and its purpose is to provide funding to Israel for the Iron Dome defense system to counter short-range rocket threats.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because Senator Mikulski’s bill addressing the southern border included money for Israel’s defense system, too.
The House and Senate may not see eye to eye on what to do at the southern border, but they do agree, apparently, about providing Israel funds it needs for protection from incoming missiles. Having passed both houses, H.J. Res. 76 was forwarded to the president, and he signed it into law last week. The new version spends about $225 million this year and next, a cost of $2.18 per U.S. family.
The Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act and the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Resolution. What’s the emergency? Declaring a bill “emergency” allows Congress to get around spending limits it has tried to impose on itself.
Below you can see the current votes on these two bills. Click so you can vote yourself, add comments, edit the wiki articles, or learn more about the bills.