After an odyssey that began with President Clinton delivering his fiscal 2000 budget plan to Congress on Feb. 1, Congress finished its work for the year late last week, completing action on a $385 billion spending package that finances seven Cabinet departments and the District of Columbia government (which got $435.8 million).
Eight other appropriations bills were passed earlier.
In all, the 13 spending bills covering all defense and domestic spending other than entitlements total $609 billion. This figure, however, doesn't account for the 0.38 percent across-the-board cut agreed to by Congress and Clinton to help offset new spending.
Outlays are the amount of money the government proposes to spend in the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1. The agencies generally discuss their funding in terms of budget authority, the amount of money the law allows the government to commit to spend in either the current or future fiscal years. Highlights of how each agency would be affected:
A tumultuous year in which American farmers were parched by drought, soaked by floods and buffeted by low commodity prices led to an 11 percent increase in the Department of Agriculture's budget to $68 billion, up from $61 billion for fiscal 1999.
The budget includes a farm bailout package worth $8.7 billion, up from the $6 billion emergency package passed last year.
Clinton accepted the $8.7 billion figure in order to get aid to farmers as quickly as possible but criticized it as poorly targeted, with payments possibly going to farmers who had not planted crops.
Clinton and Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman also complained that the back-to-back bailouts were a direct result of the 1996 Freedom to Farm Act, passed by Republicans intent on phasing out federal subsidies for farmers. Glickman has promised to offer legislation next year to revamp the Freedom to Farm law.
The largest chunk of the agriculture budget, $35 billion, is devoted to food and nutrition programs, including food stamps, school lunches and the Women, Infants and Children program.
The second-biggest piece, $17.6 billion, is intended to aid farmers through operational loans, crop insurance and price supports.
The Commerce Department came away with $8.7 billion, $3.5 billion more than its fiscal 1999 funding. The reason for the huge jump: the 2000 census. Despite the overall gain, the department's budget is still $370 million below the White House's request.
About $4.48 billion of the department's outlays is emergency funding for the census. Lawmakers gave the White House almost all the funding it wanted for the census, falling just $11 million short.
The National Weather Service got $604 million, a $43 million increase. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the weather service, took a major hit: It was funded at $2.35 billion, $176 million above the previous year's level but $164 million below Clinton's request.
Also taking a big hit was the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Advanced Technology Program, which has helped companies develop infant technologies since fiscal 1990. It got $142 million, $61 million less than in the previous year, but the program has roughly that amount of carry-over money from past budgets.
The defense appropriations bill delivered $267.8 billion in outlays for the Pentagon, $4.5 billion more than Clinton had requested. To meet spending caps, Congress built a number of bookkeeping maneuvers into the legislation, such as counting some military pay costs as emergency spending and stretching out funding on some programs.
The $73.9 billion appropriated for personnel costs includes a 4.8 percent across-the-board pay increase for service members--the biggest raise given to the armed forces in 18 years--plus a number of targeted raises for individuals with selected skills or experience that make them especially valuable or hard to retain.
Perhaps the most controversial procurement item in the current budget is the $1 billion for the Air Force's F-22 Raptor, the newest stealth fighter.
At the Education Department, which has prospered during the Clinton years, the budget rose to $35.6 billion, up $2.1 billion or 6.3 percent. Most of the increase will be used for the department's traditional mission of helping disadvantaged students.
The largest single increase, $700 million, is devoted to special education services that school districts must provide under federal law to learning-disabled children. An additional $254 million is intended for after-school programs in inner-city and rural areas. An extra $210 million is to be spent on the Title 1 remedial program for disadvantaged students, which remains the agency's biggest discretionary program. A Clinton initiative to hire more teachers to reduce class sizes in the earliest grades received a $100 million funding increase.
The maximum benefit under the Pell Grant program for low-income college students is up $175, to $3,300.
--Kenneth J. Cooper
Not counting the 0.38 percent across-the-board spending cut, the Department of Energy ended up with $17.432 billion in budget authority--up from $17.308 billion the previous year.
The biggest increase was for DOE's cleanup of environmental hot spots such as Hanford, the former nuclear weapons manufacturing site in Washington state. DOE received a $93 million increase for that type of environmental management. Other increases were $46 million for defense programs, such as DOE's atomic weapons stockpile stewardship, and $55 million for work on energy efficiency and renewable energy.
DOE programs on environmental safety and health as well as nonproliferation and national security sustained small cuts.
--Martha M. Hamilton
The Environmental Protection Agency, a major target of GOP budget-cutting after the Republicans took over Congress in 1995, held its own. The $7.59 billion total for the agency was the same as in the previous year, and funds for environmental programs and management grew by $50 million--less than what Clinton had requested.
Congress generally avoided "riders" restricting EPA's environmental enforcement, although the final budget exempts scrap metal dealers from liability for cleanup costs at "Superfund" toxic-waste sites.
However, Congress cut the president's request for the Climate Change Technology Initiative by more than $111 million, bringing its 2000 funding to $115 million, the same as in 1999. State-level revolving funds for safe drinking water amounted to $820 million, $20 million above the president's request, while the revolving funds for clean water were boosted $500 million above the request, to $1.35 billion.
Congress provided $4.65 billion for the Health and Human Services Department this year, up from $4.3 billion last year.
As part of an ongoing effort to double biomedical research over the next five years, the bill boosts the National Institutes of Health's budget by 15 percent, to $17.9 billion, $2 billion above the president's request. However, the legislation delays $3 billion of that spending to avoid dipping into the Social Security surplus. NIH does not expect the delay to affect research activities, unlike the original plan to postpone $7.5 billion in spending.
The measure includes $1.6 billion for Ryan White AIDS programs--$184 million more than last year's level--and $3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a $264 million boost.
Republicans had threatened severe cuts in the Department of Housing and Urban Development budget but, in the end, they agreed to modest increases in most major HUD programs. All told, the department got $26.3 billion, up $2.2 billion from the year before--but $1.7 billion below what Clinton had requested.
The most striking compromise brought 60,000 new rental vouchers for low-income families, after the Clinton administration had requested 100,000 and Republicans had countered with zero.
The budget also includes more money for public housing renovation projects, homelessness initiatives and anti-discrimination programs. And it will fund a bipartisan plan to help protect hundreds of thousands of subsidized-housing residents from the conversion of their subsidized apartments to market-rate housing.
Interior Department officials say they are pleased with their fiscal 2000 appropriation of about $8.35 billion, a 5.5 percent increase over fiscal 1999. "We've always been one of the best-loved departments, but we haven't always been one of the best funded," said John M. Berry, assistant secretary for policy, management and budget. "We're glad to see Congress start to turn that around a little bit."
Interior got almost $330 million in budget authority for the administration's "Land Legacy" program for land conservation and acquisition, a little more than half the administration's original request. The Bureau of Indian Affairs received a 7.2 percent increase in funding, including $95 million to improve the agency's management of tribal members' trust assets.
Interior also got $2.86 billion for the land management operations of the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service--just $25 million shy of the administration's original request.
The Justice Department's budget for fiscal 2000 is $21.2 billion, slightly more than the $20.8 billion in fiscal 1999 and reflecting a leveling off after years of growth, officials said.
While there was a modest increase to account for inflation and the federal pay raise, there was a significant decrease of about $850 million in funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services program (COPS), which is aimed at putting more police officers on the streets. The Bureau of Prisons got the biggest chunk of the budget, with $3.1 billion for salary and expenses and $557 million for new prison construction.
While the Justice Department did not receive the $20 million it wanted for a massive lawsuit against the tobacco industry, the agency is permitted to reprogram funds within its budget to carry the lawsuit forward. Justice did get $10 million for a new "community prosecution" program led by Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.
And the budget includes money for the Immigration and Naturalization Service to hire 1,000 border patrol officers.
The department's civil rights division, which handles hate crimes, got a funding boost of more than $10 million, to $82.2 million.
--David A. Vise
In the end, the budget for fiscal 2000 turned out to be a pleasant surprise for the Labor Department. After months of seeing the House trim one program after another, budget negotiators restored almost all of the cuts during the final days of negotiations.
The department ended up with about $11.22 billion in budget authority--a 3 percent increase over the fiscal 1999 level, or half of the increase the White House had requested. The final amount was 11 percent higher than the spending authority approved by the House.
In the final budget negotiations, spending authority was restored for a wide variety of departmental programs, from worker protection and employment training to occupational safety and health, although almost all of the funding was below the president's original budget request. The final spending bill restored $143 million that had been cut in the bill vetoed on Oct. 27 by Clinton.
Congress appropriated $22.3 billion for international affairs, $200 million more than the amount the president had requested but less than the $23.4 billion spending level reached during fiscal 1999.
The fiscal 1999 amount had swelled from an initial appropriation of $19.7 billion after supplemental bills were passed for humanitarian aid for Kosovo, anti-narcotics operations and heightened embassy security after the bombings in Tanzania and Kenya. The fiscal 2000 budget continues to stress embassy security, with $314 million for building new and secure embassies and $254 million for increased operational security spending, such as hiring more guards and diplomatic security agents. It also doubles support for international peacekeeping operations, to $500 million.
In the final international affairs appropriations, Congress put in $1.8 billion to fund the Wye accords--which provide additional aid to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. An extra $25 million was inserted for Egypt. Separately, Congress finally authorized $926 million--appropriated over three years--to cover U.S. arrears owed to the United Nations. The administration, however, got only $123 million of the $370 million it sought to ease the burden borne by poor, heavily indebted developing countries. The Peace Corps failed to get the money needed to expand, but got enough to maintain its current level of volunteers.
Congress approved a total of $50.17 billion in mandatory and discretionary spending for transportation in fiscal 2000, a $2.9 billion increase over the previous year.
The bill includes $27.7 billion for highway spending, a $2.2 billion increase, and $5.79 billion for mass transit, a $407 million increase. The measure also provides $1.95 billion for airport improvements, a $350 million increase, and full funding of $571 million for Amtrak, the financially troubled railroad.
The Treasury Department spending bill generally kept its programs at about the same funding levels as the previous year. The bill met Clinton's request for the Internal Revenue Service, providing $8.2 billion, which will allow the agency to continue its modernization and reorganization initiatives.
The Customs Service received $1.94 billion, including $4 million to target international child pornography trafficking and child exploitation via the Internet.
Overall, the bill contains $12.3 billion for Treasury, up from $12 billion in fiscal 1999.
The bill also doubles the presidential salary to $400,000, effective in January 2001, and allows a pay raise for members of Congress, who will receive a $4,600 cost-of-living increase in January 2000, increasing their salaries to $141,300.
The Department of Veterans Affairs received about $19 billion for veterans' medical care in fiscal 2000, a $1.7 billion increase and far more than Congress has ever provided for VA health care in a single year. The VA said the extra money will help improve the quality of its medical care and cut down on waiting times for health services.
There is also more than $23 billion for entitlement programs. To expedite claims processing, Congress provided an extra $51 million over last year's level, which the VA said would allow the department to move 440 additional employees into claims work.