Lawmakers divvy up $1.014 trillion in spending for 2015

The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved an outline for all 12 annual spending bills for 2015 that calls for an increase in Pentagon spending and a $1 billion cut to labor, health and education spending.

The allocations, which were approved in a partisan 25-20 vote, divide up the $1.014 trillion in discretionary spending that was agreed to in the bipartisan December budget agreement.

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Many of the bills are given roughly equivalent funding to 2014. House GOP appropriators have put a premium on getting all 12 bills done this year, rather than settling for a stopgap measure when the fiscal year ends on Oct. 1.

“No subcommittee has been increased by more than 2 percent or reduced by more than 3 percent,” Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) noted.

The committee has released a $52 billion Commerce, Justice and Science bill; and a $52 billion Transportation and Housing measure. The latter contains a nearly $2 billion cut due to shrinking Federal Housing Finance Agency revenue.

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The full House has passed a $72 billion Military Construction and Veterans Affairs measure as well as a $4 billion legislative branch measure.

Thursday’s outline completes the picture for the other bills, and Democrats said they objected to cuts to three bills in particular. 

Base defense spending is to increase to $490 billion from $487 billion this year, while Defense Department war funding decreases from $85 billion to $79 billion.

The Labor, Health and Education measure, in contrast, gets $156 billion, down from $157 billion. The bill is a favorite target of Republicans and last year, prior to the budget compromise, they sought to cut funding to $121 billion. The bill partly funds ObamaCare as well as controversial Obama administration workplace regulations. 

The Financial Services bill also gets a $575 million cut to $21 billion. 

Ranking member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said she opposed the allocations in part because of the level of funding for health and financial reform.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said adjusting for inflation, the allocation for Labor and Health is lower than it was in 2001. She said the House-passed budget calls for $18 billion more in cuts to the bill in 2016.

The Interior and Environment bill is flat at $30 billion, but Democrats are opposed to the $4 billion in wild fire spending being in the bill. They want wildfires to be considered disasters not subject to the overall budget caps. 

Most bills are largely the same as in 2014. Agriculture funding is flat at $21 billion; Energy and Water stays at $34 billion.

Homeland Security again sees $39 billion, and the State department and related agencies again get $42 billion.