Consolidated Appropriations, Fiscal Year 2018
Public Law 115-141
The Consolidated Appropriations, Fiscal Year 2018 was the final appropriation Act for fiscal year 2018, enacted about halfway through the fiscal year. Even though omnibus appropriations bill have become a common occurrence, though now generally terminologically supplanted with the term “consolidated appropriations”, this fiscal year was somewhat more tortured than recent years. Though it was a non-shutdown shutdown, appropriations did lapse for a day when the funding bill was held up by filibuster forced by the Senate Democrats over policy differences related to illegal immigration. It caused very little disruption not only because of it’s brevity, but also that it occurred over a weekend when government offices were largely closed. This does not mean it was not disruptive, but not as much as other shutdowns, such as in 2013 or the more substantial two in late 1995 and early 1996.
The year was also somewhat unusual in that the budget-related provisions, which very often find their way into omnibus appropriation bills, largely were in the penultimate bill rather than this one. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, following in its two namesake laws, raised the discretionary spending limits, raised the debt ceiling, and established a Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform.
Public Law: Pub. L. 115-141
Stat. At Large: 132 Stat. 1059
Enacted: March 23, 2018
Bill Number: H.R. 1625 (115th Congress)
Sponsor: Rep. Edward Royce [R-CA-39]
Note: Though the bill was originally introduced to amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956, related to human trafficking, the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2018 was added to that purpose in order to fund the Federal Government through the end of the fiscal year. This omnibus appropriations served in the stead of 12 separate bills, which instead showed up as Divisions within the text of the Act.
Very often budgetary provisions are included in the text of these bills, but since this follows the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (115th Congress), that bill served to carry what might otherwise have been included in the last consolidated appropriations measure.
Violations of Budget Rules
This bill contained the following violations:
Section 306 (CBA): The bill includes provisions within the jurisdiction of the Committee on the Budget though that committee did not receive of a referral, did not report it, nor was it discharged of its consideration.
Applicable Budgetary Law
Wildfire Suppression Adjustment. Section 102 Division O of the Act, (Short Title: “Wildfire Suppression Funding and Forest Management Activities Act”) amended section 251 (BBEDCA) to insert a new adjustment to the discretionary spending limits for wildfire suppression. The same Act added section 104, which requires a report on the adjustment.
The new text as it compares with existing law: Wildfire Suppression Adjustment.
Enforcement Exemption. Title VII of Division M put in place the ordinary “budgetary effects” language, shielding the budgetary effects of one of the largest budget bills of the year from budget enforcement:
TITLE VII—BUDGETARY EFFECTS
SEC. 701. BUDGETARY EFFECTS.
(a) Statutory PAYGO Scorecards.—The budgetary effects of this division and each succeeding division shall not be entered on either PAYGO scorecard maintained pursuant to section 4(d) of the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010.
(b) Senate PAYGO Scorecards.—The budgetary effects of this division and each succeeding division shall not be entered on any PAYGO scorecard maintained for purposes of section 4106 of H. Con. Res. 71 (115th Congress).
(c) Classification of Budgetary Effects.—Notwithstanding Rule 3 of the Budget Scorekeeping Guidelines set forth in the joint explanatory statement of the committee of conference accompanying Conference Report 105–217 and section 250(c)(8) of the Balanced 2 Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, the budgetary effects of this division and each succeeding divi4 sion shall not be estimated—
(1) for purposes of section 251 of such Act; and
(2) for purposes of paragraph (4)(C) of section 7 of the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 as 8 being included in an appropriation Act.
Applicable Text of Statute