Public Laws

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017
Public Law 115-31

Summary

As has become the norm in the past decade, fiscal year 2017 appropriation bills were not enacted separately, but rather bound together into one large omnibus appropriation bill, called the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 (CAA 2017)(Pub. L. 115-31). It also was signed into law well after the October 1, 2016 beginning of the fiscal year to which it applied. The CAA 2017 was enacted on May 5, 2017.  

Pub. L. 115–31, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017; 131 Stat. 135; May 5, 2017; H.R. 244 (115th Congress) BCR-PDF

Pub. L. 115–31, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017; 131 Stat. 135; May 5, 2017; H.R. 244 (115th Congress) GPO-Page View


General  Information

Public Law:  Public Law 115-31

Stat. At Large: 131 Stat. 135

Enacted: May 05, 2017

Bill Number:  H.R. 244 (115th Congress)

Note:  This law included a number of budgetary applicable provisions: an increase in the public debt limit, a technical allowance for estimating changes and provisions related to adjustments for designated items, such as emergency and overseas contingencies. 


Discretionary Sequestration

The discretionary spending limits are set under section 251(c) (BBEDCA), and the reports under which the orders are issued fall under section 254 (BBEDCA). According to both OMB and CBO, a sequestration was not required for fiscal year 2017 due to the enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017. The sequestration report was late for the fiscal year due to the lateness of the final discretionary action (per section 184 of Pub. L. 114-223, as amended  See the following reports:

CBO – Final Sequestration Report for Fiscal Year 2017 (CBO Report) May 12, 2017

OMB – Final Sequestration Report for Fiscal Year 2017 (OMB Report) May 19, 2017

OMB – Letter on the Delay of the Final Sequestration Report (Sec. 184 of Pub. L. 114-223, as amended)


References

OMB – PL115-31, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (OMB Report) May 16, 2017


Applicable Text of Statute

1. This Act was the first “continuing appropriation” measure enacted in order to keep the Federal Government funded as the fiscal year, and hence appropriated funds, came to an end. The following is the text setting the new date as December 8, 2017: 

Sec. 106. Unless otherwise provided for in this Act or in the applicable appropriations Act for fiscal year 2018, appropriations and funds made available and authority granted pursuant to this Act shall be available until whichever of the following first occurs:

(1) the enactment into law of an appropriation for any project or activity provided for in this Act;

(2) the enactment into law of the applicable appropriations Act for fiscal year 2018 without any provision for such project or activity; or

(3) December 8, 2017.  

2. Though not unprecedented, this appropriation bill included a debt limit increase, which is not ordinarily included in Appropriation Acts. It is in jurisdiction of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees. The Limit on the Public Debt is in Division C:

DIVISION C—TEMPORARY EXTENSION OF PUBLIC DEBT LIMIT

Sec. 101. (a) In General.—Section 3101(b) of title 31, United States Code, shall not apply for the period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act and ending on December 8, 2017.

(b) Special Rule Relating To Obligations Issued During Extension Period.—Effective on December 9, 2017, the limitation in effect under section 3101(b) of title 31, United States Code, shall be increased to the extent that—

(1) the face amount of obligations issued under chapter 31 of such title and the face amount of obligations whose principal and interest are guaranteed by the United States Government (except guaranteed obligations held by the Sec- retary of the Treasury) outstanding on December 9, 2017, exceeds

(2) the face amount of such obligations outstanding on the date of the enactment of this Act.

(c) Restoring Congressional Authority Over The National Debt.—

(1) Extension limited to necessary obligations.—An obligation shall not be taken into account under section 101(b)(1) unless the issuance of such obligation was necessary to fund a commitment incurred pursuant to law by the Federal Government that required payment before December 9, 2017.

(2) Prohibition on creation of cash reserve during extension period.—The Secretary of the Treasury shall not issue obligations during the period specified in section 101(a) for the purpose of increasing the cash balance above normal operating balances in anticipation of the expiration of such period.

3. The text of this Act also include the below that may be of some interest, insofar as it provides directions related to designations, which provide for adjustments to the discretionary spending limits: 

Sec. 114. (a) Each amount incorporated by reference in this Act that was previously designated by the Congress for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism or as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 or as being for disaster relief pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(D) of such Act is designated by the Congress for Overseas Contingency Operations/ Global War on Terrorism or as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of such Act or as being for disaster relief pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(D) of such Act, respectively.  

4. Technical allowance related to estimating differences between CBO and OMB. This provision has been included in an appropriation bill since the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (Pub. L. 113-76):

Sec. 7.Technical Allowance for Estimating Differences.

If, for fiscal year 2017, new budget authority provided in appropriations Acts exceeds the discretionary spending limit for any category set forth in section 251(c) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 due to estimating differences with the Congressional Budget Office, an adjustment to the discretionary spending limit in such category for fiscal year 2017 shall be made by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the amount of the excess but the total of all such adjustments shall not exceed 0.2 percent of the sum of the adjusted discretionary spending limits for all categories for that fiscal year.


Components of the Public Law

The following appropriation measures were merged into this Act:

1. Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017 (Division A);

2. Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017 (Division B);

3. Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017 (Division C);

4. Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017 (Division D);

5. Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017 (Division E);

6. Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2017 (Division F);

7. Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017 (Division G) – Table 7, page 20;

8. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017 (Division H);

9. Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2017 (Division I);

10. Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2017 (Division J);

11. Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017 (Division K); and

12. Military Construction and Veterans Affairs – Additional Appropriations Act, 2017 (Division L)