Consolidated Appropriations, Fiscal Year 2018
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (CAA 2018) created a new cap adjustment to the statutory discretionary spending limits for wildfire suppression activities. This mechanism is gives special treatment to fire suppression as opposed to other emergency or disaster funding by allowing the spending limits to be adjusted by a specified amount, whereas other emergencies generally are evaluated as to the need in any year as to the amount provided. The text also requires specific reporting by the Forest Service and Department of the Interior, which are the agencies which would gain from the adjustment.
Section 102 (CAA 2018) amends section 251(b) (BBEDCA), by doing two things: (1) it changes the definition of “disaster funding”, which was put in place for purposes of the discretionary spending limits by the Budget Control Act of 2011; and (2) it creates annual increases in the spending limits for specific amounts for the purpose of wildfire suppression in the fiscal years 2020 through 2027. This is the case even though the discretionary spending limits themselves, which re to be adjusted, only apply through fiscal year 2021.
Section 104 (CAA 2018) sets out the reporting requirement as a free standing provision.
Division O — Wildfire Suppression and Management Funding Activities Act
sec. 101. short title.
This division may be cited as the ‘‘Wildfire Suppression Funding and Forest Management Activities Act’’.
TITLE I—WILDFIRE AND DISASTER
sec. 102. wildfire and disaster funding adjustment.
(a) Section 251(b)(2) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (2 U.S.C. 901(b)(2)) is amended—
(1) in subparagraph (D)(i), by striking subclauses (I) and (II) and inserting the following—
‘‘(I) the average over the previous 10 years (excluding the highest and lowest years) of the sum of the funding provided for disaster relief (as that term is defined on the date immediately before the date of enactment of the Wildfire Suppression Funding and Forest Management Activities Act);
‘‘(II) notwithstanding clause (iv), starting in fiscal year 2018, five percent of the total appropriations provided after fiscal year 2011 or in the previous 10 years, whichever is less, net of any rescissions of budget authority enacted in the same period, with respect to amounts provided for major disasters declared pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.) and designated by the Congress and the President as an emergency pursuant to subparagraph (A)(i) of this paragraph; and
‘‘(III) the cumulative net total of the unused carryover for fiscal year 2018 and all subsequent fiscal years, where the unused carryover for each fiscal year is calculated as the sum of the amounts in subclauses (I) and (II) less the enacted appropriations for that fiscal year that have been designated as being for disaster relief.’’;
(2) in subparagraph (D)(ii), by striking ‘‘not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of the Budget Control Act of 2011’’ and inserting ‘‘not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of the Wildfire Suppression Funding and Forest Management Activities Act’’; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:
‘‘(F) Wildfire suppression.—
‘‘(i) Additional new budget authority.—If, for fiscal years 2020 through 2027, a bill or joint resolution making appropriations for a fiscal year is enacted that provides an amount for wildfire suppression operations in the Wildland Fire Management accounts at the Department of Agriculture or the Department of the Interior, then the adjustments for that fiscal year shall be the amount of additional new budget authority provided in that Act for wildfire suppression operations for that fiscal year, but shall not exceed—
‘‘(I) for fiscal year 2020, $2,250,000,000;
‘‘(II) for fiscal year 2021, $2,350,000,000;
‘‘(III) for fiscal year 2022, $2,450,000,000;
‘‘(IV) for fiscal year 2023, $2,550,000,000;
‘‘(V) for fiscal year 2024, $2,650,000,000;
‘‘(VI) for fiscal year 2025, $2,750,000,000;
‘‘(VII) for fiscal year 2026, $2,850,000,000; and
‘‘(VIII) for fiscal year 2027, $2,950,000,000.
‘‘(ii) Definitions.—In this subparagraph:
‘‘(I) Additional new budget authority.—The term ‘additional new budget authority’ means the amount provided for a fiscal year in an appropriation Act that is in excess of the average costs for wildfire suppression operations as reported in the budget of the President submitted under section 1105(a) of title 31, United States Code, for fiscal year 2015 and are specified to pay for the costs of wildfire suppression operations in an amount not to exceed the amount specified for that fiscal year in clause (i).
‘‘(II) Wildfire suppression operations.—The term ‘wildfire suppression operations’ means the emergency and unpredictable aspects of wildland firefighting, including—
‘‘(aa) support, response, and emergency stabilization activities;
‘‘(bb) other emergency management activities; and
‘‘(cc) the funds necessary to repay any transfers needed for the costs of wildfire suppression operations.’’.
(b) The amendment made by paragraph (1) of subsection (a) shall begin to apply in fiscal year 2019.
H.R. 1625 – Section 102 (Wilfire Adjustment) from Fiscal Year 2018 – Consolidated Appropriations, Rules Print – H. Rept. 115-29374
Consolidated Appropriations Act, Fiscal Year 2018; H.R. 1625 (115th Congress), House Rules Committee Print; March 22, 2018