Sequestration, the Pentagon, and the States

Sequestration, the Pentagon, and the States offers selected state-level briefs focused on the local impact of looming automatic across-the-board federal spending cuts known as sequestration and historically high levels of Pentagon spending.

On March 1, unless Congress acts, billions of dollars will be cut from domestic programs and the Pentagon. But while these cuts will have a devastating impact on many domestic programs, the Pentagon is better positioned to absorb them due to the significant growth in military spending over the past decade.

Highlights of the release focus on critical domestic programs that could see their funding cut if sequestration goes into effect, and the impact that modest reductions in Pentagon spending could have to safeguard these programs, such as:

  • A $50 billion cut in Pentagon spending could fund five years of Community Development Block Grants AND five years of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) AND four years of Homeless Assistance Grants.
  • Military spending has grown by 35 percent since 2002, 48 percent if you include war costs. Domestic discretionary spending grew by only 8 percent over that period.
  • Funding for FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program has been cut by 53 percent over the last three years. Sequestration would reduce the program’s $100 million FY2013 proposed budget by $5.1 million.
  • At the University of Virginia the Virginia share of total projected Pentagon spending for Fiscal Year 2013, $16 billion, would fund all in-state expenses of a four-year education for each incoming freshman class for the next 46.3 years.

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Read the full report published by the National Priorities Project

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Bills Before Congress: July 9 -13

in the House

The Repeal of Obamacare Act
Would repeal the 2010 healthcare law. It’s the GOP response to the Supreme Court ruling on the law. The House Rules Committee is expected to consider this bill on Monday evening in an “emergency meeting” because the bill will be officially introduced on Monday by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). The House is expected to vote on the bill on Wednesday, July 11.

Republicans in the house have gone overboard this session mandating that each and every bill must specify “pay-fors.”  A repeal of “Obamacare” would pose a $230B increase in the budget deficit.  Watch to see if hypocrisy prevails and whether Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) identifies ANY “pay-fors” as part of his repeal effort that is going absolutely NOWHERE.  

The National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act (HR 4402)
Aimed at streamlining the process for approving mining rights, and addressing what many see as an increasingly U.S. reliance on imported rare earth minerals that are key to manufacturing and national security.

Several non-controversial bills will also be considered in the House this week:

The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act (HR 4114)
Increases, effective as of Dec. 1, 2012, the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans.

The Veteran Skills to Jobs Act (HR 4155)
Directs the head of each Federal department and agency to treat relevant military training as sufficient to satisfy training or certification requirements for Federal licenses.

HR 4367 amends the Electronic Fund Transfer Act to limit the fee disclosure requirement for an automatic teller machine to the screen of that machine.

The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act (HR 5892)
Improves hydropower.

The Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Reauthorization and the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act (HR 6019)
Enhances the use of Juvenile Accountability Block Grants for programs to prevent and address occurrences of bullying and to reauthorize the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants program.

in the Senate

The Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act (S 2237) – The Senate will hold a procedural vote on this bill Tuesday afternoon.
This bill (#6 on POPVOX) would reduce corporate taxes on the first $5 million in wages paid in 2012 over 2011.

The Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act (S 1959)
Requires a report on the designation of the Haqqani Network as a foreign terrorist organization.

The Former Charleston Naval Base Land Exchange Act (S 2061)
Provides for an exchange of land between the Department of Homeland Security and the South Carolina State Ports Authority.

Other Bills of Interest

The Supreme Court ruling in favor of the healthcare bill prompted the introduction of several bills to repeal the law, none of which appear likely to advance because of the pending House vote on Cantor’s bill.

Three of these similar bills made the top of POPVOX’s most-commented list last week:

The NObamacare Act (HR 6053)
Repeals the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the health-related provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 not declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court from Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.).

The Healthcare Tax Relief and Mandate Repeal Act (HR 6048)
Amends the tax code to repeal the individual and employer health insurance mandates, from Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) and more than 100 other cosponsors.

The NObamacare Funds Act (HR 6054)
Prohibits funding to implement any provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or of the health-related provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, from Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.).

LIHEAP Funds Released by HHS for Helping Low-Income Households

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 19, 2012
Contact: ACF Press Office
(202) 401-9215

HHS releases more than $863 million to help low-income households with energy costs stay safe and healthy

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is releasing more than $863 million today to grantees to help low-income households with their heating and other home energy costs under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). HHS is releasing the remaining funds, made available by the Consolidated Appropriation Act, 2012 (Public Law 112-74), to states, territories, tribes and the District of Columbia.

“This support is critical for families needing assistance to pay their home energy costs,” said George Sheldon, HHS acting assistant secretary for children and families. “We are releasing these funds today to help ease the burden for those vulnerable families and aid them in getting through the remaining winter months and the summer months ahead.”

LIHEAP assists low-income households, including families with children and seniors, with their home energy needs such as heating in the winter, cooling in the summer, and insulating their homes to make them more energy-efficient and to reduce their energy costs. The $863 million in regular block grant funds released today is in addition to the $2.6 billion released since October 2011. Including funds released today, grantees will receive a total of $3.4 billion in LIHEAP block funds for Fiscal Year 2012.

“Many Americans make difficult decisions whether it’s paying for rent, food and heating costs, which can add a real strain on families,” said Jeannie Chaffin, director for the Office of Community Services. “We are releasing these funds today to help as many families as possible get through this winter season safe and warm.”

For a complete list of additional funds available to grantees today please visit:http://www.acf.hhs.gov/news/press/2012/FY2012LIHEAP_GrossAlloc.html.

Individuals interested in applying for energy assistance should contact their local/state LIHEAP agency. For more information, go to: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap orhttp://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap/brochure/brochure.html.