18 Dec Congress Finalizes Passage of FY 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill
Both the House and Senate have passed a bipartisan $1.1 trillion appropriations bill to
fund most of the U.S. government through September 2015 and avert a shutdown. The
56-40 vote on Saturday follows House passage of the spending bill on December 11 and
sends the measure to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The total package includes $1.013 trillion, providing full funding for 11 of the 12 regular
appropriations bills. The only appropriations measure not fully funded is the one for the
Department of Homeland Security, which was funded under a temporary continuing
resolution (CR) at current levels through February 27, 2015. The compromise also
abides by spending caps set in the 2013 Ryan-Murray Bipartisan Budget Act that sets
spending at $521 billion for defense and $491 billion for non-defense programs. This
report summarizes funding for key programs of interest to cities and other local public
The Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations portion of the spending bill package
includes a total of $208 million for COPS Office programs, including $134.5 million for
hiring grants, a reduction from the FY 2014 level of $151 million, and $7 million for a
new anti-heroin task force initiative. Byrne Justice Assistance Grants are funded at $332
million, down from $345 million last year. Second Chance Act programs and the
comprehensive school safety initiative are level funded at $68 million and $75 million
Juvenile Justice grants are at $251.5 million, $3 million less than last year’s level. The
bill includes $41 million for a new program to address the sexual assault kit backlog at
law enforcement agencies. Funding for violence against women grants are increased to
$430 million, up from $417 million last year.
The spending agreement funds highway and transit programs consistent with MAP- 21
authorization levels set in the federal surface transportation law that was extended only
through May 31, 2015. For highway programs, nearly $41 billion in obligation authority
is available for FY 2015, with $500 million allocated to the TIGER program allowing
U.S. DOT to undertake another round of competitive grants in support of winning local
and state road, transit, port and railroad projects. TIGER funding for FY 2015 is $100
million below the FY 2014 enacted level. For transit, overall funding is set at $10.7
billion, with $8.6 billion for trust fund-supported programs and $2.1 billion in general
fund-supported capital grants for “new starts” projects.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is funded at $1.6 billion, roughly the same
as the current level. Funding for Amtrak is included in this amount with selected
spending limitations, such as requiring overtime limits on Amtrak employees to reduce
unnecessary costs and prohibiting federal funding for routes where Amtrak offers a
discount of 50 percent or more off normal, peak fares. However, the spending measure
does not include funding for high-speed rail.
Community Development and Housing
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula program is funded at $3
billion, $30 million below the FY 2014 enacted level. The HOME program is funded at
$900 million, $100 million below the FY 2014 level. HUD’s Homeless housing programs
will receive $2.13 billion, which is an increase over the FY 2014 level of $2.06 billion. In
regard to housing programs, Section 8 tenant-based subsidies are funded at $17.486
billion, while Section 8 project based rent subsidies will receive $9.73 billion. Homeless
veterans (VASH) are funded at $75 million and will provide 10,000 rent subsidies.
Choice Neighborhoods is funded at $80 million, a decrease of $10 million from the FY
2014 enacted level. The Public Housing Capital and Public Housing Operating programs
are slightly increased, funded at $1.875 billion and $4.40 billion, respectively. The
Housing Opportunities Program for Persons with AIDS is funded at $330 million, a $2
million cut in the program from last year’s funding level. Section 202 elderly housing
would receive an increase to $420 million over last year’s funding of $383 million.
Section 811 disabled housing is funded at $135 million, an increase of its last year’s
funding level of $126 million.
Environment, Energy and Water
The FY 2015 omnibus spending bill provides $8.139 billion for the EPA, $61 million less
than the FY 2014 enacted level and $250 million more than the President’s budget
request. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund receives $1.45 billion in funding,
consistent with the FY 2014 enacted level and $431 million more than the budget
request. The Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund receives $906.8 million, equal
to the FY 2014 enacted level and $150 million more than the President’s budget request.
For FY 2015, $34.202 billion is provided for Energy and Water Development programs,
$142 million more than the FY 2014 bill and $519 million less than the President’s
The bill provides direct support to programs that address areas including energy
efficiency and renewable energy, climate change, electrical grid modernization, nuclear
research and development, and energy technology.
The FY 2015 spending package funds the Army Corps of Engineers at $5.483 billion,
$922 million more than the budget request. A total of $1.640 billion is included for
water resources projects that provide for improvements to navigation, flood risk
management and for ecosystem restoration.
This amount is $16 million less than the FY 2014 enacted amount and $51 million more
than the request. The spending bill supports four new construction starts. It also
provides $2.9 billion for operation and maintenance of water resources projects. This
represents an increase of $48 million more than the FY 2014 enacted amount and $309
million more than this fiscal year 2015 request. Further, it provides $1.1 billion for
eligible activities that are reimbursed by the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.
The Department of Labor is funded at $11.9 billion, a reduction of $99 million below the
FY 2014 enacted level. This funding includes $9.7 billion for the Employment and
Training Administration, a $651 million less than the FY 2014 enacted level. The
spending measure includes $2.624 billion, an increase of $36 million, for Workforce
Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grants to states to provide job training skills
and assistance to low-skilled adults, dislocated workers and low-income youth with
barriers to employment. It also increases the Governor’s Reserve from 8.75 to 10 percent
and includes funding for the following programs:
• $79.6 million for Youthbuild, an increase from $2.155 million in FY 2014;
• $270 million for Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS), which is
$458,000 above the FY 2014 level, including $14 million for the Transition
• $710.6 million to fund the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program
through FY 2015;
• $1.7 billion for Job Corps;
• $34 million, an increase of $4 million, to expand the successful model of
• $82 million, an increase of $2 million, for the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders
Education and Health and Human Services
The FY 2015 omnibus appropriations bill includes funding for a variety of education and
health programs. The Head Start program is funded at $8.1 billion, representing a
minor increase above the FY 2014 level. Ebola Preparedness and Response is funded at
$2.74 billion while Community Health Centers (CHCs) are funded at $1.49 billion. $3.4
billion is provided for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) program,
consistent with the FY2014 level.