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Handy List of Figures in Today’s Debt Ceiling Bill

From Erin Ryan, Congressman La Malfa’s Office

Yet another good list of the factual highlights for you to compare with what is being shuttled around the media:

  1. H.R. 3746, the Fiscal Responsibility Act
  1. Suspends the debt ceiling until January 1, 2025. (Negotiating this again in 2024 with Democrats still in control of the Senate and WH makes very little sense.)
  2. Creates two new sets of discretionary budget caps to limit total spending. 

                                                               i.      Fiscal Years (FY) 2024 and 2025: Estimated savings of $1,458,200,000,000. (CBO) 

  1. FY2024: $1,590,000,000,000. 
  1. Defense: $886,349,000,000. 
  2. Nondefense: $703,651,000,000. 
  3. FY2025: $1,605,900,000,000. 
  1. Defense: $895,212,000,000. 
  2. Nondefense: $710,688,000,000. 
  1. These spending limits (“caps”) are set under the Budget Control Act of 1985, which triggers automatic cuts (“sequestration”) if they are violated. 
  2. Additional $44.8 billion included in these budget limits in order to keep increased spending on Veterans healthcare from disrupting the rest of the nondefense budget limits ($20.3 billion (FY2024) and $24.5 billion (FY2025)).  

                                                             ii.      Fiscal Years 2026 through 2029: Additional savings of $631,500,000,000. (CBO) 

  1. These spending limits are set under the Budget Control Act of 1974, which does nottrigger any automatic cuts if they are violated. 
  2. FY2026: $1,621,959,000,000. 
  3. FY2027: $1,638,179,000,000. 
  4. FY2028: $1,654,560,000,000. 
  5. FY2029: $1,671,106,000,000. 
  1. Rescinds $28 billion in COVID emergency funding which has not yet been obligated. 
  2. Rescinds $1.4 billion from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for funding not related to taxpayer services received from the Inflation Reduction Act, which is all of the non-taxpayer services money the IRS planned to spend in Fiscal Year 2023, from the Inflation Reduction Act. 
  3. Establishes a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) requirement on new rules from the Executive Branch which raise direct spending by $100 million per year, or $1 billion across 10 years. 

                                                               i.      This new requirement necessitates agencies provide additional proposals of executive actions that can be taken to reduce spending by an equivalent or greater amount. 

                                                             ii.      However, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) – which is controlled by the President – can waive this new PAYGO requirement if it “concludes” the new requirement would harm “the delivery of essential services or is necessary for effective program delivery.” 

                                                           iii.      This new authority expires on December 31, 2024, thus preventing it from impacting the next Congress and President. 

  1. Prohibits the President and Secretary of Education from continuing to extend the COVID-19 pause on student loan repayments, which is currently set to expire on August 30, 2023. 

                                                               i.      This pause was first enacted by Congress through the CARES Act at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic but has been repeatedly extended by executive action. 

                                                             ii.      The pause is estimated to cost the Federal government $5 billion per month. 

                                                           iii.      This does not affect the student loan forgiveness that President Biden has also proposed, which the Supreme Court is expected to rule on soon. 

  1. Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Changes: 

                                                               i.      Eliminates the “small checks scheme” run by many States to manipulate their TANF program data. 

  1. This scheme involves States sending small TANF checks to employed individuals – allowing the State to inflate their percentage of TANF recipients who are actively employed, which is known as the “work participation rate.” 
  2. This provision does not go into effect until Fiscal Year 2026.

                                                             ii.      Establishes a pilot program for five States to experiment with changes in the Federal standards for “work participation rate” (see above), but still meet goals for employment, family stability, and recipient well-being. 

                                                           iii.      Resets the work participation rate States are required to maintain for TANF program funding, from a lower-level set based on 2005 rates to a higher-level set in based on 2015 rates.

  1. This provision does not go into effect until Fiscal Year 2026.
  2. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Changes:  

                                                               i.      Increases the age range of able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) from 18-49 to 18-54, but adds new exceptions for homeless individuals, veterans, and youth aging out of foster care.  

  1. ABAWD have limited access to SNAP; without waivers they can get SNAP for only three months in a 3-year period if they do not meet certain extra work requirements.  
  2. The age increase will be phased in over the next few years with a sunset effective October 1, 2030. 

                                                             ii.      Current law allows states to annually exempt up to 12% of ABAWDs not otherwise exempt from the work requirement.  

  1. The USDA has interpreted the law as allowing states to carry over unused exemptions from year to year, building up large balances and allowing them to exempt more individuals from work requirements.  
  2. Effective 2024, the Fiscal Responsibility Act ends the “interpreted law” that allows States to carryover these exemptions and reduces the amount of available annual exemptions from 12% to 8%. 

                                                           iii.      Contains identical language seen in the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which modifies the declaration of SNAP policy to assist low-income adults gain financial security through employment and earnings while obtaining a more nutritious diet.  

                                                           iv.      Effective 30 days after enactment, the USDA must make public all State requests for ABAWD waivers and the Department’s subsequent approvals of them.  

  1. This information has never been made public and could show the great lengths at which States go to in order to waive individuals from the work requirement.  
  1. Rewrites current law dictating the purpose of a NEPA review, to clarify and narrow the overall scope. 
  2. Codifies much of the One Federal Decision, which designates a single agency to act as the “lead agency” on an environmental review document and limits overall review time to one year for Environmental Assessments, and two years for Environmental Impact Statements. 

                                                               i.      Additionally, project applicants will be able to sue Federal agencies to adhere to these timelines. 

  1. Allows agencies to adopt categorical exclusions from other agencies. 
  2. Allows agencies to rely on environmental documents from related actions created within the past five years, rather than having to start from scratch on each action.   
  3. Directs the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to, within a year, study how online and digital technology can be used to reduce review delays, improve public accessibility and transparency in the review process, and whether a unified permitting portal is possible. 

 Erin Ryan 

IN GOD WE TRUST … All others we question

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