Senate appropriators get extra $1 billion

Senate Appropriations Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, will spread $900 million to $1.1 billion in additional appropriations among his subcommittees this week because of budget scoring changes that took effect once President Clinton signed the reauthorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act.

Stevens plans to not only give the transportation subcommittee more money, but may spread some of the money around to other subcommittees for uses other than transportation.

A Stevens aide Monday confirmed the chairman is working on reallocating funding levels to the appropriations subcommittees, but does not yet have a deadline by which he plans to announce the changes.

Appropriators won the extra money when the ISTEA reauthorization bill established budget firewalls for highway and transit spending, which, in turn, reduced non-defense discretionary appropriations for those programs. And by using the OMB scoring, instead of the CBO scoring, $900 million to $1.1 billion was left for other appropriations, aides said.

The new levels of appropriations subcommittee funding likely will have to be approved by the full Appropriations Committee before subcommittees can act on their allocations, aides said.

Among the interests closely watching the allocation of the new money are Senate supporters of Amtrak. Aides said Amtrak likely would be the first large item cut if Stevens does not send enough of the extra money to the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee.

And Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., a longtime foe of Amtrak, may do just that. Sources said Shelby plans to cut the expected funding for Amtrak from $600 million per year to $300 million.

And speculation circulated Monday that Shelby, if he does not get enough extra money from Stevens, may even zero out Amtrak's appropriation.

Senate Finance Chairman William Roth, R-Del., and a bipartisan group of 51 other senators have signed a "Dear Colleague" calling on Shelby to fully fund Amtrak's annual appropriation.

But for now, Senators fighting for Amtrak plan to focus their attention on Stevens. Aides said the size of the extra allocation to the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee will largely determine what Shelby does for Amtrak.

Amtrak, the Coast Guard and the FAA are the largest portions of the transportation appropriations bill not protected by the highway and transit budget firewalls.

Meanwhile, although saying he is "for the maximum amount of tax cuts we can get," Senate Budget Chairman Pete Domenici, R-N.M., Monday warned it will be difficult to get any sizable cuts through the Senate.

Nearly half of the $100 billion tax cut in the House bill is from discretionary spending, and will therefore face the nearly impossible task of garnering 60 votes in the Senate, he said.

And of the remaining $55 billion from mandatory spending, $14 billion has already been spent on the highway bill and veterans' benefits, leaving about $40 billion. "I believe that very little of the $40 billion that remains can be done," Domenici said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.