MONDAY, JULY 24, 2006
SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE APPROVES HANDFUL OF FY 2007 APPROPRIATIONS BILLS
Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee considered a handful of FY 2007 spending bills, including Labor-HHS-Education, Defense, Transportation-Treasury-Judiciary-HUD, and Veterans Affairs.
LABOR-HHS-EDUCATION - The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its $605.6 billion FY 2007 spending bill for Labor, Health and Human Services and Education spending bill. The bill provides $143 billion for discretionary spending, an increase of $1.27 billion from the FY 2006 level and $4.9 billion higher than the President's request.
Key provisions within the Department of Health and Human Services include:
Key provisions within the Department of Education
The bill would also boost funding for Amtrak service, providing $1.4 billion for the national rail service, $100 million more than the FY 2006 spending levels and nearly $500 million more than the Presidentís request. However, the panel also added a provision blocking Amtrakís plans to consider exporting reservation operations oversees, a provision crafted by Senator Byrd (D-WV).
A number of items of interest to Nevada have been identified in the draft Senate Committee report and are noted here.
DEFENSE - The FY 2007 defense spending bill provides $453.4 billion. $14.7 billion more than FY 2006 levels and $9.1 billion less than the President's request. The bill overall provides $403.5 billion in discretionary spending and $50 billion in contingent emergency spending to continue to fund the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Included in the bill is:
The U.S. Navy received $10.4 billion for new shipbuilding programs, slightly less than the Presidentís budget request. The bill provides $300 million for purchasing a single Littoral Combat Ship, rather than the two requested; $2.6 billion for constructing two DD(X) next generation destroyers; and approves a Navy request to cut forces by 12,000 sailors, and increase the size of the Marine Corps by 5,000 soldiers.
The U.S. Air Force received $3.38 billion to buy 20 F-22 Raptor stealth aircraft, $1.4 billion more than requested. The bill also requires the Air Force to continue producing C-17 cargo aircraft, despite Pentagon requests to end C-17 manufacturing. The bill approves an Air Force request to cut forces by 23,200.
And finally, the bill provides $4.15 billion for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, delaying production by a year for more testing. The bill provides a 2.2 percent military pay raise, in line with the Administrationís request.
MILITARY CONSTRUCTION/VA - The FY 2007 Military Construction/VA spending bill was also approved, providing $16.3 billion in military construction projects, $78 billion for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and $143 million for other agencies' veterans spending.
The bill recommends $5.4 billion to implement Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and $191.2 million for prior BRAC rounds. The bill funds the Veterans Affairs Department at the same level as the House appropriations bill, but boosts VA construction spending in favor of several VA programs. The Defense Health Program receives $21.4 billion, and both chambers ignored the Presidentís budget request to impose a $125 yearly increase in annual enrollment fees for veterans, and higher prescription drug co-payments.
COMMITTEE APPROVES HOMELAND SECURITY AUTHORIZATION BILL
The Senate is scheduled to
resume consideration of an offshore energy production bill
that it began debating last Friday. The chamber will also
take up S. 403, the Child Custody Protection Act, sponsored
by Senator John Ensign (R-NV) that would make it a federal
crime to transport minors across state lines to obtain
abortions in order to circumvent state parental notification
and consent laws. A conference report on a pension reform
could be be voted on by both chambers sometime this week. It
is expected to include a "trailer" package - to extend for
either one or two years expiring tax provisions, including
the research and development tax credit, the work
opportunity tax credit, tuitions deduction, and the state
sales tax deduction - that were not included in the tax
reconciliation package. It remains unclear whether the
conference report will include an estate tax reform measure
or charitable giving reforms. The Senate is also scheduled
to consider the nomination of Jerome Holmes to be U.S.
Circuit Judge for the 10th Circuit.
SENATE PASSES BILL TO IMPROVE TRACKING OF SEX CRIMES
Last week, the Senate passed by voice vote a bill designed to track sex crime offenders, subjecting them to increased minimum prison sentences. H.R. 4472, is a modified version of a House bill passed in March. The legislation combines several measures from members in both chambers streamlined into one bill, aimed at improving sex offender registration and tracking capabilities.
The bill requires states to maintain sex offender registries publicly available on the internet, directs the U.S. Department of Justice to maintain a national sex offender registry, and makes failure to register a felony. Sex offenders are required to provide DNA samples to the registry; offenders who fail to register will face a 10-year prison term. Other mandatory minimum sentence increases include 5 years for offenders who commit violent crimes while registered, 10 years for those convicted of using a weapon to attack a child, up to 30 years for having sex with a child under 12, or sexually assaulting a child ages 12 to 17. The bill creates a new office within the Department of Justice to track sex offenders, and directs the U.S. Marshals Service to apprehend unregistered offenders.
Nevada was one of the first states to take part in a newly created National Sex Offender Public Registry, developed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) last year to allow for the secure and reliable organization and transmission of public sex offender data from across our nation by creating a link to each participating state's public safety web site. There are currently 4,700 active registered sex offenders in Nevada and more than 500,000 nationwide.
HOUSE AND SENATE AGREE ON VOCATIONAL, EDUCATIONAL GRANTS RENEWAL
A House and Senate conference committee reauthorized $1.3 billion in grants for coursework at high schools and community colleges for careers not requiring four-year degrees. Conferees agreed to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act for six years. The Perkins program had been eliminated in the Administration's FY 2007 budget request.
The conference agreement maintained separate funding streams for the Tech Prep program, which provides skills training through collaboration between vocational programs and two- and four-year institutions. This issue had been a point of contention in pre-conference negotiations. The agreement also would allow states to spend up to five percent of their funds on administrative costs; the House bill had capped administrative spending at 2 percent. Finally, the agreement would require that programs report their job placement percentages and participant proficiency test scores annually to the state office. A final vote on the measure is expected before the summer recess.
SENATE TO CONSIDER CHILD CUSTODY PROTECTION ACT
On Tuesday, July 25, the Senate will consider S. 403, the Child Custody Protection Act. Sponsored by Senator John Ensign (R-NV), the legislation would make it a federal crime to transport minors across state lines to obtain abortions in order to circumvent state parental notification and consent laws. The Senate is slated to debate amendments before voting on the measure tomorrow. The bill would allow for a fine and up to a year in prison for people who transport minors in contravention of the parental notification and consent laws in the minor's home state. Under the bill, parents could sue people who help their children get abortions in such a manner. The bill would make an exception for abortions necessary to save the life of the girl.
Senate leaders apparently struck a deal late last week allowing for consideration of four amendments, including three from Democrats. One amendment, offered by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) would exempt grandparents and clergy members. The House passed a similar bill last year, 270-157 after rejecting a similar grandparents/clergy exemption.
Currently 44 states have enacted laws that require parental notice or consent for minors to obtain abortions. In 9 states, parental notification or consent laws have been enjoined (not enforced), including Nevada.
SENATE COMMITTEE APPROVES BIOTERRORISM MEASURE
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved by voice vote the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (S. 3678), which provides a five year reauthorization for several expiring sections of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 relating to public health and bioterrorism. The measure would designate the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as the lead federal official in charge of emergency public health and medical response; transfer the National Disaster Medical System from the Department of Homeland Security to HHS; and require the HHS Secretary to prepare and implement a national preparedness and response strategy.
The bill would also authorize $1 billion in grants to states for public health and medical preparedness, and enhance the use of technology to monitor and assess public health emergencies. It also would authorize grants to support surveillance and response capabilities at hospitals, clinical laboratories, or poison control centers. Under the legislation, states would be required to meet performance standards developed by the HHS Secretary to ensure a basic level of preparedness for disasters. A match (5 percent in the first year, 10 percent in the second year, and 20 percent in subsequent years) would be required for the state public health and preparedness grants beginning in FY 2009. The state match can be satisfied with "in-kind" contributions. No companion legislation has been introduced in the House.
METH STUDY RELEASED
The National Association of Counties has released a new study entitled: "The Meth Epidemic in America." Comprehensive in its research, the study provides an informative overview of the problems caused by methamphetamine use. The study found that forty-eight percent of counties reported that meth is their primary drug problem, while 22 percent reported cocaine, another 22 percent reported marijuana and 3 percent reported heroin as their primary problems. Close to ninety percent of counties have precursor laws, while 46 percent of sheriffs reported that the number of meth lab busts has declined.
For further information on the study, please visit the National Association of Counties: www.naco.org.
Recent and archived Federal Grants Notifications are also available on our website. www.NevadaDC.org
|The State of Nevada Washington Office is reachable by phone at (202) 624-5405. Additional contact information is available on our website. To be added to our mailing list, please contact email@example.com.|