Morning Action: The 1,582-Page Omnibus

OMNIBUS.  House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on the 1,582-page, $1.012 trillion omnibus spending bill.  The House is expected to vote on a three-day continuing resolution (H J Res 106) today that would keep the government open through January 18.  The House will likely take up the omnibus on Wednesday, with a cloture vote in the Senate expected Friday and a final vote expected Saturday.

This omnibus is, as the Heritage Foundation describes it, a bill full of “pork projects, ineffective government programs, and giveaways for corporate cronies included in the massive” (sub. req’d):

House and Senate negotiators completed an agreement on a $1.012 trillion omnibus spending package on Monday that would fund nearly every corner of the federal government with 12 new appropriations bills while seeking to sidestep the most contentious policy questions that have tied up Congress in recent years.

Appropriators filed the nearly 1,600-page spending plan late Monday after weeks of talks, setting it up for a vote in the House on Wednesday and another later in the week in the Senate.

The sprawling package folds in new spending directives for all 12 of the annual appropriations measures and does not include any continuing resolutions, effectively hitting the “reset” button for many domestic programs that have seen their funding and guidance frozen for years due to political gridlock. For agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, the omnibus — if passed — would hand them fresh spending directives from Congress for the first time in several years.

The measure seeks to call a truce, at least for now, on several controversial policy issues such as the 2010 health care law (PL 111-148, 111-152) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon regulations that have kept appropriations action in limbo.

Read the Heritage Foundation analysis of the entire omnibus here.

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE.  The Senate resumes consideration of an extension of emergency unemployment benefits (sub. req’d):

 The chamber resumes consideration of a bill (S 1845) that would extend emergency unemployment benefits and votes on a motion to limit debate on an amendment that would extend the aid until mid-November. If cloture isn’t invoked, the Senate will immediately proceed to vote on the motion to limit debate on the underlying bill. Meets at 10 a.m. with the first procedural vote at 2:30 p.m. and recesses from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. for the weekly party lunches.

OBAMACARE.  Health insurers are concerned that too few young people are signing up for health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges:

Insurers have raised concerns that too few young people are signing up for heath insurance through the ObamaCare exchanges after newly released statistics showed that less than a quarter of people who have enrolled are between the ages of 18 and 34. 

According to the numbers released Monday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only 24 percent – or 489,460 – of the 2.2 million people who signed up for ACA were in the coveted 18-to-34 age range. That means the government has hit only 18 percent of its stated goal of registering 2.7 million adults in the 18-to-34 age range.

Experts have predicted that the program will need roughly 40 percent of enrollees to be in that prime demographic in order to be fiscally solvent. Adults ages 55 to 64 made up 33 percent of the total number of Americans who signed up, the largest group represented in the data. 

EX-IM BANK.  The omnibus thwarts President Obama’s overseas coal-plant funding limits:

The $1 trillion federal spending bill that lawmakers unveiled Monday night would soften an Obama administration climate-change policy that greatly restricts U.S. support for coal-plant construction in developing nations.

The omnibus appropriations bill essentially blocks, during the rest of fiscal 2014, an Export-Import Bank policy that largely prevents support for building overseas coal plants that don’t trap carbon-dioxide emissions.

The language, according to House Appropriations Committee Republicans, also restricts an Overseas Private Investment Corporation policy that limits support for coal-plant construction.


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Senate is still considering #UIextension, which would is the wrong step to take. #haction

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