Congress Agrees on Funding Bill Through September

Democrats and Republicans in Congress reached an agreement for a $1 trillion funding authorization that will keep the Government running until September. The agreement covers funds for the remainder of the 2017 budget year, until October 1, 2017, when the 2018 budget kicks in. What's in it and what's not:

  • No money for Trump's border wall
  • $61 million to reimburse local law enforcement agencies for the cost of protecting Trump's trips to his homes in Florida and New York
  • $1.5 billion for border security measures including additional detention beds.
  • $15 billion "down payment" on defense
  • No language on withholding grant money from "sanctuary cities"
  • No defunding of Planned Parenthood
  • No cuts for "medical research and infrastructure grants."
  • $295 million to help Puerto Rico continue making payments to Medicaid,
  • $100  million to combat opioid addiction.

The entire 1,665 page document is available here. [More...]

There sure is a lot of money for protecting Donald Trump and his residences, for the War on Drugs and the DEA (under a bunch of different headings) and for ICE. Some things that caught my eye:

  • $41,000,000 exclusively for providing reimbursement of extraordinary law enforcement personnel costs for protection activities directly and demonstrably associated with any residence of Donald Trump that is designated or identified to be secured by the United States Secret Service. (This is under FEMA).
  • $20,000,000 is for the sole purpose of
    providing reimbursement of extraordinary law enforcement and related costs directly associated with protecting Donald Trump incurred from November 9, 2016 until the inauguration
  • In addition to the DEA's 2.1 billion budget, it is getting money from other sections. Under COPS (community policing), the DEA gets $10 million for anti-meth activities. It's also getting $70 million "to meet unforeseen emergencies of a confidential character" under 28 USC 503C.
  • 517,000,000 is provided to fight trans-national drug and money laundering cartel activity which can be shared with state and local enforcement.
  • $998,800,000 is for the Defense Department for drug interdiction and counter-drug activities. Of that, 626,087,000 is for salary of military personnel of the reserve components. $234,000,000 is for the National Guard's counter-drug program, and $20,000,000 is for the National Guard's counter-drug schools program. There's also $118,713,000 for the "drug demand reduction program." (Sounds like "Just Say No"). This is in addition to $103,000,000 for "comprehensive opioid abuse reduction activities."
  • $10 million in grants to state law enforcement in states with high numbers of opiate and heroin admissions, which can only be used to investigate and locate offenders
  • $391,253,000 for Colombia counter-narcotics programs, especially organizations designated as "foreign terrorist organizations pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality 11 Act (8 U.S.C. 1189), and other criminal or illegal armed groups." There's also money for airplanes for drug eradication and interdiction activities and associated security costs.
  • ICE, ICE and More ICE: $65,400,000 for "improving hiring processes for Border Patrol Agents, Customs Officers, and Air and Marine personnel, and for relocation enhancements. $48,198,000 for "surge operations."
  • Even more ICE: $236,908,000, of which $147,870,000 is for custody operations (detention), $31,646,000 is for transportation and removal operations and $57,392,000 is for alternatives to detention.
  • The Border Wall: $341,200,000 to replace approximately 40 miles of existing fence. $77,400,000 for new border road construction. $78,800,000 for "acquisition and deployment 11 of border security technology."
  • No funds for closing "or realigning" Guantanamo or transferring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or any other detainee held after June, 2009.
  • BOP cannot use funds to purchase cable TV services for inmates for recreational purposes.
  • No funds can be used to pay for an abortion, except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term, or in the case of rape or incest.

One positive portion is the extension on the prohibition of expending federal funds for medical marijuana enforcement activities in states where its legal and the targets are in compliance with state law. The list of states grows every year:

SEC. 537. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North, Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

Democrats are actually proud of this budget. I think the excessive authorizations for the War on Drugs and ICE and Border Protection are shameful. We could be using those billions for health care, education, social security, our decaying infra-structures, protecting the environment and so many other more worthy causes.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Dems can be proud of... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Mon May 01, 2017 at 01:15:19 PM EST
    avoiding a shutdown if they want, but I agree with you J...the budget priorities are a f*cking joke.

    Specifically galling...Only a 100 million to address a public health opioid addiction crisis of epic proportions, and ten times that for the same old failed supply side drug war tactics? Not to mention all the defense and border security nonsense?  Definition of a society that is quite literally insane.  Nobody is that obtuse, so it must be intentional.  These bastards want some poor people to die to thin the herd....it's the only explanation.  Eugenics by inaction.

    What exactly is behind the opioid epidemic (none / 0) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 01, 2017 at 02:47:26 PM EST
    In your opinion kdog? We have had Vicodin around for years. Why this explosion now?

    Wish I knew... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Mon May 01, 2017 at 03:51:46 PM EST
    I only need a joint to take the edge off the modern world...for others, they take off on this road to hell on earth and eventual prison or death.

    A perfect storm of factors...a soul-aching populace flooded with opioid painkillers aggressively marketed by big pharma in a maddening world where human evolution has not kept up with technological evolution.  Lonely, sad, depressed people taking the easy faux escape from their inner demons in an unsafe wild west environment with underfunded and far far too few affordable treatment options.  An explosion of poppy growing in Afghanistan post US occupation.  Dozens of other factors I can't even think of I'm sure.

    Like I alluded above...were I more of a Alex Jones tinfoil sort, I'd say it was an intentional conspiratorial attempt to sweep people we don't have jobs or opportunity or love for under the proverbial rug to be forgotten until they die. A thinning of the herd.


    Another factor is the coming into adulthood (none / 0) (#5)
    by jondee on Mon May 01, 2017 at 06:24:42 PM EST
    of the most medicated generation of children in history.

    Formally medicated and now disasterously self-medicating.


    Now that makes some sense to me (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 01, 2017 at 09:24:54 PM EST
    A drug for everything that ails you. It is somewhat like true emotion, true grieving, even rational anxieties should be medicated away now. They cannot be abided. It's too much.

    I am still shocked by a budget that is the opposite of what US voters voted for in candidates. The candidates have seen the polls, know they won't survive certain policies even though they campaigned on them. How do we have such a chasm between why individuals were voted into office and what Americans desperately need in real life and will not tolerate?


    i think it might also have to do (none / 0) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed May 03, 2017 at 07:47:31 AM EST
    with the increasing desperation of the lower middle class who have become the working poor if they are lucky enough to have a job.

    same and even more so (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed May 03, 2017 at 07:51:37 AM EST
    with meth.  i just took a friend who was in crisis 60 miles to check into a hospital and they woud not take him because there is not a single open bed in this state and one available in MO 200 miles away that i could not get to because of the flood closed highways.

    the whole thing was one of the most harrowing things i have ever lived through and he is still in crisis and still on meth because of it.


    Yay America! (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Chuck0 on Wed May 03, 2017 at 11:56:56 AM EST
    According to the current reprobate serving as Attorney General, your friend should be rotting away in a private prison. Not taking of valuable hospital space that only "good" people deserve.

    I was thinking (none / 0) (#12)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 03, 2017 at 01:29:03 PM EST
    the same thing. My area has a huge meth problem. North Georgia is loaded with meth. I have no idea about the treatment availability but since Deal has seen fit to let hospitals close and deny people insurance I imagine that treatment is just as hard to come by here.

    When I read your comment, Cap'n, ... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu May 04, 2017 at 06:33:36 AM EST
    ... my mind drifted to director Debra Granik's brilliant 2010 drama "Winter's Bone," in which single-minded teenager Jennifer Lawrence had to navigate her way through the meth-fumed Ozark backcountry to find her wayward father.

    That truly harrowing film made a powerful impression on me, because it really captured the essence of an impoverished and increasingly desperate people who simply have no more fcks to give in this lifetime. And that's just a helluva place to find yourself.

    My thoughts are with your friend, and I hope he gets the help he needs. Drug addiction exacts a terrible toll on people like him. Thank you for being there for him.



    Oops. My bad. (none / 0) (#14)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu May 04, 2017 at 06:56:16 AM EST
    Here's the link. For those of you who haven't seen "Winter's Bone," take a walk on the wild side.

    thanks donald (none / 0) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 04, 2017 at 08:35:53 AM EST
    actually that was not my first rodeo.  but it was a bad one.  it really was.  or is i should say.

    and i completely agree about winters bone.  i seriously felt like i knew some of those people.


    also (none / 0) (#16)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 04, 2017 at 08:48:13 AM EST
    dont know if you know this but that story was set and flmed just afew miles from where im sitting ringh now

    A win for Democrats, and the country, (none / 0) (#2)
    by KeysDan on Mon May 01, 2017 at 01:43:11 PM EST
    in the Trump era, is to keep the government going and to minimize damage to citizens--continue to cut social security checks, pay Medicaid/Medicare bills, pay government workers.

     Stopping or even delaying some of the worst until people come to their senses, such as the beautiful wall with its beautiful door, will have to serve as  frosting on Trump's big, most beautiful chocolate cake you have ever seen.

     Trump needs to have his Katrina moment before the con is evident to mores so as to do anything beyond compromised basics and hopes to achieve so much as a semi-reasonable ordering of priorities.

    Trump Administration v Trump Tweets. (none / 0) (#7)
    by KeysDan on Tue May 02, 2017 at 04:10:08 PM EST
    Pence: "The Trump Administration couldn't be more pleased" with an agreement on a $1 plus trillion speeding bill to keep the government running through September.
    Trump tweets:  " a good shut down" is what is needed in September"; he is "frustrated" by Democrats claiming victory over the government funding bill."

    To make sure Trump's base is sick of winning, he will need to through them some red meat, soon.  Which minority is in his sights?  My guess is an anti-gay executive order is in the works, masquerading as so called religious liberty.

    sorry about: (none / 0) (#8)
    by KeysDan on Tue May 02, 2017 at 04:11:49 PM EST
    (1) spending bill;  (2) throw.. red meat.