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Congress Approves Omnibus Spending Bill

 

Shortly after midnight, Congress approved a $1.3 trillion spending bill which would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year on September 30. The bill includes funding for: fencing on the U.S. border with Mexico; combatting opioid addiction; building roads and strengthens background checks for guns.

Of significance for marketers, the bill includes:

  • $92 million for the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) fund which matches previous funding levels.
  • A $250 million funding increase for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) from $3.39 billion to $3.64 billion.
  • A $23 million funding increase for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) from $228 million to $251 million.
  • A $4.5 billion funding decrease for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) from $78.5 billion to $74 billion.
  • A $29 million funding increase for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) from $223 million to $252 million.
  • A 10-million-barrel sale from the SPR through fiscal years 2020 and 2021.
  • A funding level of $6.5 million for the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, which remains unchanged from the previous year.

Unfortunately, several provisions did not make the cut including federal preemption of state meal and rest break requirements provision for motor carriers, a provision that would have corrected a mistake in Section 168 of the new tax law that may cause retailers to lose eligibility for bonus depreciation and a provision that would have delayed implementation of EPA's revised ozone standard for 10 years from 2015 to 2025.

Congress will eventually have to fund the government again before the September 30th deadline. It is likely that Congress will pass another short-term continuing resolution (CR) through the mid-term elections and then return during a lame-duck session to approve a government spending bill.

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