BUDGET BULLETIN: 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill Epilogue

WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Budget Committee today released its January 11, 2016, Budget Bulletin focused on the 2016 omnibus spending bill. The Budget Bulletin provides regular expert articles by Senate Budget Committee analysts on the issues before Congress relating to the budget, deficits, debt, and the economy.

Read the full Senate Budget Bulletin here.

Excerpts follow:

Use of the Omnibus: Combining Appropriations to Resolve Impasses

Recent fiscal years have seen a variety of omnibus permutations. Congress approved 2009 and 2012 spending through two separate omnibus packages per year, and 2010 featured a six-bill omnibus. The 2014 Omnibus (P.L. 113-76) and 2016 omnibus (P.L. 114-113) contained all 12 spending bills, while the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (P.L. 113-235) for 2015 was a combination omnibus and continuing resolution.

Path to the 2016 Omnibus

A lack of agreement over funding levels in the budget resolution led to congressional passage of the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2016 (P.L. 114-53), which provided funding through December 11, 2015. This impasse was resolved by increasing spending caps through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA, P.L. 114-74), with $50 billion in new spending equally divided between defense and non-defense.

Significant 2016 Omnibus Riders

  • Requires the Office of Management and Budget to provide a cost/benefit analysis of financially significant executive orders and memoranda.
  • Extends the Internet Tax Freedom Act (which bars federal, state, and local taxes on Internet access services and commerce) by a year, to October 1, 2016.
  • Alters the H-2B visa program. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this will result in a net increase of 8,000 H-2B visas per year.
  • Includes a prohibition on funds that would be used to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
  • Addresses the sharing of intelligence gathered online and the prosecution of individuals for certain offenses.
  • Repeals the federal prohibition on oil exports. The first shipment of domestically produced oil left Corpus Christi on December 31st.
  • Places restrictions in the visa waiver program for those who travel to Iraq or Syria.
  • Reauthorizes the James Zadroga 9/11 health and compensation funds.
  • Delays provisions from the Affordable Care Act, including a two year delay on the tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans, aka the “Cadillac tax,” and a delay on certain fees on health insurance providers.
  • Extends several green energy incentive programs.
  • Alters a number of tax provisions by extending or making them permanent. Newly permanent items include the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit, deductions for state and local taxes and charitable giving, business deductions for research and development, small business expensing of certain capital purchases, and deferring business taxes on income earned overseas to prevent double taxation.


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