Congress Approves FY 2015 Spending Bill

By Elizabeth Holland

The House and Senate have approved the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 (H.R. 83), a sweeping $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund most of the federal government through Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. The so-called “CRomnibus” – a combination Continuing Resolution (CR) and omnibus – authorizes all discretionary spending through September 30 with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security. Funding for that agency will expire on February 27, when Republicans will attempt to roll back President Obama’s recent Executive Order on immigration policy.

The total spending level in H.R. 83 honors last year’s Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, and also makes a number of important changes to federal law.  Legislative branch spending in H.R. 83 includes a slight increase from FY 2014, allocating $4.3 billion to agencies. Under the bill, the Government Printing Office will be re-named the Government Publishing Office “to acknowledge that the information needs of Congress, Federal agencies, and the public have evolved beyond print.” AALL has worked in support of legislation to change the agency’s name, S. 1947, throughout the year. The provision will also change the titles of the public printer and deputy public printer to “director” and “deputy director,” respectively, while replacing certain gender-specific terms in current law such as “he” and “his” with gender-neutral ones. GPO will receive FY 2014 levels for Congressional Printing and Binding (renamed “Congressional Publishing”) and Salaries and Expenses (renamed “Public Information Programs of the Superintendent of Documents”). The Revolving Fund level will increase from $8,064,000 in FY 2014 to $8,757,000. The Library of Congress will also see an increase of $11 million over 2014 levels, receiving $591 million total from the package.

AALL is pleased with the change to GPO’s name and the slight increases in funding for GPO and LC. However, we are disappointed that Congress has opted to push through a spending bill that was largely crafted in secret, and once again left lawmakers with limited time to sort through the 1,603 page bill. The president is expected to sign the bill early this week.

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