Politics

Fine print of spending deal ‘still under negotiation’

Jonathan Strong Contributor
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Washington is busy anointing winners and losers in the 11th hour spending deal struck late Friday to avert government shutdown, but meanwhile the staffs of the House and Senate appropriations committees are busy at work negotiating the fine print.

“The agreement was on overall funding levels and some of the more controversial policy riders,” said Jennifer Hing, spokeswoman for House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, “the rest of the policy riders and funding levels for individual programs are still under negotiation.”

The issue is important because the House-passed spending bill, H.R. 1, included scores of policy riders – issues that remain unresolved even as the public views the deal with finality.

Hing said the committee staffs are “making progress” and hope to file legislative text reflecting the deal Monday night.

Among the policy riders on which we know were decided: National Public Radio and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting survived, funding for Obamacare survived, and Planned Parenthood survived, although Republicans get a guaranteed up or down vote on defunding that organization, America’s largest abortion provider, in the Senate.

Additionally, none of the dozens of riders curtailing strict new environmental regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency are included.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed the details above Saturday. However, the negotiations on the fine print are now outside of each party’s leader’s offices.

Included in the list of riders for which no public information is available, and thus are likely still under negotiation:

– A rider banning funding on President Obama’s numerous “czars.”

– Riders that would rescind unobligated money from Obama’s economic stimulus (promotional material for the deal indicates this was a Republican “win,” but no concrete details are available).

– The exact structure of the Obamacare consolation prize riders. Promotional material indicated that, for instance, Republicans would get a full “audit” of the waivers given to companies and unions but many details are still forthcoming.

– A rider banning foreign aid to Saudi Arabia.

– A rider ending subsidies to mohair farmers.