Posted: 2:26 am Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015
By Jamie Dupree
When you take a deep dive into the giant, year-end measure approved by Congress last Friday that will fund the operations of the federal government for the rest of this fiscal year, the details of that “Omnibus” bill reveal hundreds of spending restrictions that will be slapped on the Executive Branch in terms of how your tax dollars are spent.
“None of the funds,” is the phrase to look for in these bills, where the Congress can spell out how money cannot be spent by the federal government – the “Power of the Purse.”
The spending restrictions start on page 28 of the bill, covering funding in the Department of Agriculture, where the bill says, “none of the funds available to the Farm Service Agency shall be used to close Farm Service Agency county offices.”
The restrictions include everything imaginable, even a specific provision that says government credit cards can’t be used to pay for “topless or nude entertainers.”
Let’s take a look at some of the 494 instances where the bill spells out spending limits in the Omnibus:
If you need some holiday break reading, you can find the bill here.
+ Page 76 – “None of the funds” can go to pay for “first-class travel” by workers at the Agriculture Department.
+ Page 85 – “None of the funds” can be used by the Executive Branch “to produce any pre-packaged news story intended for distribution in the U.S., unless there is a clear notice that the feds produced the material.
+ Page 89 – “None of the funds” can be used to buy Chinese chicken for use in the federal school lunch program
+ Page 169 – “None of the funds” can be used to pay for an abortion, except where the life of the mother is endangered, or in the case of rape or incest (this is known as the Hyde language.)
+ Page 172 – “None of the funds” may be used “by Federal prisons to purchase cable television services, or to rent or purchase audiovisual or electronic media or equipment used primarily for recreational purposes.”
+ Page 201 – “None of the funds” can be used to promote the sale or export of tobacco or tobacco products
+ Page 206 – “None of the funds made available in this Act shall be used in any way whatsoever to support or justify the use of torture by any official or contract employee of the United States Government.”
+ Page 218 – “None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to maintain or establish a computer network unless such network blocks the viewing, downloading, and exchanging of pornography.”
+ Page 221 – “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to relinquish the responsibility of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, during fiscal year 2016, with respect to Internet domain name system functions”
+ Page 274 – “None of the funds in this Act may be available for the purchase by the Department of Defense (and its departments and agencies) of welded shipboard anchor and mooring chain 4 inches in diameter and under unless the anchor and mooring chain are manufactured in the United States from components which are substantially manufactured in the United States”
+ Page 280 – “None of the funds appropriated or made available in this Act shall be used to procure carbon, alloy, or armor steel plate for use in any Government-owned facility or property under the control of the Department of Defense which were not melted and rolled in the United States or Canada”
+ Page 317 – “None of the funds appropriated or made available in this Act shall be used to reduce or disestablish the operation of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron of the Air Force Reserve, if such action would reduce the WC–130 Weather Reconnaissance mission below the levels funded in this Act”
+ Page 337 – “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to fund the performance of a flight demonstration team at a location outside of the United States: Provided, That this prohibition applies only if a performance of a flight demonstration team at a location within the United States was canceled during the current fiscal year due to insufficient funding.”
+ Page 338 – “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to divest or retire, or to prepare to divest
21 or retire, KC–10 aircraft.”
+ Page 344 – “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used for Government Travel Charge Card expenses by military or civilian personnel of the Department of Defense for gaming, or for entertainment that includes topless or nude entertainers or participants, as prohibited by Department of Defense FMR, Volume 9, Chapter 3 and Department of Defense Instruction 1015.10 (enclosure 3, 14a and 14b).
+ Page 397 – “None of the funds made available in this title may be used for any acquisition that is not consistent with 48 CFR 225.7007”
+ Page 436 – “None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to implement or enforce section 430.32(x) of title 10, Code of Federal Regulations”
+ Page 463 – “None of the funds made available to the Internal Revenue Service by this Act may be used to make a video unless the Service-Wide Video Editorial Board determines in advance that making the video is appropriate, taking into account the cost, topic, tone, and purpose of the video.”
Page 464 – “None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Internal Revenue Service to target groups for regulatory scrutiny based on their ideological beliefs”
Page 468 – “None of the funds appropriated in this Act or otherwise available to the Department of the Treasury or the Bureau of Engraving and Printing may be used to redesign the $1 Federal Reserve note”
+ Page 585 – “None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be used to enter into or renew a contract which includes a provision providing prescription drug coverage, except where the contract also includes a provision for contraceptive coverage.”
+ Page 639 – “none of the funds made available in this Act may be used for any recruiting or hiring of personnel into the Transportation Security Administration that would cause the agency to exceed a staffing level of 45,000 full-time equivalent screeners”
+ Page 684 – “None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for planning, testing, piloting, or developing a national identification card”
+ Page 691 – “None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to provide funding for the position of Public Advocate, or a successor position, within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
+ Page 836 – “None of the funds made available by this or any other Act may be used to regulate the lead content of ammunition, ammunition components, or fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act (15 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.) or any other law.”
+ Page 936 – “None of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control.”
+ Page 992 – “none of the funds made available to CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting) by this Act shall be used to pay for receptions, parties, or similar forms of entertainment for Government officials or employees”
+ Page 1033 – “None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Chief Administrative Officer of the House of Representatives to make any payments from any Members’ Representational Allowance for the leasing of a vehicle, excluding mobile district offices, in an aggregate amount that exceeds $1,000 for the vehicle in any month.”
+ Page 1060 – “Except as provided in subsection (b), none of the funds made available to the Architect of the Capitol in this Act may be used to eliminate or restrict guided tours of the United States Capitol which are led by employees and interns of offices of Members of Congress and other offices of the House of Representatives and Senate.”
+ Page 1084 – “None of the funds made available in this title may be obligated or expended for planning and design and construction of projects at Arlington National Cemetery.”
+ Page 1090 – “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to carry out the closure or transfer of the United States Naval Station, Guanta´namo Bay, Cuba.”
+ Page 1306 – “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to provide equipment, technical support, consulting services, or any other form of assistance to the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation.”
+ Page 1388 – “None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for the design, renovation, or construction of the United Nations Headquarters in New York.”
+ Page 1520 – “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to obligate or award funds for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Roadside Survey.”
+ Page 1527 – “None of the funds provided to the National Railroad Passenger Corporation may be used to fund any overtime costs in excess of $35,000 for any individual employee”
+ Page 1546 – “None of the funds in this Act shall be available for salaries and expenses of more than 110 political and Presidential appointees in the Department of Transportation”
+ Page 1656 – “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of the 5th or 14th Amendment to the Constitution or title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.