The Budget Deal’s Fee Hikes and Policy Changes (Updated)
Updated 12:35 a.m. Dec. 11 | Budget negotiators released legislative text of Tuesday’s agreement shortly after midnight Wednesday, giving members and staff on both sides of the Capitol time to review details of the legislative plan.
It packages together changes to mandatory spending and an assortment of fees with a fiscal 2014 budget resolution and provisions for setting levels for fiscal 2015.
Technically an amendment to an old joint resolution, the bill text provides more details on a number of provisions, including a streamlining of airport security fees that will result in increases for some passengers. Using the “shell” of the old measure has some time-saving procedural advantages in both the House and Senate.
The transportation provision was one quick takeaway from a summary of the budget blueprint announced by House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash. But even before the bill text appeared online, some members in both chambers from expressing opposition based on top-line numbers alone.
Several provisions could generate significant attention beyond a smaller-than-rumored increase in contributions by federal employees to their pension funds.
For instance, the bill would increase fees for aviation security through the Transportation Security Administration, while making collection more straightforward. Under the bill, each one-way trip will have a $5.60 fee, rather than using a more complex system of charging by flight segments.
Some of the money collected would go to the Treasury.
The bill also includes language requiring the TSA to maintain the practice of monitoring the exit areas from the so-called “sterile” portion of 155 airports.
House Republicans previously voted to endorse revisions to the way the TSA charges fees in their chamber’s fiscal 2014 budget resolution.
The pension fees, TSA fees and some similar provisions could be what Sen. Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio was alluding to when he was among the first out of the gate expressing opposition to the blueprint.
“We need a government with less debt and an economy with more good paying jobs, and this budget fails to accomplish both goals, making it harder for more Americans to achieve the American Dream,” Rubio said. “Instead, this budget continues Washington’s irresponsible budgeting decisions by spending more money than the government takes in and placing additional financial burdens on everyday Americans.”
There are also number of provisions related to the oil and gas industry and premium increases for pension guarantees made through the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation for private-sector pension plans.