The 2004 Consolidated Appropriations bill was passed by the House on December 8, 2003 by a vote of 242 to 176. The Senate adopted the Conference Report on the 2004 Consolidated Appropriations bill on January 22 by a vote of 65 to 28. The President signed the Act on January 23, 2004.
The Consolidated Appropriations bill includes a 0.59% across-the-board reduction applicable to all 2004 domestic discretionary appropriations, including those in the Interior and Energy and Water Acts. This reduction is in addition to the 0.646% reduction contained in the Interior Act.
The Consolidated Appropriations bill also includes the following provisions specifically applicable to the Department:
- The $99 million provided in the 2004 Interior Act to repay fire borrowing in 2003 is exempted from the 0.646% across-the-board reduction in the Interior Act. (It is not exempted from the 0.59% ATB in the Consolidated bill.)
- The Secretary is given discretion as to how to spread the two across-the-board reductions within the Indian Land and Water Claim Settlements account. This discretion will allow full funding of settlements scheduled to complete in 2004.
- $100,000 is appropriated for establishment of an Office of Native Hawaiian Relations within the Office of the Secretary.
- A new Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge is established in Mississippi. Additionally, one of the units of the Yazoo NWR is redesignated as the Holt Collier NWR.
- The Secretary is authorized to pay expenses of transporting the remains and household effects of deceased employees hired under the local hire authority of the Alaska National Interests Lands Conservation Act. Such authority already exists for regular civil service employees.
- The Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation are authorized to lease a right-of-way for an interstate gas pipeline to the Northern Border Pipeline Company.
- The Secretary is authorized to acquire Fern Lake and its surrounding watershed in Kentucky and Tennessee for inclusion in the Cumberland Gap NHP. After acquisition, the Secretary is directed to convey to the city of Middlesboro, Kentucky title to Fern Lake (up to its normal operating level as a water supply for the city), subject to a scenic easement and a right of reversion.
- The statutory expiration of the Delaware and Lehigh Heritage Area Commission is extended until 2007.
- A technical amendment to the 2004 Interior Act clarifies the authority of the Secretary to give grants to the Shenandoah Battlefield Foundation for protection of Civil War sites in the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District.
- Another technical amendment clarifies the effect of redesignation of the Congaree Swamp National Monument as the Congaree National Park.
- The Federal Aviation Administration is directed to ensure operation of the airfield at Midway Atoll. Other Federal agencies are directed to transfer to the FAA, with the approval of OMB, not to exceed $6 million from funds made available in the Consolidated Act or any other Act for purposes of operating the airport.
- An amendment to the Oklahoma City National Memorial Act transfers management of the national memorial to the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation.