February 11, 2009

House and Senate Reach Agreement on Recovery Package

By jnurse

House and Senate negotiatiors, in collaboration with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, worked throughout Tuesday night and well into Wednesday to reach an agreement on a $789 billion economic recovery package. The proposed bill is less than the figures that emerged from the House and Senate. As of late Wednesday afternoon, specific details on the final package remained unclear outside of the closed doors of Congress. However, it appears that the House leadership was successful in restoring some of the funds — eliminated in the Senate — for school infrastructure and a State Fiscal Stabilization Fund.

Early (unconfirmed) reports included the following funding of interest to the higher education community: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, $600 million for facilities and equipment; Department of Energy Office of Science, $1.6 billion for basic energy sciences; National Science Foundation, $100 million for the university research instrumentation program, $400 million for national labs, $2.5 billion for highly-rated peer reviewed proposals; National Aeronautics and Space Administration, $1 billion for equipment and instruments; $10 billion for the National Institutes of Health; $3 billion for higher education construction; $15.64 billion for Pell Grants; and $44 billion for education block grants to governors. The Office of Federal Relations will provide confirmed figures for the economic recovery package when they become unavailable.

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