Federal Relations

February 25, 2009

House Clears FY09 Omnibus

Today on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives approved a $410 billion omnibus spending bill for the remainder of fiscal year ‘09.  It was not without some controversy, with Republican leaders urging President Obama to veto the bill. House Members voted 245-178 for the package, which includes significant increases in spending on a range of domestic programs, including education, health care, and energy.  Additionally, the bill contains funding for a handful of UW-specific projects, including:

$469,000 for the Center for International Trade in Forest Products or CINTRAFOR (College of Forestry)

The USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) account within the Department of Agriculture supports CINTRAFOR at UW and the International Marketing Program for Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPPACT) program at Washington State University.  The funds will be split between the two universities.

$475,750 for Biofuels Research and Development Infrastructure (College of Forestry)

This funding will likely support the purchase of a major piece of equipment necessary to convert biomass into fuel.

$333,000 for the UW Bothell Nursing Faculty Consortium

This funding was requested to continue the UW’s efforts to increase the number of master’s prepared nursing faculty available to teach in Washington’s community and technical colleges.

The bill, which now goes to the Senate, also prevents a cost-of-living increase for Members of Congress.  The Senate will begin debate on the bill this week but it is not likely that they will vote until sometime next week.  President Obama is expected to sign the bill.