Federal Relations

June 19, 2009

House Moving Through FY10 Appropriations Bills

**UPDATE** On June 18th, the House of Representatives approved the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Bill and the House Appropriations Committee approved the Interior-Environment Appropriations Bill.

Congress is currently focused on a war supplemental spending bill, health care reform, energy/climate change, and to a lesser degree student aid reform. However, the FY10 appropriations bills are moving forward in the House of Representatives. Twelve appropriations bills fund the function of the federal government, with often unrelated agencies bundled into a single spending bill. On Tuesday, the full House Appropriations Committees cleared the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations bill after subcommittee passage late last week. CJS funds some agencies critical to higher education, such as NASA and NSF. The Interior-Environment Subcommittee on Appropriations, chaired by our own Norm Dicks, passed its bill yesterday. The bill provides funding for important agencies such as the NEH, NEA and EPA. Up next this week is the Agriculture appropriations bill. Subcommittee and full committee mark ups will continue in the House through July 21st. The Senate schedule is unclear at this time.

After a bill is marked up in subcommittee it is then considered by the full Appropriations Committee, and then the full chamber. Each chamber produces a bill and the differences are worked out by conferees from both chambers, before moving to final passage and signature by the President.

House and Senate leaders say they hope to approve each appropriations bill prior to the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1.  However, given President Obama’s active agenda, it remains possible that all of the bills will be rolled into an omnibus package at the end of the fiscal year and/or that a short-term continuing resolution (temporary funding mechanism) will be necessary -both of which we have in seen in recent years past.

Overview: FY10 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Bill

CJS Highlights

  • $6.9 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF), $446 million above the current FY2009 level and $108 billion below the Administration request.
  • $114.29 million for the NSF Major Research Equipment and Facilities account, $3 million below the President’s request.
  • $18.2 billion for NASA, $483 million above the current level and$483 million below the request.
  • $781 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), $57.5 million below FY2009 levels and $65 million below the Administration request. Within NIST, the bill would fund the Technology Innovation Program at $70 million.
  • NOAA would be funded at $4.6 billion, $238 million above the current level and $129 million above the request.

Overview: FY10 Interior-Environment Appropriations Bill

Interior-Environment Highlights

  • $170 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which is $15 million above FY09 funding.  The measure provides the same budget level and increase for the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • $232 million, $39 million above 2008, for programs to address global climate change. This includes: $16 million to implement the Energy Independence and Security Act, including $10 million to meet its requirement that the U.S. produce 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022; and $3 million for carbon sequestration research (such as pumping emissions from coal power plants underground) at the US Geological Survey; $50 million for EPA’s Energy Star program which saves consumers $14 billion a year in energy costs by letting them know appliances’ energy efficiency; $10 million for new grants at EPA to encourage local communities to find ways to cut their greenhouse gas emissions; $6.5 million to continue development of a Greenhouse Gas Registry, a first step in controlling greenhouse gasses; and $68 million for priority climate change research at the US Geological Survey.
  • $4 million for the UW led Puget Sound Ecosystem Research Initiative