Federal Relations

Obama’s FY11 Proposal — Details and Leaks

Budget Tracker  at CQ.com is keeping track of the details emerging on the fiscal 2011 budget request from the Obama administration, as well as reports seemingly based on leaks, and requests. The President’s budget will be submitted to Congress on Monday, February 1st.  The following are a few of the details that are beginning to emerge that may have some implications for the UW or the State of Washington.

“Race to the Top” Education Funding: On January 19th, the President announced he will request $1.35 billion for his “Race to the Top” education reform program, which was created last year using about $4.35 billion in economic stimulus funding. Obama also said that program funding would be available not just to states, but also to “local school districts that are also committed to change”. Stimulus program funding was intended to be temporary, and it was unclear whether the new funding would be added to the Education Department‘s budget or offset. Obama said that the competitive and innovative aspects of the program will also be apparent in other parts of his fiscal 2011 budget.

Transportation Funding: On January 14th, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the Obama administration is working on a multi-year transportation bill that will cost between $400 billion to $500 billion, and that the administration’s transportation priorities will be unveiled as part of the fiscal 2011 budget. Highway and transit funding, including research funding, is currently operating under temporary extensions because Congress has been unable to agree upon a new multi-year funding mechanism. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee drafted its own $450 billion six-year plan last year and seems intent on pushing that bill forward.  So far the Senate and the White House have not agreed on a path forward but most pundits speculate that reauthorization will wait until after the November 2010 elections. 

Everglades Restoration: Nancy Sutley, Chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, recently indicated that Everglades projects may fare well in FY11, even in a budget year that will be marked by especially fierce battles for funding. She recently told reporters in Florida that “[w]hen the 2011 budget comes out, I think you’ll see a continued commitment not only to the Everglades but other ecosystem restoration projects.”  Other ecosystem restoration projects may include funding for the Puget Sound.

NASA:  Some media outlets are reporting that NASA’s budget will be a billion-dollar increase in the President’s FY11 budget to help fund the International Space Station through 2020.  However, the shuttle program may not be extended.