At Last: FY 2009 Budget Cycle Complete

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Publication date: 
12 March 2009

After operating with essentially flat budgets for almost six months after the start of FY 2009 last October 1, most federal departments and agencies received their new budgets yesterday. President Obama signed the 218, 448 word Omnibus Appropriations Act for 2009. As this bill became law, the $410 billion in the legislation started flowing to all of those departments and agencies whose appropriations bills were stalled because of an impasse with former President Bush.

Passage of the omnibus bill took more time, and was more difficult, than first expected. After last November’s election, some optimistic congressional leaders predicted that this bill would be waiting for the new president when he took office. That did not happen, in part because the congressional leadership decided to concentrate on the passage of the economic stimulus bill.

After that bill was passed, Senate leaders found that they lacked the necessary sixty votes to cut off floor debate and allow the omnibus bill to come up for a vote. There was objection to the overall level of spending in the bill, and to what has been calculated to be more than 8,500 earmarks worth $7.7 billion. (According to the Washington Post, $4.6 billion of these earmarks were sponsored by Democrats; $3.1 billion by Republicans.) After several days of debate and consideration on the Senate floor of amendments, none of which were successful, the Senate passed H.R. 1105 by a voice vote on March 10. The bill was signed into law yesterday.

As previously reported, H.R. 1105 provides significant increases in many science budgets. Below is a summary of these changes. Readers wishing additional detail may consult the cited issues of FYI. A printed version of the all-important Explanatory Statement accompanying this bill has been printed in the Congressional Record. To access this Statement, see this site. In the text at the top of this page see “Note” where it provides the two sections of the Congressional Record having this Statement. It will take a bit of searching in the “table of contents” on the first page of each of the sections of the Statement to find a desired heading with a link to the specific page of the Explanatory Statement.

The following is a recap of major funding changes as compared to FY 2008:

Department of Energy:

Office of Science: Up 18.8% to $4.8 billion
(Further detail)

National Science Foundation:

Up 5.9% to $6.5 billion
Research and Related Activities: Up 7.0% to $5.2 billion
(Further detail)


National Institute of Standards and Technology:

Up 8.4% to $819 million
Scientific and Technical Research and Services: Up 7.1% to $472 million
(Further detail)


Up 2.2% to $17.8 billion
Science: Down 4.3% to $4.5 billion
Aeronautics: Down 2.3% to $500 million
Exploration: Up 11.5% to $3.5 billion
Space Operations: Up 4.3% to $5.8 billion
Education: Up 15.3% to $169.2 million
(Further detail)

U.S. Geological Survey:

Up 3.7% to $1.0 billion
(Further detail)

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering:

Up 2.8% to $308.2 million
(Further detail)

Department of Education - Math and Science Partnerships:

Level funding at $179.0 million
(Further detail)

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