On 25 February, the House of Representatives passed a $410 billion omnibus spending bill for fiscal year (FY) 2009. The legislation is a compilation of nine appropriations bills that Congress did not pass last year and includes the budgets for almost all environment, energy, and science programs. Congress passed three other appropriations bills (Defense, Homeland Security, and disaster relief) last September in a continuing resolution, which funds the government until 6 March 2009.
The omnibus makes climate change a priority, by including $2.2 billion for climate change research, $232 million for addressing climate change, and $1.1 billion for developing renewable energy and improving energy efficiency.
In addition, the omnibus increases funding for many science agencies and programs, most notably:
-National Science Foundation: $6.5 billion ($362.9 million increase from 2008), including $230.0 million to research climate change, carbon cycles, land use, and impacts on ecosystems; $101.2 million for plant genome research; $691.8 million for education; and $133 million to stimulate cooperative research across the country.
-United States Geological Survey: $1.0 billion ($37.3 million increase from 2008), including $185.3 million for biological research; $10.0 million for the new National Global Warming and Wildlife Science Center; and $3.0 million to study geological and biological carbon sequestration.
-National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: $4.4 billion ($376.7 million increase from 2008), including $394.0 million for climate sensors on satellites, climate computer models, and climate data access; $26.5 million for ocean observation; $32.3 million for education; and $15.8 million for external research grants on harmful algal blooms, hypoxia, and regional ocean ecosystems.
-National Aeronautics and Space Administration: $17.8 billion ($380.5 million increase from 2008), including $1.3 billion for climate change research; $1.4 billion for earth science research; and $169.2 million for education.
-National Institutes of Health: $30.3 billion ($937.5 million increase from 2008), which will create 10,600 new research grants.
-Department of Energy Office of Science: $4.8 billion ($754.9 million increase from 2008), including $423.6 million for biological research and $177.9 million for climate change research.
The report language which accompanied the bill directs the National Science Foundation to “provide for a balanced program across all science disciplines.” Additionally, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would increase funding for external grants in future budget submissions.
Congress must pass spending legislation for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2009, which ends 30 September, by 6 March to prevent a federal government shutdown. The Senate is expected to take up the omnibus during the week starting 2 March.
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