After nearly a week of debate, the Senate passed a spending bill for fiscal year (FY) 2009 on 10 March. Although more than 20 amendments were debated and voted on in the Senate, the legislation emerged unchanged from the version that the House of Representatives passed on 25 February. President Obama signed the bill into law on 11 March, just hours before the deadline set in the Continuing Resolution (CR) passed by Congress the previous week. The CR provided stop-gap funding to federal programs until the appropriations legislation was completed.

Passage of this final FY 2009 spending measure provides funding for all non-defense and homeland security agencies until 30 September 2009. The bill includes $6.5 billion for National Science Foundation, $1.0 billion for U.S. Geological Survey, $4.4 billion for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), $7.8 billion for NASA, and $30.3 billion for National Institutes of Health.

Also included in the legislation was language that allows for the withdrawal of two controversial endangered species rules finalized by the Bush Administration in December 2008. One rule limited the requirements for federal agencies to consult agency scientists in the Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA about the impacts of federal actions on listed species (AIBS opposed the proposed rule change, please see http://www.aibs.org/position-statements/20080819aibssubmits_co.html). The other rule limited protections for polar bears and prohibited the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions as a means of saving melting polar bear habitat. Both rules may now be revoked by the Obama Administration without a public comment period.

For more information on science funding in 2009, please see the last AIBS Public Policy Report at (http://www.aibs.org/public-policy-reports/20090302.html#009885).

 


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