The appropriations bills that fund the Departments of Agriculture and Energy in fiscal year (FY) 2010 have advanced through Congress in recent weeks. On 9 July 2009, the House passed the $22.9 billion Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. The bill, HR 2997, passed on a 266-160 vote. The bill exceeds current spending levels by 11 percent. The measure includes $210 million for competitive research grants through the Agriculture and Food Research Institute (AFRI), a $9 million increase over 2009 spending levels. The bill also includes $3.8 million for graduate fellowship grants. An amendment package from Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), chairwoman of the Agriculture appropriations subcommittee, was also approved that would increase spending on pollinator and organic research. One of the provisions adds $5 million for research on colony collapse disorder, and another directs USDA’s inspector general to audit the department’s organic certification program.
The Senate version of the bill was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on 7 July 2009. The bill recommends $23.7 billion in discretionary funding for FY 2010. The Senate version outlines similar funding levels as the House bill for conservation and research, but would more than double spending for a rural renewable energy program. The Senate bill must now be considered by the full Senate.
On 17 July 2009, the $3.3 billion FY 2010 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill was overwhelming passed by the House, with a vote of 320 to 97. The bill, HR 3183, provides funds for the Department of Energy (DOE) ($26.9 billion), the Army Corps of Engineers ($5.5 billion), the Department of Interior’s water programs ($1.1 billion), as well as several independent agencies. Included with the bill is an amendment that would increase, from 6 to 7 percent, the amount that DOE labs can spend on laboratory directed research and development. It also includes two water amendments that would transfer funds among agencies to provide funding for the Chesapeake Bay Oyster and California Bay-Delta Restoration programs. The Office of Science is set to receive $4.9 billion, $171 million above FY 2009 levels. A total of $2.4 billion is directed towards applied research, including biological and environmental research. The Senate’s $3.4 billion version of the bill has yet to head to the floor.
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