Congress continues to make progress in the process to approve twelve fiscal year (FY) 2010 appropriations bills. As of 31 July 2009, the House of Representatives has passed all twelve bills and the Senate has approved its own version of three bills relating to energy and water, homeland security, and the legislative branch.
The Senate passed the Energy and Water and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (HR 3183) on 29 July 2009. The bill would fund the Department of Energy, Army Corps of Engineers, and select programs in the Department of the Interior in FY 2010. The $34.3 billion spending plan includes $1 billion more than the version passed by the House two weeks prior. Funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science is comparable between the two chambers’ bills at approximately $4.9 billion, an increase of roughly $170 million over FY 2009. Notably, both bills would provide for the closure of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. The next step for the bill will be conference, where differences in the legislation passed by both chambers will be reconciled. Some of the key issues between the House and Senate bills are the amount of funding for new Army Corps projects, flood reduction on the Mississippi River, nuclear energy, and hydrogen vehicle research.
Congress has also made progress on the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (HR 3293). The bill would fund the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as several independent agencies, such as the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The House of Representatives passed their version of the bill on 24 July 2009. Included in the House bill is $31.3 billion for NIH, $942 million more than last year and $500 million more than President Obama requested. On 30 July 2009, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a more reserved budget for NIH at $30.8 billion. The IMLS, the primary source of federal support for museums and libraries in the United States, would be funded at $275.7 million in FY 2010 in the House bill, an increase of $848,000 over FY 2009. Details of funding for IMLS in the Senate bill are not yet available.
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