Government Relations Update

Trick or Treat? Fiscal Year 2010 Funding Decisions Postponed Until Halloween

As Fiscal Year 2009 ended, Congress had made little progress on passing the appropriations bills that fund the federal government.

By Karen Studwell

As Fiscal Year 2009 came to a close at the end of September, the House and Senate had made little progress on passing the twelve appropriations bills that fund the federal government, including those that fund the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. To sustain funding for the federal government, both the House and Senate passed a Continuing Resolution, which provides flat funding for most federal programs, but expires on October 31st, 2009. During the month of October, House and Senate staff will continue to work out the differences between each of their respective appropriations bills individually. Given the focus on health care reform legislation, it may be difficult to pass each of these appropriations bills separately, making an omnibus bill likely. An omnibus bill would combine all the outstanding funding bills together in one bill and would be passed more quickly and with less debate than if Congress passed them individually.

APA’s Science GRO staff are paying close attention to the deliberations over the FY2010 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill. While the House version included $500 million more for NIH than the version approved by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, the House version also included an amendment sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) that would rescind funding for three peer-reviewed research projects funded by the NIH. The language must be removed by the conference committee to preserve funding for these projects. In October, APA joined with nearly fifty other scientific organizations in signing a letter from the Coalition to Protect Research, requesting the conferees to support scientific integrity and remove the amendment language from the final legislation.