|Angela Godby, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Federal Relations for the University of Texas System.|
When Congress adjourned for its annual summer recess, only one of 12 fiscal year 2009 (FY09) appropriations bills had passed the House of Representatives and none of the bills had passed the Senate. The new fiscal year began October 1, 2008. The bill funding the Department of Defense is likely to be the only other appropriations bill passed by Congress this fall. All other federal agencies are expected to be funded under a continuing resolution until next spring. A continuing resolution operates the federal programs at the same level of funding as the previous year. While the FY09 process is stalled, Congress is considering an additional supplemental spending bill for FY 08 On July 30, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Robert Byrd (D-WV) released details of a $24.1 billion supplemental spending measure he hopes to take to the Senate floor this fall. Chairman Byrd's proposal is being described as a "stimulus supplemental" that is aimed at providing funding for infrastructure projects, economic recovery measures and natural disaster relief programs. The Senate's new supplemental spending plan includes an additional $500 million for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also has expressed interest in enacting companion legislation in the House prior to Congress adjourning this year. President Bush and congressional Republicans have been less receptive to the idea of a second supplemental package for FY08. Please continue to contact your legislators to express support for increased NIH funding - an additional $500 million in FY 08 and a 6.6% increase in FY09. You can find more information about how to contact Congress by visiting www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.
News on the Hill keeps members current with the legislation in Washington, DC. This column is written by Angela Godby, affected with lamellar/CIE.
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