Although the fiscal year ended on September 30, to-date Congress has only completed 5 of the 12 annual appropriations bills. This week, Congress moved forward with a couple of important steps and it looks like they are now on track to complete the remaining 7 bills before the end of the year.
Yesterday evening, House and Senate appropriators met to consider a conference report. The report is an omnibus package that includes six of the fiscal year 2010 appropriations bills. It includes: (1) the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill (this is the bill that funds a number of cancer programs through NIH, CDC, and NCI); (2) the Commerce Justice Science Appropriations bill; (3) the Financial Services Appropriations bill; (4) the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill; (5) the Department of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill; and (6) the Transportation and Housing Appropriations bill. The bill text is available online along with the manager’s statement (this is the part of the bill that includes earmark funding).
The conference report includes nearly $450 billion in spending for fiscal year 2010, and could come to the floor for a vote in the House as early as tomorrow.
Although very large, this first conference report does not include the Department of Defense Appropriations bill. A second package will be needed expected to complete consideration of the defense bill before the current continuing resolution expires on December 18.
House and Senate appropriators are scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon to consider this second conference report that will include fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Defense. This second conference report is expected to include the funding C3 requested for a new peer reviewed cancer research program to focus on colorectal cancer research. In addition to funding for the Department of Defense, this second conference report is expected to include a jobs package using TARP money, an estate tax fix, an extension of the highway trust fund, and an increase of the debt limit.
The second appropriations conference report will be considered on the floor in the House next week.
The Senate will take up both conference reports after the House passes them. This timetable will allow Congress to send the bills to the President and wrap up consideration of all the fiscal year appropriations bills before the end of the year.