The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research

House, Senate Pass FY2010 Budget Resolutions

Legislative Update
April 3, 2009

Late in the evening of April 2, both the House and Senate passed their FY2010 Budget Resolutions, their final major legislative action before adjourning for the Spring district work period. They were working off a budget blueprint submitted by President Obama, which provided only top-line spending priorities.

The House bill, H. Con Res. 85, passed by a vote of 233-196, laying the groundwork for initiatives called for by President Obama. The $3.6 trillion bill was opposed by all Republicans along with 20 Democrats. The House bill projects a FY2010 deficit of $1.2 trillion, although it foresees the deficit being reduced by half, to $598 billion, in five years. Before final passage the House rejected four alternative budgets, two offered by Democrats and two by Republicans. The main GOP alternative would have cut deeply into the President’s spending levels for domestic programs such as education, parks and transportation, while calling for additional tax cuts. Republicans said their alternative would have spent $4.8 trillion less than Obama’s budget over 10 years, with significantly lower deficits.

The Senate passed its version, S. Con. Res. 13, by a vote of 55-43. Two Democratic Senators joined with the Republicans in opposition. The Senate bill provides for $3.5 trillion in FY2010 spending, also with a projected deficit of $1.2 trillion in FY2010, dropping to $508 billion by FY2014. The Senate bill also preserves the President’s spending priorities in Energy, Education and Health Care, while cutting taxes on the nation’s middle class by an estimated $825 billion over the 5 year plan.

The Senate had earlier defeated an alternative budget resolution by Sen. John McCain, 60-38. McCain’s alternative would have restricted any rise in nondefense discretionary funding to the inflation rate.

Both the House and Senate made significant cuts in the President’s $3.6 trillion budget, which had projected a FY2013 deficit of $749 billion. This was done largely by rejecting his call for more funding for banking industry bailouts, along with allowing some of his tax cuts to expire in 2011.

Last week, in testimony before the House Appropriations Labor HHS Subcommittee, Acting NIH Director Dr. Raynard Kington stated that the President’s budget would increase funding for medical research, especially on cancer and autism.