Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced today that the Senate has approved the Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill. The bill was previously approved by the House on February 25, and will need to be signed by the President before it can become law.
“This Omnibus bill is long overdue. Almost every single federal department and agency has been operating under a continuing resolution for the past six months – since October 1, 2008,” Senator Feinstein said. “It is also important to note that these bills were considered last year and are essentially unfinished business.
Without the funds included in this Omnibus bill, the federal government will be unable to cover the operating costs of critical agencies like the Army Corps of Engineers, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Peace Corps or the Postal Service.
I believe it’s vital to pass this bill in order to carry out the work of these departments, as well as critical projects in the states during this period of dramatic economic uncertainty. So I urge President Obama to sign this bill into law quickly.”
Currently, almost all federal departments and agencies have been operating under a Continuing Resolution for the past six months -- since the Fiscal Year 2009 began on October 1, 2008. This means that almost all federal funding has been frozen at FY’08 levels for nearly six months and no agency has been able to initiate any new programs.
Without the Omnibus bill, these agencies would be shut down or be forced to continue operations at the FY’08 levels until September 30, 2009, the end of Fiscal Year 2009.
To date, only three of the twelve annual appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2009 have been approved by Congress and signed into law: Defense, Homeland Security, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.
The Omnibus bill is a combination of the nine remaining appropriations bills that were considered last year and were carried over into this year.
These bills fund the following agencies, including:
- Agriculture: this bill funds the Department of Agriculture and food and drug safety programs at the Food and Drug Administration.
- Commerce-Justice-Science: this bill appropriates funds for the Departments of Commerce, Justice and national scientific agencies like National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Science Foundation.
- Energy and Water: this account funds the Department Energy (including nuclear weapons and nuclear energy), the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other water and hydroelectric power programs in the Department of Interior.
- Financial Services and General Government: this wide-ranging bill funds the Treasury Department, the Executive Office of the President, the Postal Service, the Small Business Administration, the District of Columbia, some judicial services, and most federal financial regulatory agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), among others.
- Interior and the Environment: this account includes the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Indian Health Service, and a number of other agencies, including the Smithsonian, the National Endowment for the Arts.
- Labor/Health/Education Appropriations: this bill includes the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. This funds critical services like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment insurance, job training, the National Institutes of Health, Head Start, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), and all education programs.
- Legislative Branch Appropriations: this bill funds the Senate, the House, the Library of Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and the Capitol Police.
- State and Foreign Operations Appropriations: this account includes the Department of State, the Peace Corps, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Trade and Development Agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other critical foreign economic, refugee, peacekeeping and military assistance programs.
- Transportation/Housing and Urban Development Appropriations: this bill funds the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This includes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), Amtrak, the Federal Housing Commission, the Office of Community Planning and Development, and the National Mortgage Association.
A complete public database of all of the programs and projects funded by the Omnibus bill is available online at: http://appropriations.house.gov/FY2009_consolidated.shtml.