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In February 2008, President Bush proposed total research and development (R&D) funding of $147.0 billion in his FY2009 budget request to Congress, a $3.9 billion (2.7%) increase over the estimated FY2008 level of $143.1 billion. President Bush’s request included $29.3 billion for basic research, up $847 million (3.0%) from FY2008; $27.1 billion for applied research, down $1.0 billion (-3.6%); $84.0 billion for development, up 1.6 billion (1.9%); and $6.5 billion for R&D facilities and equipment, up $2.5 billion (61.7%).
In the absence of final action on the regular FY2009 appropriations bills, Congress passed H.R. 2638 (110th Congress), the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 110-329) which President Bush signed on September 30, 2008. This act provides FY2009 appropriations for the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; continued funding for agencies not covered under these provisions at their FY2008 funding levels through March 6, 2009; and supplemental funding for disaster relief. The uncompleted regular appropriations bills considered by the 110th Congress expired with the beginning of the 111th Congress.
On February 23, 2009, H.R. 1105, the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-8), which provides specific FY2009 appropriations for the agencies covered under the continuing appropriations provisions of P.L. 110-329, was introduced in the House and passed two days later. With the Omnibus bill under consideration in the Senate, on March 6 Congress passed and President Obama signed H.J.Res. 38 (P.L. 111-6), extending the continuing appropriations provisions of P.L. 110-329 through March 11, 2009. On March 10, the Senate passed H.R. 1105 without amendment. President Obama signed the act on March 11.
Additional funding for research and development was provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1), often referred to informally as “the stimulus bill.” H.R. 1 was passed by the House and Senate on February 13, and signed into law (P.L. 111-5) by President Obama on February 17. The act includes approximately $22.7 billion for R&D, facilities, equipment and related activities.
For the past two fiscal years, federal R&D funding and execution has been affected by mechanisms used to complete the annual appropriations process—the year-long continuing resolution for FY2007 (P.L. 110-5) and the combining of 11 appropriations bills into the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 for FY2008 (P.L. 110-161). For example, FY2008 R&D funding for some agencies and programs was below the level requested by President Bush and passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. Completion of appropriations after the beginning of each fiscal year also resulted in delays or cancellation of planned R&D and equipment acquisition.
While the annual budget requests of incumbent Presidents are usually delivered to Congress in early February for the next fiscal year, the change of presidential administrations delayed the initial release of President Obama’s FY2010 budget until February 26, 2009. The director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Peter R. Orzag, has testified that a more detailed version of the budget will be released in the spring.