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Congress Passes Continuing Resolution That Funds Government Programs Through October 31, 2009

Legislative Update
September 30, 2009

Late today, the Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund government programs through October 31, 2009, since Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 begins on October 1, 2009, and none of the 12 FY2010 appropriations bills had yet been finalized. The CR, which was attached to the FY 2010 Legislative Branch appropriations bill (S.1294/H.R. 2918), funds programs at the FY2009 level, except for Veterans Administration (VA) healthcare and the Census Bureau. The Legislative Branch appropriations bill is the first of the 12 FY2010 appropriations bills to be sent to the President. Congress essentially has another month to complete the remaining bills. The House has passed all of its bills, while the Senate has only passed six. Congress will dispense with the usual Columbus Day recess week to focus on completing the FY2010 appropriations process.

Regarding vision research funding:

  • Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved their respective FY2010 appropriations bills for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS), which include funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Eye Institute (NEI). The House bill, H.R. 3293, was passed by the House on July 24 and would fund the NIH at $30.97 billion, an increase of $670 million, or 3.1 percent, over the FY2009 level, and the NEI at $713.1 million, an increase of $24.6 million, or 3.57 percent, over 2009. The Senate has not yet taken up its bill, which funds the NIH at $30.8 billion, an increase of $500 million, or 1.4 percent, over 2009, and the NEI at $700.2 million, an increase of $11.7 million, or 1.7 percent, over FY2009. The Senate may not pass a stand-alone LHHS bill, but rather conference with the House on a version that gets passed as part of an omnibus bill.

  • On July 30, the House passed its FY2010 Defense appropriations bill (H.R. 3326), which maintains the dedicated Peer Reviewed Medical Research-Vision line item and funds it at $5 million, an increase of $1 million or 25 percent over FY2009. The Senate has not yet taken up its bill, which was approved on September 10 by the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee absent language regarding PRMR-Vision. NAEVR is meeting with its House defense-related vision research champions to ensure that the line item is contained in a conference bill.