Congress Finally Passes FY ’09 Omnibus Spending Bill

On March 11, 2009, President Obama signed into law the omnibus fiscal year (FY) 2009 budget legislation (H.R. 1105) which provides funding for federal agencies covered under the nine appropriations bills left unfinished by the last Congress. The omnibus package finalizes spending levels for the current fiscal year that began on October 1, 2008. (see related stories on budgets for individual agencies and programs of interest to the historical and archival communities).

The total for the nine appropriations bills is only $31 billion more than FY ’08. This represents about an 8 percent increase.

The House of Representatives had passed the bill on February 25, 2009, by a vote of 245-178. Senate Republicans slowed consideration of the bill to voice concerns about the overall level of funding and earmarks. However, the Senate passed the bill by voice vote on March 10 after voting down a number of Republican amendments dealing with earmarks.

Despite his campaign promises opposing earmarks, President Obama signed the bill. However, he proposed new policies restricting earmarks in the FY 2010 budget that is expected to be released by the Administration in April.

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