On December 26, 2007, President Bush signed into law an omnibus funding package (H.R. 2764) that incorporates the eleven fiscal year 2008 appropriations bills for non-Defense Department agencies. The overall total for the bill is $555 billion. Congress passed the bill on December 19.

Here is a summary of FY ’08 funding for the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian’s funding is under the jurisdiction of the House and Senate Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations subcommittees. Please note that for comparison purposes, the FY ’07 budget number will be included in parentheses after this year’s amount. In addition, report language from the House and Senate Appropriations Committee will be added where appropriate.

Total–$693 million ($634.9 million)
Salaries and Expenses–$571 million ($536 million)
Facilities Capital–$107 million ($98.6 million)

The bill also includes $15 million to establish a Legacy Fund.

The Legacy Fund is intended to provide a means to address the $2.5 billion backlog of major repair and restoration of the Institution’s facilities that now exist. The Legacy Fund has been designed as a public-private partnership whereby each federal dollar provided must be matched by twice that amount in private contributions before the full $15 million is made available. Assuming that the Smithsonian can raise the $30 million, the Legacy Fund would provide $45 million above the amount already included in the Facilities Capital account that is allocated $107 million in FY ’08.

Despite the rocky year the Smithsonian experienced in 2007, Congress reaffirmed its commitment by providing major budget increases for the Institution. The large increase approved for the Smithsonian reflects the increased confidence Appropriations Committees felt they had seen in the Institution after a period of great controversy. Since the budget was submitted in February, the Committees felt that the Smithsonian had moved aggressively to address longstanding governance and integrity issues. The senior leadership of the Institution turned over and the Regents reorganized themselves to ensure that the reform process begun after the departure of the previous Secretary was fully implemented. The Appropriations Committees believe that this reform effort will take many years, but the change in leadership and the reform efforts undertaken over the last eight months represent significant progress. The Committee said they would carefully monitor this continuing reform process to ensure that the Smithsonian does not backslide on its reforms.