The Smithsonian Institution would receive $774 million under the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies fiscal year (FY) 2010 bill that was approved by the House Appropriations Committee on June 18. This represents a $43 million increase over the FY 2009 level of $731 million.

In report language the Committee noted that both the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Smithsonian’s Inspector General have found that considerable progress has been made in overcoming the management problems the Smithsonian endured over the past few years.

The GAO has estimated the Smithsonian has a deferred maintenance backlog of $2.5 billion. As a result, the Committee recommended $140 million for the facilities capital budget, a $17 million increase over FY ’09.

The Committee transferred $15 million appropriated for the Legacy Fund in FY ’08 to the facilities capital budget to fund high priority deferred maintenance and revitalization projects. The Legacy Fund was established in fiscal year 2008 to address major facility repair needs at the Smithsonian Institution. Funds were to have been matched by private donations on a dollar for dollar basis. However the program appears to have been terminated and the seed money has been reallocated to the regular maintenance account.

The bill includes $20 million for the design of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture which will be built on the National Mall.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet considered its version of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies fiscal year (FY) 2010 bill, although it is tentatively scheduled to do so next week.