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Congress Approves FY2010 Budget Resolution

On April 29, the House approved, 233-193, the conference report for the FY2010 budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 13). The same day, the Senate passed, 53-43, the conference report. The House and Senate passed their respective versions of the resolution on April 2 (see The Source, 4/3/09).

The bill provides $1.226 trillion in discretionary budget authority in FY2009, $36.8 billion less than the president’s request. Included in that amount is $89.417 billion for education, training, employment, and social services; $58.556 billion for health programs; $64.678 billion for income security programs, such as food stamps, child nutrition, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), child support enforcement, child care, and the refundable portion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); and $49.306 billion for justice programs, which includes the administration of programs under the Violence Against Women Act.

The resolution includes budget reconciliation instructions that direct the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means to reduce the deficit by $1 billion by FY2014 by crafting legislation on health care reform. The House Education and Labor Committee also would be directed to reduce the deficit by $1 billion by FY2014 by reporting legislation on education reform.

The legislation establishes several deficit-neutral reserve funds in the House and Senate, including:

  • a fund to “transform and modernize America’s health care system” that aims to reduce the number of uninsured and reduce costs for families and employers;
  • a fund to expand or improve child nutrition programs, including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
  • a fund for 21st Century Community Learning Centers;
  • a fund to improve child health programs, including programs to fund “home visits to low-income mothers-to-be and low-income families, which will produce sizeable, sustained improvements in the health and well-being of children and their parents”;
  • a fund for any future measure that improves college affordability, including increasing annual Pell Grants;
  • a fund to provide tax relief to working families, including expanding the child tax credit; and
  • a fund to improve federal child support collection efforts.

The budget resolution also “supports additional, deficit-neutral tax relief, including the extension of AMT [alternative minimum tax] relief, expanding the eligibility for the refundable child credit, the research and experimentation tax credit, the deduction for state and local sales taxes, the enactment of a tax credit for school construction bonds, and other tax relief for working families. The cost of enacting such policies may be offset by reforms within the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 that produce higher rates of tax compliance to close the ‘tax gap’ and reduce taxpayer burdens through simplification.”

The resolution includes two “sense of Congress” statements, one on the importance of college affordability and the other on the importance of child support enforcement.

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