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FY2009 Budget Resolution Approved by Congress

On June 4, the Senate passed, 48-45, the conference report for the FY2009 budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 70). The House passed, 214-210, the conference report on June 5. The House approved its version of the measure (H. Con. Res. 312) on March 13; the Senate approved the original version of S. Con. Res. 70 on the same day (see The Source, 3/14/08). Although the budget resolution is non-binding, it provides a blueprint for federal spending in the upcoming fiscal year.

The bill provides $1.088 trillion in discretionary budget authority in FY2009, $20.1 billion more than the president’s request. Included in that amount is $70 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and $38.313 billion for international affairs (Function 150). Also included is $84.337 billion for education, training, employment, and social services (Function 500); $59.724 billion for health programs (Function 550); $58.694 billion for income security programs (Function 600), 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; and $45.321 billion for justice programs (Function 750), which includes the administration of programs under the Violence Against Women Act.

According to the conference report, the measure rejects the president’s proposed cuts to Function 500 and “[i]n contrast to the president’s funding cuts…increases funds for vital programs” within that function by $8.4 billion over the president’s FY2009 request. “The conference agreement includes an increase for the Indian Health Service to help meet the health needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives,” and “[s]ignificant increases for Community Health Centers, the National Health Service Corps, and health professions within HRSA [Health Resources and Services Administration]…as well as increases for…the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant.” S. Con. Res. 70 also “recognizes that additional funding above the 2008 level adjusted for inflation will be needed for WIC [Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children]” and rejects the president’s proposed cuts to programs to prevent violence against women and juvenile justice.

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

  • a $50 billion fund for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for FY2008-2013;
  • a fund to allow for adjustments to allocations that assist children or families by improving child welfare families, extending and improving the TANF program, or providing up to $5 billion for the child care entitlement to states;
  • a fund to “accommodate legislation” to extend the child tax credit, marriage penalty relief, adoption tax credit, and the dependent care tax credit;
  • a fund to “accommodate legislation” to reduce the income threshold to $10,000 for the child tax credit, thus expanding its availability to low-income families;
  • a fund to reauthorize trade adjustment assistance and unemployment insurance;
  • a fund to improve federal child support collection efforts; and
  • a fund to create a demonstration program to provide Medicaid coverage to low-income HIV-infected individuals.

The budget resolution also contains a provision expressing the “sense of Congress” that “additional legislative action is needed to ensure that states have the necessary resources to collect all the child support owed to families and to allow [states] to pass 100 percent of the support onto families without financial penalty.”

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