Overview of Fiscal Year 2006 Appropriations
As in years past, AGI is tracking budget appropriations for the agencies
and programs of most interest to the geoscience community. We offer
coverage on the President's initial budget request, congressional
hearings on budget decisions, and final actions by Congress as next
year's funding decisions are made.
Choose an agency on the bar below to view detailed
program and account information as well as AGI's analysis as the bills
move through Congress. Or you can scroll down for an overview
table breaking down the whole federal budget. For the FY 2006
budget process, Congress reorganized jurisdiction in both the House
and Senate appropriations subcommittees. Read below
for an in-depth look at the budget process and how the recent subcommittee
reorganization affects earth science funding.
As in years past, AGI has provided testimony
to several subcommittees on programs of importance to the geoscience
You can also keep up-to-date with the Library
of Congress Table on Current Status of FY 2006 Appropriations Bills
and the AAAS Analysis
of R&D in the FY 2006 Budget. As in years past, the AAAS
R&D Budget and Policy Project website has information on
trends in federal research and development funding, including information
on the president's request, congressional budget resolution, 302(b)
allocations, and each science-related appropriations bill.
The appropriations process begins when the President submits to Congress
his budget request for the upcoming fiscal year. The President's proposal
is coordinated by the Office
of Management and Budget under the authority of the White House.
Once the president has proposed his budget with the administration's
priorities, it is up to Congress to prepare a budget for the nation. Congress
begins the budget process by preparing a budget resolution and holding
hearings on the rationale behind the administration's proposal. While
the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees and authorization
committees are holding oversight hearings, the Budget committees use
March and April to formulate a budget resolution.
Before April 15th, Congress must agree to a budget resolution that
determines discretionary spending in the upcoming fiscal year. Meanwhile,
appropriations subcommittees in the House and the Senate continue
to hold hearings
to gather information to determine an appropriate funding level for
federal programs. After the appropriations bills are approved
in committee and then by the full House or Senate, a conference committee
is formed to work out the differences between the House and Senate
versions. After the revised bill has been approved by the House and
the Senate, it is submitted to the President for his signature.
In previous years, both the House and the Senate had 13 separate
appropriations subcommittees which were responsible for drafting the
individual appropriations bills. The corresponding subcommittees in
the House and the Senate were responsible for the same agencies. In
a 2005 reorganization and consolidation of the appropriations subcommittees,
the House and the Senate created subcommittees which did not perfectly
correspond to the subcommittees in the other chamber of Congress.
This may cause difficulties when the House and the Senate attempt
to agree on identical bills in conference. The details of this reorganization
In mid-February of 2005 the House Appropriations Committee ratified
a reorganization of the appropriations subcommittees. In a statement
released on February 9th Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) said, "This
structure will allow us to spend less time on the floor and in committee
and more time doing oversight over the expenditure of taxpayer funds.
These changes will make it a little easier to get our work done on
time and under budget. The greatest impact of this proposal falls
on the two subcommittees I formerly chaired, VA-HUD and Defense. My
decade of experience with the programs funded by these two subcommittees
provided the insight to make some common-sense changes that will improve
our stewardship of discretionary spending. I want to commend Chairman
Cochran on the respectful and thoughtful manner in which he has worked
with me on this proposal."
Not everyone hailed this move as a positive one. The Ranking Member
of the House Appropriations Committee David Obey (D-WI) said in a
statement, "The reorganization plan for the Appropriations Committee
that the House Majority has proposed is not aimed at improving efficiency.
It is simply payback. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is retaliating
for cuts that the Republican-controlled VA-HUD appropriations subcommittee
made to the NASA budget request."
Nevertheless, there are now 10 appropriations subcommittees instead
of 13, and several that are important to the geosciences have new
The 10 subcommittees are:
- Agriculture chaired by U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX)
- Defense chaired by U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-FL)
- Energy and Water chaired by U.S. Rep. David Hobson (R-OH)
- Foreign Operations chaired by U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ)
- Interior and Environment chaired by U.S. Rep. Charles
- Homeland Security chaired by U.S. Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY)
- Labor, Health and Human Services and Education chaired
by U.S. Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH)
- Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs chaired by
U.S. Rep. James Walsh (R-NY)
- Science, State, Justice and Commerce chaired by U.S. Rep.
Frank Wolf (R-VA)
- Transportation, Treasury and Housing chaired by U.S. Rep.
Joe Knollenberg (R-MI)
See a summary
of the House Reorganization Proposal online.
View a list
of chairmanships and majority committee members online.
View a list
of democratic ranking members and minority committee assignments
Ending weeks of speculation, Senator Cochran (R-MS) announced on
March 2, 2005 that the Senate Appropriations Committee would also
reorganize its subcommittee structure. Once the proposal was ratified
by the full Senate Appropriations Committee, there are now 12 subcommittees
instead of 13. The programs and accounts funded previously through
the VA-HUD and Independent Agencies Subcommittee (including NASA,
the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency)
are being divided among other subcommittees.
The 12 subcommittees:
- Agriculture, Rural Development, and Related Agencies,
chaired by Senator Bennett (R-UT)
- Commerce, Justice, and Science, chaired by Senator Shelby
- Defense, chaired by Senator Stevens (R-AK)
- District of Columbia, chaired by Senator DeWine (R-OH)
- Energy and Water, chaired by Senator Domenici (R-NM)
- Homeland Security, chaired by Senator Gregg (R-NH)
- Interior and Related Agencies, chaired by Senator Burns
- Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies,
chaired by Senator Specter (R-PA)
- Legislative Branch, chaired by Senator Brownback (R-KS)
- Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, chaired by
Senator Hutchison (R-TX)
- State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, chaired
by Senator McConnell (R-KY)
- Transportation, Treasury, Judiciary, and Housing and Urban
Development, chaired by Senator Bond (R-MO)
In a statement Senator Cochran said, "The Senate Appropriations
Committee is moving forward with a consensus on the structure of the
Committee. The changes made will allow for a more orderly approach
to the appropriations process."
View a press
release regarding the new committees and jurisdictional changes
from the Senate Appropriations Committee website.
The Budget Process
Below is a diagram of the congressional budget process that first
appeared in Following the Budget Process that was published
in the March 1996 issue of Geotimes. It is adapted from a diagram
developed by the House Budget Committee. Click on the image to open
a PDF version.
Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science,
American Institute of Physics, E&ENews Publications, House Committee
on Appropriations, Library of Congress, Senate Committee on Appropriations,
Washington Post, and the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government
Affairs Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributed by Emily Lehr Wallace, AGI Government Affairs Program,
Katie Ackerly, AGI Government Affairs Program, and John Vermylen,
2005 AGI/AIPG Summer Intern.
Background section includes material from AGI's Overview
of Fiscal Year 2005 Geoscience Appropriations from the 108th Congress.
Last Update February 25, 2005.