It's a confusing week with essentially three budgets crashing into one another. Here are the basics:
- Last week, President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus package, with roughly $21 billion in federal science funding. Most of that funding is expected to get spent this year, and by late April agencies have to spell out just how they're spending the money.
- Yesterday, the House of Representatives and the Senate released a joint, omnibus spending bill for the current year (fiscal year 2009). The bill covers federal agencies currently operating on a temporary budget that expires next week. (That's pretty much most agencies except for the Pentagon.) The House will probably vote on the bill tomorrow or Thursday, and the Senate will follow. No news yet on what amendments or changes to the bill the leadership will allow.
- On Thursday, the White House will propose a skeletal budget for FY 2010, which begins in October. However, we don't know how much detail that document will include. The Administration says that it will send a full 2010 budget, its first, to Congress in April.
Also, tonight President Obama will address Congress in his first State of the Union address and will probably lay out one or two initiatives that could have research components—energy, health care, and education are said to be focuses. But those initiatives won't be rolled out until 2010.