Senate Democrats

Conference Report to Accompany S. Con. Res. 70, the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution

Summary and Background

The Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution Conference Report (S.Con.Res.70) outlines the proposed federal budget for next year, as well as proposed budget levels for Fiscal Year 2008 and Fiscal Years 2010 through 2013. Upon adoption of the budget by the House and Senate, the Conference Report will serve as a blueprint that guides subsequent congressional consideration of legislation. This fiscally-responsible budget will create a surplus while cutting taxes for the middle class, funding critical national priorities, and creating good-paying jobs here at home. 

TheConference Report:

By carefully targeting and reallocating resources, theConference Report would accomplish all of this without raising taxes.In addition,theConference Report rejects the failed fiscal policies of the past seven years and achieves a balanced budget and a return to surplus in 2012 and 2013. When the Conference Report is adopted, it will mark the first time Congress has passed a budget during an election year since 2000.

The Senate is expected to take floor action on S.Con.Res.70 in June 2008. This Legislative Bulletin provides a description of major provisions, legislative history, the Administration position, and related reading resources.

Major Provisions

Investments for Economic Growth

Energy investments to create green jobs, reduce our dependence on oil, and help with soaring energy costs. The Conference Report:

  • Provides for energy tax relief;
  • Includes $2.8 billion over the President’s budget in discretionary funding for energy in 2009;
  • Rejects the President’s budget cuts to energy programs by providing for significant increases in programs such as weatherization assistance, renewable energy, and energy efficiency; and
  • Includes a deficit-neutral reserve fund for energy legislation.

Education and innovation investments to prepare the workforce to compete in a global economy, make college more affordable, and improve student achievement.The Conference Report includes:

  • Significant increases over the President’s budget in discretionary funding for the Department of Education and Head Start in 2009;
  • A deficit-neutral education reserve fund for school construction and Higher Education reauthorization over five years; and
  • Additional funding for general science, space, and technology programs.

Infrastructure investments to repair crumbling roads, bridges, transit systems, airports, and schools.The Conference Report includes:

  • A deficit-neutral reserve fund to allow for major infrastructure legislation;
  • $2.5 billion more than the President for key discretionary transportation accounts in 2009;
  • Full funding of Highway and Transit programs as authorized in the highway bill (SAFETEALU); and
  • Funding for the Airport Improvement Program.

Resources to Address the Most Critical Threats Facing Our Nation

The Conference Report makes our country safer by providing robust funding for national defense and ensuring that resources are available to address the most critical threats facing our nation. Within the core defense budget, the Conference Report places a higher priority than the President’s budget on programs such as Cooperative Threat Reduction (“loose nukes”) and other nuclear nonproliferation programs, and improving the quality of life for our troops and their families.

The Conference Report also ensures that veterans get the quality health care they need and deserve by providing $3.3 billion more in discretionary funding for 2009 than the President’s budget and $39 billion more over five years for veterans programs. The Conference Report also protects our nation by providing higher funding levels for homeland security. And it rejects the President’s cuts and provides additional resources for law enforcement, the COPS program, firefighters, and other first responders.

Middle-Class Tax Relief

TheConference Report supports significant tax relief, including: