This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.
House Passes FY07 Funding Bill
On June 14, 2006, the House passed H.R. 5576, the $140 billion FY 2007
Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, District
of Columbia appropriations bill. The bill gives the Judiciary, as a whole, $6.1
billion in funding for FY 2007, a 6.3 percent increase over FY 2006. The federal
court's Salaries and Expenses account, an account divided into allotments for
salaries and benefits, space and facilities, operating expenses, judges salaries
and benefits, automation and technology, and other programs, received a 5.7
"This is a good level of funding, given the funding constraints and competing
priorities the Committee had to deal with," said Administrative Office Director
Leonidas Ralph Mecham, “and it will provide for current staffing levels.
However, it does not fully fund court operating expenses or provide the courts
with sufficient funds to pay for congressionally-mandated workload increases or
needed initiatives, especially those along the southwest border."
The Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Judiciary is not
expected to mark-up its version of the bill until July.
For FY 2007, the Judiciary requested $6.3 billion in funding. In April 2006,
Judge Julia Gibbons (6 th Cir.), chair of the Judicial Conference's Budget
Committee told a House Appropriations subcommittee, "We believe this level of
funding represents the minimum amount required to meet our constitutional and
The Judiciary’s funding requirements essentially reflect basic operating
costs, largely for personnel and space requirements. Of the $540 million
increase being requested for FY 2007, a total of $462 million, or 86 percent of
the requested increase, represents must-pay items such as pay and benefit
increases, space rental increases, panel attorney payments, and general
inflationary increases for Judiciary programs.
The House Appropriations Committee has limited funding to distribute to the
appropriations bills. In making the FY 2007 allocations to the subcommittees,
Committee Chair Jerry Lewis (R-CA) noted that funding levels "will require some
difficult choices and tough votes." As it turned out, the subcommittee’s
allocation was only a 3.8 percent increase over FY 2006 funding, and yet they
provided the Judiciary with a 6.3 percent increase.
"It is clear," said Director Mecham, "that the Judiciary is a funding
priority for the Appropriations Committee."
The Judiciary competes for limited funds in its appropriations bill with
several major programs, including the federal-aid highways program, the
Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Aviation
Administration, and the General Services Administration, which builds federal