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"A Good First Step" in FY 08 Funding Process
The House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the
federal courts’ fiscal year 2008 appropriations bill in early June.
Overall, the Judiciary would receive $6.258 billion, a 4.7 percent
increase over FY 2007 funding levels, with a 4.1 percent increase for
the Salaries and Expenses account. The Judiciary had requested an
overall 7.6 percent increase above FY 07 enacted appropriations with a
6.7 percent increase in the Salaries and Expenses account. The bill now
goes to the full House for consideration.
“The mark for the Salaries and Expenses account is not as
high as we had hoped,”said Administrative Office Director James C.
Duff. “But it does provide funding sufficient to support additional
staff that may be hired during fiscal year 2007 based on the courts’
workload needs, as provided for in the national financial plan and
allotments to the courts.”
Other accounts within the Judiciary’s appropriations were
not funded fully, although Duff remained optimistic, characterizing the
overall mark as “a good first step.” The Defender Services account
received $830.5 million, a 7.0 percent increase over FY 07. The
Committee approved an increase in the panel attorney non-capital rate to
$100 per hour—although the funding provided does not fund fully the
account’s requirements at the increased rate. The Court Security account
received $396.5 million, a 4.7 percent increase and equal to current
services, but $18 million below full requirements. The Fees of Jurors
account received $62.4 million, which is slightly below full
The House bill also extends the temporary judgeship in
the Northern District of Ohio. Funding for the General Services
Administration, which is included in the same spending bill as the
Judiciary, would provide $525 million for new construction projects and
$764 million for repair and alterations projects government-wide. The
House bill does not specify which projects would be funded, so it is not
possible at this time to say if any courthouse projects are included.
The FY 08 appropriations process still has a long way to
go before completion. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on
Financial Services and General Govern-ment was expected to mark-up its
version of the bill in June. Potential roadblocks to completing FY 08
appropriations bills before October 1—the beginning of fiscal year
2008—include congressional and White House differences on overall
spending and Iraq war funding, with the White House indicating it will
veto bills that exceed the President’s budget request.