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August 2008

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.

 

Senate Appropriations Committee Takes Action


The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the Judiciary’s fiscal year 2009 appropriations bill in July, providing $6.52 billion for the Judiciary, a 4.3 percent increase over FY 2008, slightly below what the House Appropriations Committee provided the Judiciary when it acted in June.

Although both House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved their versions of the FY 2009 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, the bills are not expected to reach the full House or Senate for a vote this year. Instead, it is highly likely the majority of spending bills will be carried over for action into the new Congress with a new Administration after January 2009. Until then, the federal government would operate under a Continuing Resolution.

“The prospect of operating under a CR should not stop courts from hiring staff this fiscal year as workload needs necessitate and current funding allocations allow,” Administrative Office Director James C. Duff urged judges and court unit executives. “The House and Senate levels would fund each Judiciary account at current services or better, and we remain optimistic there will be sufficient funds under a CR to maintain any new staff hired in FY 2008.”

Both House and Senate Appropriations Committees gave the Judiciary’s Salaries and Expenses account a 4.6 percent increase. This account funds rent, judges and court personnel salaries and benefits, court operating expenses, information technology, and other expenses. In the Senate bill, the Defender Services account received $854 million, $9 million below the House level, with a $2 per hour increase in the non-capital panel attorney rate from $100 to $102. The House approved a $10 per hour increase. The capital panel attorney rate, approved by both House and Senate Appropriations Committees, would increase to $174 per hour. The Senate bill would give the Court Security Account $428 million, $2 million below the House level.

The Senate bill includes funding for the General Services Administration, and would cover cost overruns for the San Diego courthouse project due to the tight construction and unprecedented increases in building materials costs.

Appropriation Account
FY 2008 Enacted Appropriations
FY 2009 Presidents Budget
House Approps. Comm. Mark
Senate Approps. Comm. Mark
U.S. Supreme Court
Salaries & Expenses
$66,526
$66,777
$69,777
$69,776
Care of Building & Grounds
12,201
18,447
18,447
18,447
Subtotal
78,727
88,224
88,224
88,223
 
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
27,072
32,357
30,384
31,482
U.S. Court of International Trade
16,632
19,622
19,590
19,605
Courts of Appeals, District Courts & Other Judicial Services
Salaries & Expenses
4,623,361
4,967,344
4,834,313
4,837,013
Defender Services
846,101
911,408
862,977
854,204
Fees of Jurors
63,081
62,206
62,206
62,206
Court Security
410,000
439,915
430,004
428,004
Subtotal
5,942,543
6,380,873
6,189,500
6,181,427
 
Administrative Office
76,036
81,959
79,049
79,049
Federal Judicial Center
24,187
25,759
25,725
25,468
Judicial Retirement Funds
65,400
76,140
76,140
76,140
U.S. Sentencing Commission
15,477
16,257
16,225
16,225
Total, the Judiciary
$6,246,074
$6,721,191
$6,524,837
$6,517,619