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Vol.25, No. 19 Apr. 7, 2000

Budget Process Continues at State and Federal Levels

By Ellen S. Smith

The state legislature did not complete its budget by the beginning of their fiscal year, April 1.

Conference committees are expected to continue work and some project they may finish by the end of April. At the federal level, the full House and the Senate budget committees are working on their non-binding budget resolutions. Once the House and the Senate agree on their numbers, allocations will be given to the appropriations committees for annual funding for fiscal year 2001 (10/01/00-09/30/01).

While neither resolution includes allocations as high as in President Clinton's budget, both include language about the importance of research funding, in particular at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The Senate bill includes more funding for student aid programs such as Pell Grants and a resolution urging that tax cuts should include deductions for higher education expenses and student loan interest.

Two other developments are expected in the Senate: Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) are planning to introduce legislation again this year that prohibits further cuts in certain medical education payments made by Medicare.

In addition, S 2045, an H-1-B visa bill, may be voted on the Senate floor. The bill permanently exempts higher education and research institutions from the cap. This development is important for visiting international researchers and scholars who were included in the same category as workers for businesses such as the high technology industry.

On Tuesday of this week, the annual student lobby trip to Washington , D.C. was held. The trip, coordinated jointly with Cornell University , was organized by Susan Long, government relations associate. For additional information, please contact Ellen S. Smith, assistant vice president and director of federal relations, ess9@columbia.edu.