28 October 2015:
Late on Monday night, 26 October 2015, Congressional leaders and the White House agreed to a two-year budget deal, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The budget agreement will roll back spending caps put in place by sequestration for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. The agreement raises federal discretionary spending by 5.2% or $33 billion for fiscal year 2016. Significantly, non-defense and defense programs saw equal increases in federal funding. The budget agreement also raised the debt ceiling until March 2017 ensuring that the United States can continue to meet its financial obligations, including social security, interest on the national debt, military salaries, and other payments.
The House is expected to vote on the deal today, 28 October 2015. The Senate is expected to begin considering the bill the next day. If the deal is approved by Congress, appropriators will begin negotiating which programs and priorities will receive additional funding. Congress has until 11 December to pass all 12 appropriations bills to avoid a government shutdown.
As lawmakers begin reviewing their spending priorities, it’s imperative that AGU members tell their lawmakers why funding for science is important and how science will be advanced with an additional 5.2% in funding.
13 October 2015:
Late on 30 September, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) to prevent a government shutdown. The CR funds the government until 11 December 2015 under the caps set by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). Federal programs are funded at existing FY 2015 levels, but then a small across-the-board cut is applied to all programs at the FY 2016 level set by the BCA.
Despite the 11 December deadline set by Congress, the Treasury Department recently announced that the US will reach its debt ceiling in early November. The debt ceiling is the limit set on the amount of money the US can borrow to meet its financial obligations; including social security, interest on the national debt, military salaries, and other payments.
The White House has already begun negotiations with Senate and House leaders to reach a larger budget agreement that will both fund the government for FY 2016 and resolve the debt ceiling.
Many in Congress are advocating for the budget caps to be raised for both defense and non-defense spending, which includes all science agencies. It’s imperative that AGU members tell their Members of Congress why funding for science is important and how science will be advanced if the caps are raised.
10 July 2015:
Yesterday, the Interior and Environment appropriations bill, which provides funding for the US Geological Survey and the Environmental Protection Agency, was unexpectedly pulled from the House floor due to controversial amendments. To date, the House has passed six appropriations bills. In the Senate, Democrats have announced their intent to filibuster any appropriations bill brought to the floor, unless the budget caps for federal spending are raised. Although ten appropriations bills have passed through the Senate Appropriations Committee, no bills have been brought to the floor. Both chambers of Congress need to pass and agree to twelve appropriations bills by September 30 to prevent a government shutdown.
Time constraints and the threat of a filibuster will most likely lead to Congress passing a Continuing Resolution (CR), in which federal funding for FY16 remains at FY15 levels, giving Congress more time to negotiate appropriations after the September 30 deadline. Until Congress reaches a final appropriations agreement federal funding for FY16 remains adjustable. It’s imperative that AGU members continue to voice their concerns about the low levels of funding for science. View current funding status (in millions of dollars) here.
16 February 2015:
On 2 February 2015 the President released his annual budget request outlining his fiscal priorities for fiscal year 2016 (FY16). This budget request would increase funding for many federal scientific research programs. The President’s budget request is just the first step in the process of setting FY16 funding, and the requests that the President sets may or may not be reflected in the budget numbers that Congress eventually passes. Read the 2 February AGU Science Policy Alert for details about the President’s FY16 budget request.
15 December 2014:
Congress passed a combination Continuing Resolution (CR) and Omnibus – dubbed a CRomnibus – late on 13 December. Once signed by the President, which will happen by 17 December when the current short-term CR ends, the bill will become law. All of the federal government will be funded through the end of FY15, except for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is only funded through February, and is the CR portion of the CRomnibus – all of the other government agencies have entirely new appropriations bills for FY15. Overall funding levels are close to FY14 appropriations, and for full details see our blog post “FY15 Omnibus – A Close Shave” on The Bridge: Connecting Science and Policy.
22 September 2014:
Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) providing funding for the U.S. government at Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) levels through 11 December, 2014, well into the next fiscal year that begins on 1 October 2014. The CR was passed instead of regular appropriations bills because the House of Representatives and the Senate could not agree on spending levels. Congress has adjourned for recess through Election Day and are scheduled to return on 12 November 2014. They will have an estimated 14 days in session to agree on spending levels before the current CR expires.
- Dysfunction Junction blog post on The Bridge (Part 2) – 7 August 2014
- Dysfunction Junction blog post on The Bridge (Part 1) – 15 July 2014
- AGU statement on the president’s budget request – 5 March 2014
- The president released his budget request for Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) – 4 March 2014
More information on the President’s FY15 budget request: Follow the links below to find out more about each individual agency. Numbers are reported in millions of dollars.
FY15 President’s Request
% Change from FY14 Enacted