Science Funding; NASA Bill; New Position Statement; New Caucus

3 October 2016
AGU Science Policy Alert 16-9

House and Senate Agree to Short-term Funding Bill

On 28 September, first the Senate and then the House passed a continuing resolution (CR), which is a short term spending measure, to keep the government open and funded until 9 December.  The President signed the bill into law the following day. In addition to funding all of our nation’s agencies at fiscal year 2016 spending levels, the bill also provides funding for Zika and emergency funding for states recently impacted by natural disasters.

When Congress returns after the election, it will have three working weeks to pass funding for fiscal year 2017. Whether in the form of mini-buses (2-3 appropriations bills together), or an omnibus (one large bill encompassing all 11 unpassed appropriations bills), it’s vital that, over the coming weeks and months, Congress hear from the science community about the importance of science funding.

Take Action today and tell your policymakers why funding science is vital for society!

Senate Committee Passes NASA Authorization Bill

On 15 September, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2016 (S.3346).

This bipartisan bill aims to ensure that NASA’s mission is not negatively impacted by the Presidential transition. The bill includes language on the value of the decadal surveys and recognizes the importance of planetary science missions, including Europa and the Mars 2020 Rover. However, the bill lacks specific language concerning NASA’s Earth science and heliophysics missions, which may serve to deprioritize those missions.

Also of concern is that the bill provides total authorization levels at lower levels than fiscal year 2016 appropriations, with only $5.3B authorized for the science missions. NASA’s science programs are critical to the agency’s overall mission and must continue to grow in order to further our understanding of our solar system and universe. Overall, the funding levels in the bill are dependent on the fiscal year 2017 appropriations figures – which is why it is important to request the highest possible science funding numbers for fiscal year 2017.

AGU Position Statement Member Comment Period Open

An expert panel has crafted a draft AGU position statement on the responsibilities and rights of scientists. The statement is available for AGU member review and comment online. Read more about the process of developing the statement in Eos.

New Earth and Space Science Caucus Launched

On 14 September, Representatives Jolly (R-FL-13) and Polis (D-CO-02), along with AGU and other scientific societies, launched the House Earth & Space Science Caucus. You can read more about the event at and learn more about the caucus at