Blog Archives

Government Shutdown Averted, For Now

Congress was able to pass a continuing resolution (CR) on September 30, the final day of fiscal year (FY) 2015, within hours of a deadline that would result in a government shutdown. However, the CR simply kicks the can to December 11, the new deadline for coming to a final agreement on FY 2016 appropriations. While policymakers have provided themselves an additional 10 weeks to complete work on the annual spending bills, the path to the finish line remains unclear, complicated further by recent events like the announcement from House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) of his retirement at the end of October and the upcoming Republican leadership elections. In addition, the Treasury Department announced last week that the federal government is expected to reach its borrowing limit (“debt limit”) by November 5, several weeks earlier than originally expected. These developments, coupled with real-time negotiations on a larger two-year budget deal, make for a challenging chess match that promises to continue well into December, if not longer. Observers fear that the real chance for a government shutdown will occur in December when the stakes for a budget deal are that much higher.

What’s the likely outcome? It’s anyone’s guess at this point. However, there are several scenarios that could take shape in the coming weeks, including (but certainly not limited to): a grand budget bargain that raises caps on discretionary spending similar to the bipartisan budget deal struck two years ago, which would provide some relief to federal agencies and programs that have been feeling the pinch in recent years; a year-long CR that would fund the federal government at FY 2015 levels for the balance of FY 2016, keeping sequestration in place for another year; or a government shutdown that eventually forces action on one of the aforementioned scenarios. Check out COSSA’s funding updates, policy statements, and letters for a refresher on the latest developments impacting federal agencies and programs of interest to the COSSA community.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Issue 18 (October 6), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

Congress passes FY 2015 Spending Bill, Adjourns for the Year

Congress adjourned this week for the remainder of 2014 after a busy, and often contentious, lame duck legislative session. Among its post-election activities was passage of a spending package for 11 of the 12 outstanding fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills. The “cromnibus,” as it is being called inside the Beltway, was signed into law by President Obama on December 16.

COSSA has prepared a full analysis of the spending package outlining its impact on social and behavioral science research programs funded across the federal government. Read on for full details.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

 

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Issue 23 (December 19), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

COSSA and Partners Urge Support for International and Foreign Language Education for FY 2015

On November 19, COSSA joined a Coalition for International Education letter to House and Senate appropriators in support of strong funding levels for the Department of Education’s international and foreign language education programs (Title VI and Fulbright-Hays) as Congress attempts to wrap up funding for fiscal year (FY) 2015. As the letter notes, “Title VI and Fulbright-Hays are the nation’s longest-serving, most comprehensive programs that develop and maintain a strong, world-class foundation for international education and foreign language studies.”

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Issue 22 (December 5), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

FY 2015 Funding Bills Approaching December 11 Deadline

As previously reported, the 113th Congress still has more work to do to complete the fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations process before adjourning at the end of the month. At the time of this writing, negotiations between House and Senate appropriators and leadership continue, all working toward some form of final agreement to fund the federal government before the current temporary spending measure expires on December 11. Latest reports suggest that an omnibus appropriations bill that consolidates most of the 12 appropriations bills is still the preferred option, but a hybrid approach that includes an omnibus for some bills and a continuing resolution (CR) for others may be needed in order to get to the finish line. Details of the omnibus bill currently being developed could be released publicly as early as Monday, December 8. Either way, Congress must act in some manner by December 11 in order to avoid a government shutdown.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Issue 22 (December 5), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

COSSA & Partners Urge Congress to Complete FY 2015 Omnibus Spending Bill

On November 12, COSSA joined the biomedical and behavioral science community in signing the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research letter to Congress. The letter, which was signed by 303 organizations, urges Congress to “complete an omnibus spending package [that] includes a Labor-HHS-Education bill that restores funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to at least pre-sequestration levels.” The letter also notes, “An omnibus spending bill with a Labor-HHS appropriation restoring NIH to at least pre-sequester funding levels would mark an important step toward a more sustainable, predictable research environment for patients and their families, as well as for those working to address disease. It also would be a step in the right direction to close the innovation deficit.”

On November 14, COSSA joined its partners in the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) on a letter similarly urging Congress to appropriate sustainable funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in a FY 2015 omnibus bill.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Issue 21 (November 17), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

Scientific Community to Congress: Close the Innovation Deficit

On November 12, COSSA joined 133 partners throughout the scientific, higher education, business and patient communities on a letter to Congress urging passage of an omnibus fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills addresses the “innovation deficit” by including increased investments for scientific research and higher education. As the letter states, “the innovation deficit is the widening gap between the actual level of federal government funding for research and higher education and what the investment needs to be if the United States is to remain the world’s innovation leader… [T]oday, our leadership faces a serious challenge from other nations that are rapidly increasing their investments in these critical areas while our own spending lags.”

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Issue 21 (November 17), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

Congress Returns for Lame Duck Session

Congress returned to Washington on November 12 for the start of the post-election lame duck session. Among the must-pass actions in this lame duck session are the fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills. The current continuing resolution (CR) that has kept the federal government in operation since the start of the fiscal year on October 1 expires on December 11. Leadership and staff of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have been working behind the scenes on an omnibus bill that would package all twelve of the unpassed appropriations measures into a single package. The goal is to bring the bill to the floor in the House and Senate during the week of December 8, prior to the expiration of the CR. However, support on this approach from rank-and-file members of both parties appears to be waiting on the details of the bill. Other issues—such as impending Executive action on immigration—could further complicate the final negotiations on an FY 2015 appropriations package. Another short-term CR may be in the offing to avoid another government shutdown after December 11. See the articles above for recent COSSA action on FY 2015 funding.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Issue 21 (November 17), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

Outcome of Midterm Elections May Not Offer Clarity over FY 2015 Endgame

The remaining weeks of 2014 could see an effort to pass a sweeping omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2015, should the Republicans gain control of the Senate after the midterm Congressional elections tomorrow. Even though the Democrats would still control the Senate until January, Republican leaders have stated that under such a scenario they would work during the lame duck session to pass an omnibus, allowing the 114th Congress to start in January with a clean slate. However, such a feat has proven impossible in recent history. For example, the FY 2014 appropriations process was not completed until January of this year, and the stalemate over the FY 2013 appropriations bills led to the 16-day federal government shutdown; the FY 2013 appropriations process finally concluded six months into the fiscal year.

The federal government in currently operating under a continuing resolution (CR) until December 11 (see the September 22, 2014 COSSA Washington Update). Though the midterm elections will take place tomorrow, given the closeness of a handful of key Senate races that could result in runoffs, it may not be immediately clear which party will control the Senate in 2015. It also leaves the outlook for completion of the FY 2015 appropriations bills unclear.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Issue 20 (November 3), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

DOD: 2015 Minerva Deadline Extended

As previously reported, the Office of the Secretary of Defense within the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has issued the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the 2015 Minerva Research Initiative, DOD’s signature social science research program. DOD recently extended the deadline for the 2015 competition. White papers are now due November 10 and full proposals are due February 10. See the BAA for full details.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Issue 19 (October 20), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

Funding Bills Punted Until After Midterm Elections

The House and Senate easily passed a continuing resolution (CR), or temporary spending measure, last week to keep the federal government operating through December 11. With fiscal year (FY) 2015 approaching on October 1, Congress was not able to complete its work on the FY 2015 appropriations bills before adjourning again to campaign for November’s midterm elections. The CR (H.J. Res. 124) totals $1.012 trillion and extends current year (FY 2014) funding and policy directives into the first 10 weeks of FY 2015. In addition, the bill includes an across-the-board cut of 0.0554 percent to keep spending within the discretionary budget caps set in late 2013. (more…)

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Issue 17 (September 22), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

Subscribe

Click here to subscribe to the COSSA Washington Update, our biweekly newsletter.

Archive

Looking for something from a previous issue of the COSSA Washington Update? Try our archive.

Issues

Browse by Month