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President Signs One-Month Continuing Resolution, Temporarily Averting Government Shutdown

The President signed a one-month continuing resolution (CR) on November 21 to keep the government operating at fiscal year (FY) 2019 levels until December 20. FY 2020 began on October 1 and while both the House of Representatives and the Senate have made progress on passing individual bills, contentious issues like top-line funding levels and funding for a wall on the southern U.S. border have kept Congress from finalizing FY 2020 spending. A notable exception to the flat funding required by the CR is additional funding authority given to the Census Bureau as the agency prepares for the 2020 Decennial Census. The CR provides the Census Bureau with $7.3 billion for Periodic Censuses and Programs, which includes the 2020 Census and is in line with the amount proposed by the Senate. See COSSA’s analysis of the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill here and analysis of all of the House and Senate appropriations bills affecting social and behavioral science here.

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Posted in Issue 23 (November 26), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Senate Continues to Debate Spending Bills as CR End Looms

The federal government is currently operating under a continuing resolution (CR), a stopgap measure that has frozen funding for federal agencies at FY 2019 levels, which is set to expire on November 21. While the House had passed 10 of the 12 appropriations bills through the chamber before the summer recess, the Senate is beginning to make progress as well. It too has passed 10 of the 12 bills out of committee and is currently debating a package of four bills on the Senate floor. While the Senate is certainly making up for lost time, there have been reports that Congressional leaders are considering passing an additional CR that would last until the spring of 2020. Nonetheless, COSSA and its partners continue to advocate for strong numbers for federal science programs in any final spending agreement. See COSSA’s analysis of the FY 2020 spending proposals here, and the coalition letters COSSA has joined here.

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Posted in Issue 21 (October 29), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Government Reopens; Final Funding for FY 2019 Still Unclear

Following the longest partial-government shutdown in U.S. history and the passage of a short-term stopgap measure to reopen the government, the fate of fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations is still unclear. On January 25, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) to reopen all federal agencies until February 15, allowing more time to negotiate a compromise on border security—the policy issue at the center of the government funding debate. While the timing for finalizing FY 2019 spending remains uncertain, negotiations on all spending levels (except for Homeland Security) have been finalized. The end product for agencies awaiting their final appropriation is not likely to diverge much, if at all, from the levels that have already been reported. COSSA will release a full analysis reviewing the FY 2019 outcomes for programs and agencies important to the social and behavioral sciences once Congress and the White House come to a final agreement.

Prior to the reopening of the government, COSSA signed on to a letter to President Trump and Congressional leaders as a part of the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) expressing concern about the impact of government shutdowns on America’s research enterprise. The scientific community is bracing for another potential shutdown should agreement not be reached before the next deadline on February 15.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 5), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Committees Begin to Announce Leadership, Membership as FY 2019 Funding Remains Uncertain

While some parts of the federal government, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of the Interior, and the Census Bureau, remain closed as part of the partial government shutdown, Congress is at work organizing committees, selecting leaders, and preparing for the work of the 116th Congress. Many Congressional leadership positions important to the social and behavioral sciences have been announced over the past few weeks.

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have both announced their subcommittee leadership, and while leadership on Senate subcommittees important to the social and behavioral sciences will remain unchanged from the last Congress, new House leadership has come along with the new House majority. Representative José Serrano (D-NY) will chair the subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) will lead the subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. Their Republican counterparts will be Representatives Robert Aderholt (R-AL) and Tom Cole (R-OK), respectively.

Many changes have come to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which is responsible for policy related to the National Science Foundation (NSF), among numerous other programs. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) will serve as the new Chair of the Committee for the 116th Congress and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will serve as the Ranking Member. The Senate Commerce Committee also announced a new subcommittee structure, with science policy now paired with fisheries, weather, and oceans; the newly-structured subcommittee will be chaired by Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO). Senator Gardner was one of the recipients of the 2017 COSSA Distinguished Service Award. As previously reported, the House Science Committee has also announced full committee leadership. Stay tuned to the COSSA Washington Update for more committee and leadership announcements in the coming weeks.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 22), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

NSF Releases Information for Proposers and Grantees During Government Shutdown

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is one of many government agencies currently closed due to the partial government shutdown, which has now stretched into its fourth week. NSF has issued guidance for proposers and grantees on how proposal submissions and existing grants are affected by the government shutdown. While the government shutdown continues, no new funding opportunities will be issued. However, proposal preparation and submission for existing opportunities will be available through FastLane and Research.gov, and proposal submissions will continue to be accepted and expected to follow existing deadlines. More information is available on the NSF website, though it is noted that NSF will not be available to respond to emails or phone calls during the lapse in appropriations.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 22), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Government Shutdown Continues into Third Week, Leaving Uncertainty for FY 2019

The partial government shutdown has stretched into its third week, leaving many government agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of the Interior, and the Census Bureau, shuttered. Unlike government shutdowns of the recent past, this shutdown is not related to disputed funding levels, but rather policy disagreements and political maneuvering. This means that we already have an idea of what the final funding numbers will be once the policy impasse has cleared, as Congress has already negotiated most of its appropriations bills. Once funding is finalized, COSSA will release an analysis reviewing the fiscal year (FY) 2019 outcomes for programs and agencies important to the social and behavioral sciences.

On January 3, the new Democratic leadership in the House proposed, and easily passed, an omnibus spending bill for the unfunded agencies that also allowed another month of debate on border security funding. It seems unlikely that the Senate will vote on the proposal and even more unlikely to receive a signature from the President. Read more about the appropriations bills important to social and behavioral science and the already finalized FY 2019 appropriations on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 8), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

After Three-Day Shutdown, Congress Passes Funding through February 8

Congressional leaders came to an agreement on January 22 to reopen the government after a three-day shutdown by passing another stopgap spending bill, this time to keep the government open and flat-funded until February 8. Fiscal year (FY) 2018 started October 1, 2017 and Congress has yet to pass any appropriation bills for the year.

Congress came to the funding impasse on January 19 after the Senate failed to reach an agreement on immigration policy, which will now likely occupy much of Congress’ energy until the continuing resolution expires on February 8, at which point the federal government could be facing yet another shutdown. As COSSA has previously reported, Congress must also come to an agreement on the top-line spending levels allowed by law before finishing the FY 2018 appropriations process. Read more of COSSA’s reporting on FY 2018 here.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 23), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

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