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Policy Corner: Update on Congressional Appropriations for Research Funding

Here is a brief update from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) on the current status of the appropriations process in Congress. ACSM monitors the appropriations process in the Congress due to its importance in funding grants and programs that directly affect ACSM members.

Further consideration of the appropriations bills remains stalled in the Senate due to an ongoing dispute over possible amendments that are related to policy, rather than funding issues. Although Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) had hoped to schedule votes on the Energy and Water and Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) measures this week, it appears that has again been delayed. Senators also have not reached an agreement on how to proceed with the Commerce, Justice, Science, Agriculture and Transportation-Housing "minibus" package (HR 4660).

The House has made considerably more progress related to the FY 2015 appropriations process, passing all but the LHHS and interior bills at the committee level. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said that the LHHS bill will be considered by the end of July, but did not specify a date. Five of the spending measures have been approved by the full House thus far. A sixth, the Energy and Water bill (HR 4923), is currently being debated by the full House. The bill provides $5.071 billion for Department of Energy Office of Science, the same as the FY 2014 enacted level.

Given the crowded legislative agenda and limited time, it is clear that the appropriators will not achieve their goal of completing work on all 12 of the fiscal year (FY) 2015 spending bills by the September 30 deadline. Lawmakers are expected to pass a short term “continuing resolution” (CR) after Labor Day to keep federal agencies operating beyond October 1. The length of the CR has not been determined yet, but many expect that it will fund the government through at least late November.

If you have questions or comments, please contact Monte Ward, vice president of government relations, at more

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