Debt limit raised with little outward drama

President's 2015 budget to be released in stages.

Congress raised the debt ceiling this month without a costly partisan battle. Despite back room discussions in both the House and Senate Republican caucuses, both chambers cleared a "clean" debt ceiling extension that will not require additional congressional action until March of 2015. Although there had been support in the House for coupling the increase to a policy rider that would repeal a reduction in the cost-of-living pension increases for younger military veterans, the House leadership reported that that plan did not have the votes to pass. The House adopted the clean debt limit, 221-201, on Feb. 11. Early calls for a 60-vote threshold and threats of a filibuster by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, did not materialize. The Senate passed the House bill 55-43 on Feb. 12, and the president signed the bill later that week.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget has confirmed that the president's 2015 budget will be released in two parts. The main budget volume, key proposals, summary tables, agency-level information and the detailed appendix will be included in the first release on March 4. Historical tables and analytical perspectives will follow the next week.

NIH-funded scientists should note that on Feb. 10 NIH posted guidance on the implementation of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (P.L. 113-76). According to the notice, "Non-competing continuation grants (research and non-research) including those that remain to be issued in FY 2014 likely will be made within the range between the commitment level indicated on the Notice of Award and 3 percent below that level. Out-year commitments for continuation awards in FY 2015 and beyond will remain unchanged. The number of competing awards will likely exceed the number of competing awards in FY 2013."