After election Congress will tackle longer term funding questions.
On Sept. 17, the House and Senate approved a Continuing Resolution (CR, H.J. Res 124 ) extending funding for all government agencies and programs at their fiscal year (FY) 2014 enacted levels through Dec. 11, 2014. The president signed the CR on Sept. 19.
Congress will be out of session until after the November elections. After spending the next several weeks in their home districts, members of Congress will return to Washington on Nov. 12 for a “lame duck” session that is expected to run through mid-to-late December. Although the agenda has yet to be announced and will depend almost entirely on the outcome of the mid-term elections, congressional leaders have begun to identify issues that might be addressed later this fall, including how to fund the government after the CR expires.
Of course a CR was necessary because of Congress's failure to pass the annual funding bills despite the existence of a bipartisan agreement on the overall spending level for FY 2015. Disagreements regarding the number and nature of proposed amendments stalled further progress on the individual bills this summer. The American Psychological Association (APA) and other advocacy organizations have expressed frustration, on behalf of their members, that the appropriations process has broken down so much that not a single funding bill was passed by both houses of Congress before the end of the fiscal year. The Coalition for Health Funding, to which APA belongs, sent a letter to the House and Senate urging Congress to pass an omnibus spending package that includes the Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill before the end of the calendar year.
We at the Federal Budget Blog encourage readers to take advantage of the accessibility of members of Congress during the next month or so, and make sure they know that research funding is an important issue. That message can't be repeated often enough. We will be back in touch after the election, or earlier if funding developments should warrant.