Federal Government Shutdown Averted for a Week While Members Ready Omnibus for FY 2017 for a Vote Next Week – On Friday, April 28 the House and Senate quickly approved a one week extension of the current FY 2017 continuing resolution (CR), keeping the Federal Government operating until May 5. This CR has kept most Federal agencies and programs operating at the FY 2016 level since the start of fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016). The House and Senate have been working to complete an omnibus appropriations act for FY 2017, that if passed and signed into law, would fund the Federal Government for the remaining five months of the fiscal year. Negotiators insist they are very close to completing their discussions on the FY 2017 spending measure. A couple of potential “show stopping” issues were dropped from inclusion in the omnibus including funding for the border security wall, however several other troublesome policy issues still remain on the table including: protections for endangered species and public lands; the Labor Department’s “fiduciary rule” on financial advice for retirees; several Securities and Exchange Commission rules on pay ratios; and financial relief for Puerto Rico. Congressional negotiators hope to complete and file the omnibus by Monday night setting up a final vote in both chambers by the end of next week.
One Hundred and Thirty Different Organizations Submit Testimony on the Importance of Geosciences Research to National Security Economic Development, and Public Safety – Last week 130 different organizations including major research universities, commercial interests, marine laboratories, and various societies and associations signed onto a piece of testimony that was submitted to both House and Senate Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittees. The testimony focused on the importance of the research conducted by NOAA and NASA and the support provided by those agencies and the NSF to the academic community for research and training activities. A copy of that testimony can be downloaded here.