When we last discussed the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations, we were hopeful that the process was finally starting to move toward completion. A week later, we have some good news but we also have more bad news.
First, the good news: the Senate passed their minibus bundle of appropriations legislation, which includes the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill. This is the legislation that contains funding for the National Science Foundation, NIST, and NASA (House and Senate numbers). It means that Congressional leaders in both the House and Senate can start work on a compromise bill, which can then be considered by both chambers and passed into law.
Now, the bad news. First, Senate Democrats have blocked consideration of the Defense appropriation bill, citing no agreement on the spending allocations for all of the appropriations bill (called 302(b) allocations), as well as policy differences over funding the President’s proposed border wall. This would impact research at the Defense Department. Also, the likely impeachment of President Trump, and resulting Senate trial, are expected to consume all of Congress’ time for the next several months. With the current continuing resolution set to expire on November 21, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) is quoted as saying that without a “miracle” another stop-gap bill would be necessary. The likely time frame for that is to push completion of FY20 into February or March of 2020.
Please keep checking back for more updates.