It has been a slow process for Congress to finalize the Fiscal Year 2022 budget. With the chaos caused by the fallout of the Midterm Election in November, and the typical political gamesmanship that happens when Congress tries to finish their work at the end of the year, it’s a good sign that late last night Congressional appropriators announced a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to finalize the yearly federal budget. That’s the good news.
The worrying news is that no details of the agreement have been made public. However, the word around Washington is that appropriators have largely settled on a 10 percent increase in defense spending. That means the disagreement has been on nondefense spending, which includes most federal research agencies. While we are also hearing that spending is likely get a boost too, this brings to mind how Fiscal Year 2022 (ie: last year’s budget) was finalized. That legislation was disappointing, particularly for NSF. But we will have to wait for legislative language to be released before knowing anything specific.
While the appropriators work, both chambers will move forward with a one-week continuing resolution (CR) to buy them time. The new deadline will be December 23rd. The House is expected to vote on the CR today; the Senate will likely act late Thursday or Friday. The situation is still fluid, so please keep checking back for more updates.