[CogSci] Update and Announcements

Rui Meng rmeng5 at wisc.edu
Tue Feb 13 10:46:44 PST 2018

(1) Federal Funding for Science

Since the start of Fiscal Year 2018 on October 1, 2017, Congress has been unable to jump start funding for federal agencies – that is, until the wee hours of the morning on Friday, Feb. 9th.  At that time, Congress was able to pass a short-term spending bill that also put into place the markers needed to finalize the FY 2018 appropriations bills and move onto FY 2019 appropriations hearings.

•      Continuing Resolution Passes; Government Closes and Reopens

o   Early on Feb. 9th, Congress passed a 5th Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government funded through March 23rd.  To get there, funding for the government lapsed for about six hours after midnight, but then the Senate and subsequently the House passed the measure. The big news is that the CR included a budget deal to raise the caps on spending, providing appropriators top-line numbers that they can use to wrap up appropriations bills for the current fiscal year. Appropriators have stated that they will need a month to get the omnibus spending bill together, once they know exactly how much they have to spend this fiscal year. The CR also suspended the debt ceiling until March 2019, removing another hurdle this year.

•      Budget Caps Lifted for Two Years

o   While getting the CR passed was big news, getting a budget deal to raise the spending caps was even bigger. Reaching an agreement across the aisle on spending caps was one of the major sticking points (beyond DACA) to finalizing the spending bill for FY 2018. Even better, the budget deal provides top-line spending numbers for both FY 2018 and FY 2019, meaning that it should be easier to write the appropriations bills next fiscal year.  Spending caps were raised for defense by $80B and $85B in FY18 and FY19, respectively. Non-defense caps were raised by $63B and $68B over the next two years.

•      Wrapping Up FY 2018 Appropriations

o   Now that an overall spending number is known for FY 2018, appropriators will work will work on an omnibus bill and urge leadership to get it passed before the current CR expires on March 23rd. If Congress can pass the omnibus by that time, federal agencies will then know what they can spend for the current fiscal year and will adjust their spending accordingly. In most years, a budget deal would be enough for appropriators to finalize the FY 2018 spending bills. However, reports have emerged that a “side agreement” among Congressional leaders was also reached, and it focuses on how new nondefense funding should be spent (infrastructure improvements, opiod epidemic, etc). Using the higher budget caps, appropriators will have to sort out the details regarding what the side agreement means for getting an omnibus spending bill passed.

•      President’s Budget Request for FY 2019 Appropriations

o   As Congressional appropriators work on an omnibus bill for FY 2018, the President’s budget request for FY 2019 (which begins later this year on October 1, 2018) was delivered to Capitol Hill on Monday, Feb 12th. I am sorting through the details of the President’s request and will share highlights with you soon. Regardless of what’s in the President’s request, however, Congress makes its own decisions about spending, and last year, they ignored many of the proposed cuts requested by the White House.

•      Starting FY 2019 Appropriations Process

o   This is always a busy time of the year on Capitol Hill, and this year is no exception.  Soon the appropriators will begin their hearings on FY 2019 appropriations, although their schedule and number of witnesses may be condensed to accommodate a shorter time frame in which to get the bills passed, given that FY 2018 is still in the works and they will definitely want to use the August recess for campaigning in advance of the mid-term elections in November.

(2) FABBS Blog Launched

In an effort to provide the community a place to exchange information and updates on various topics, we recently launched a blog space. The first article provided an update on the clinical trials issue. A second blog post will be posted soon. It will address the delay in implementation of the Common Rule and whether there is any reason for the behavioral and brain science community to be concerned. We’ll share the link in our upcoming newsletter. You can sign up to receive the monthly e-newsletter at fabbs.org<http://fabbs.org/>.


FABBS – Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain ...<http://fabbs.org/>
FABBS is a coalition of scientific societies that share an interest in advancing the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior. We communicate the importance and ...

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