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NSF & Congress

Continuing Resolution Funds the Federal Government Through April 2017; President signs COMPETES reauthorization into law

January 10, 2017

U.S. Capitol

Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) on Dec. 9 that funds federal government operations through April 28, 2017. The bill maintains the $1.07 trillion budget cap and extends current funding levels for most agencies. The Senate vote, which came shortly before the midnight Dec. 9 expiration of the previous short-term funding bill, was 63-to-36. The House overwhelmingly approved the measure, H.R. 2028, on Dec. 8. President Obama signed it into law on Dec. 10.

Senate passage of the CR was delayed for several hours by a dispute over a provision extending health benefits for retired coal miners. The delay pushed back Senate action on several bills cleared for the floor including the compromise version of the American COMPETES Act reauthorization. The Senate approved the substitute version of S.3084, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, by unanimous consent on Dec. 10. The House agreed to the bill on Dec. 16, and S.3084 was sent to the White House on Dec. 28. UPDATE: The President signed the measure into law on January 6, 2017. It is Public Law 114-329. Among the provisions, the law affirms the merit review process and changes the name of EPSCoR to Established (instead of Experimental) Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. The full text is available here.

In other news, the House and Senate have elected their leaders for the 115th Congress. Senate Republicans re-elected Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky as Senate Majority Leader, and House Republicans elected Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to a second term as Speaker of the House. Senate Democrats elected Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York as the Minority Leader, succeeding Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada who retired at the end of the 114th Congress. And, House Democrats re-elected Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California as Minority Leader by a vote of 136 to 63. Pelosi had faced a challenge from Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio.

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