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White House, Congress Agree to Budget Deal
 
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October 2015
 


The White House and Congress have reached a deal that would allow for modest increases in spending for federal agencies that fund education research, including the Institute of Education Sciences, National Science Foundation, and National Institutes of Health, among others.

The bill—the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015—passed the Senate by a vote of 64-35 on October 30. It passed the House earlier, having been approved by a vote of 266–167 on October 28. President Barack Obama said he intends to sign the bill “as soon as it reaches my desk,” ahead of the November 3 deadline for the debt limit.

Based on initial analysis of the bill, it would raise the current budget caps by $80 billion over two years and extend the debt ceiling until March 5, 2017.

As was encouraged by the NDD (Non-Defense Discretionary) United Coalition, of which AERA is a member, the bill eliminated most of the harmful sequester spending caps for nondefense discretionary programs for the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years. Another coalition to which AERA belongs, the Committee for Education Funding, also urged lawmakers to pass the bill.

A detailed summary of the legislation and its potential implications for federal research agencies is available from AAAS.

While the budget deal is good news, spending bills still need to be written. House and Senate committees will also need to revisit appropriations bills using the new budget numbers, setting the stage for possible political gamesmanship that will make matters uncertain. Congress must still approve all appropriations bills, either individually or as omnibus legislation, by December 11 to prevent a government shutdown.

 
 
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