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Congress Acts to Keep the Federal Government Open
 
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September 2015
 


The Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) on September 30, the final day of the 2015 fiscal year, to keep the federal government open. The House has until midnight to follow suit to avert a government shutdown starting October 1. 

The Senate-passed CR would fund the government through December 11. Most programs would be funded at a rate that is 0.21 percent less than their FY2015 funding levels. The CR does not include provisions to defund Planned Parenthood, which has become a major subject of controversy on Capitol Hill. House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) has been reported saying that House leaders plan to advance the CR.

Disagreements over the federal funding of Planned Parenthood in the FY2016 budget had created a standstill in the House. That was perceived to have changed when, on September 25, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced that he would resign from Congress at the end of October. 

Boehner’s resignation frees him from political backlash for introducing a “clean” CR that retains funding for Planned Parenthood. 

Beyond the issue of preventing a government shutdown, there is also an effort to raise the budgetary caps mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. AERA joined more than 2,500 organizations in signing on to a letter sent from NDD United to members of Congress, which called on lawmakers to implement a balanced approach to funding by raising budgetary caps to replace sequestration, and to ensure that any sequestration relief is divided equally between defense and nondefense spending. 

Additional Appropriations News

In addition, on September 10, AERA and the Learning and Education Academic Research Network (LEARN) sent a letter to members of the House Appropriations Committee to oppose cuts made to the Institute of Education Sciences for FY2016. More than 75 organizations and institutions of higher education, as well as more than 1,700 individuals in the research community, signed on to the letter.  The bill that the committee passed in July would reduce funding for IES by $164 million. 

AERA also joined 60 organizations earlier this month in sending a letter to House appropriators from the Census Project. This letter expressed concerns about the level of funding allocated for the planning of the 2020 Census.

 
 
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