Congress Struggles to Resolve Spending Impasse; Additional Committee Changes Announced
 
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December 2018

At press time, FY 2019 funding for seven appropriations bills—which includes funding for the National Science Foundation—is set to expire on December 21. The Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) on December 19 that would extend funding for the remaining appropriations bills through February 8, but President Donald Trump said that he would not sign the bill without additional funding for a border wall. In turn, the House passed a bill on December 20 that contains $5.7 billion for a border wall. The Senate does not have the 60 votes necessary to pass the House CR, setting up a potential partial government shutdown.

The Coalition for National Science Funding issued a statement urging Congress and President Trump to pass and enact the FY 2019 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill before the end of the year with at least $8.175 billion in funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF).

While Congress worked on wrapping up loose ends, leaders in the House and Senate announced additional committee changes for the 116th Congress (see November 2018 AERA Highlights). Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will become ranking member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Republicans have not yet announced a new chair for the committee to replace Sen. John Thune (R-SD). 

In the House, Democrats released recommendations for committee chairs including Rep. Nita Lowey (NY) for the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Bobby Scott (VA) for the renamed Education and Labor Committee, and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX) for the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. These positions will become official after a Democratic caucus vote. Announcements are forthcoming for appropriations subcommittee chairs and ranking members.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the Senate HELP Committee, announced that he will not run for re-election in 2020, setting up a leadership change in the 117th Congress.

 
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