Monthly program update for Advocacy
Failure of Congress and the President to agree to a budget deal in February led to the implementation of the $85 billion discretionary budget sequester on March 1.
This month marked the end of the 112th Congress, which worked up to the last moment to pass legislation on New Year’s Day to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for families making less than $450k.
Congress was out of session for most of October after having passed a stopgap spending measure to fund the federal government through the end of March 2013 at current year levels.
Earlier this month, the President signed into law H.R. 5872, which requires the administration to provide a report within 30 days detailing how it would implement the $109 billion sequester called for in the Budget Control Act of 2011.
A government shutdown will be avoided this fall as Congressional leaders agreed to vote on a continuing resolution for the six months of Fiscal Year 13, funding federal programs at approximately current year funding levels.
This month, the U.S. House of Representatives approved by a vote of 247-163 the fiscal year 2013 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill (HR 5326), which funds the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies for the next fiscal year.
Congressional appropriators got off to an early start this spring with both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees approving FY 2013 Commerce-Justice-Science spending bills in April with House and Senate floor consideration expected this month.
On March 7, 2012, Ocean Leadership held its annual Public Policy Forum at the United States Capitol Visitor Center. This year’s theme was the science of ocean, coastal and Great Lakes restoration.
In February, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 13 Budget. While the overall numbers for the ocean science agencies are relatively good, there are winners and losers within each agency.
Budget negotiations continued on Capitol Hill throughout the month of November with mixed success. Although the Deficit Reduction Supercommittee halted work on November 21 after failing to reach an agreement identifying the required $1.2 trillion in budgetary savings, an appropriations measure to fund major science agencies for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President this month.
Determining FY12 appropriations levels before the expiration of the current stopgap funding on November 18 was a prominent item on the Congressional agenda during the month of October.
After returning from the August recess, both the House and the Senate have quickly taken up legislation addressing appropriations for fiscal year 2012, restoration of the Gulf Coast, and energy development and production.
Congress has been on recess for the majority of the month of August and will resume next week after the Labor Day weekend. When they return next week, they will be very busy, tackling issues such as the debt ceiling, FY12 appropriations, and legislation such as S 1400 (RESTORE Act), which was introduced by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) shortly before the August recess.
While the nation’s eyes have been focused clearly on the debt ceiling debate in Washington, Congress has also been working on the annual appropriations bills, as well as a suite of oil spill and energy bills.
President Obama declared June 2011 National Ocean’s Month to remind the nation of the importance of the oceans to our heritage, national security, and economic vitality.
Congress has been on recess for two weeks in April and will reconvene on May 2. However, a government shut-down was averted at the eleventh hour as President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) and Speaker of the House Boehner (R-OH) reached a budget accord.
Six months into the fiscal year, Republicans and Democrats continue to battle over the FY11 budget. Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that negotiators had reached a tentative agreement to cut $33 billion in spending from the FY10 levels.
On February 10, 2011, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership and four other organizations (American Geophysical Union, Sea Grant Association, Alliance for Earth Observations, and the National Federation of Regional Associations on Coastal and Ocean Observing) hosted an Ocean and Coastal Science Community Welcome Reception for the 112th Congress.
The House and the Senate reconvened this month for the last session of the 111th Congress following mid-term elections. During the few weeks left in this session, Congress will have to deal with the FY11 Federal Budget.
The House and the Senate adjourned early this month to prepare for the mid-term elections taking place Tuesday, November 2. Both House and Senate will reconvene on Monday, November 15. The legislative calendar for the lame duck session remains uncertain.
Congress has been in summer recess over the past few weeks and will reconvene on September 13, 2010. Upon their return, the Senate is expected to consider an Oil Spill and Energy Legislation Package and both chambers will deal with FY11 appropriations.
On July 19, 2010, President Obama’s Ocean Policy Task Force released their final recommendations and President Obama signed an Executive Order to establish their recommendations into a National Ocean Policy.
On June 3rd, Ocean Leadership held the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Scientific Symposium at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The one-day meeting brought together over 200 scientists to discuss the urgent science issues involved in the response actions to this spill.
To date, the United States government has hosted two science summits to address and coordinate the federal response to the spill. Ocean Leadership will convene a third meeting at Louisiana State University (LSU) on Thursday, June 3, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.