The first two weeks of July were especially busy on Capitol Hill as lawmakers made a final legislative push before they left for recess. Appropriations bills were high on their agenda since Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 expires at the end September, and the Senate and House are now on a seven-week hiatus until September 6.
The final effort to pass the Senate’s Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017, S. 3000, fell short, effectively putting an end to this year’s efforts to pass individual appropriations bills. Surprisingly, the partisan split on whether or not to approve the bill, which funds defense agencies, including Navy research and development, was less about the bill itself (spending allocations were under the agreed-upon limit, and the bill passed unanimously out of committee) and wholly about distrust between parties.
On the House floor this week, Representatives Chellie Pingree (ME-1) and James Langevin (RI-2) spoke vehemently in support of the National Ocean Policy (NOP), with the congresswoman calling it a “vital tool ... to help ensure that our coastal communities and their stakeholders work together and coordinate their ideas and make plans to achieve local goals.”
Oceans month 2016 saw the reauthorization of the Freedom of Information Act become law, defense appropriations and COMPETES reauthorization advance, and a number of ocean-related bills be introduced in the House and Senate.
The Environment Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing to examine current and future U.S. weather satellite systems, as well as the partnerships that facilitate accurate and timely forecasting.
Just in time for International Plastic Bag Free Day on July 3rd, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation passed S. 3086, the Marine Debris Act Amendments of 2016.
The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday adopted a $500 million spending package for the Green Climate Fund, an international climate change adaptation program.
This week, Administrator McCarthy answered questions for nearly three hours at the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology hearing “Ensuring Sound Science at EPA.”
The House and Senate Small Business Committees have passed legislation to reauthorize the programs and to increase SBIR and STTR funding levels through H.R. 4783 and S. 2812, respectively, following three hearings this year.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday visited Norway’s extreme north, viewing areas where climate change has melted ice and opened new sea lanes.
The House Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017, H.R. 5293, and the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017 (CJS), S. 2837, have been making headway in the appropriations process.