Following a compressed September session, Congress is back in recess again until after the November 8 election. Before leaving Washington, Congress approved a Continuing Resolution to avert a shutdown and fund government operations through early December.
The stopgap appropriations bill that Congress approved just two days before the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 provides FY2017 funding through December 9 for nearly all of the federal agencies. The only exception was appropriations for military construction and veterans—which received full FY2017 funding at a slightly higher level. The rest of the agencies were funded in the short term at FY2016 levels. For those agencies, this unfortunately means they can't start new programs or projects. The measure also provided additional resources for flood relief and to combat the Zika virus.
When Congress returns for a lame-duck session in mid-November, members will need to finish their work on FY2017 appropriations. There are essentially four possible scenarios. Congress could pass:
- the remaining 11 appropriations bills (extremely unlikely);
- another Continuing Resolution (either for the remainder of FY2017 or for a few months into the new Congress/Administration);
- a series of "minibuses" (smaller combinations of spending bills); or
- a larger, omnibus appropriations measure.
Shimkus Meets Chancellor Jones, Tours Abbott Power Plant
Rep. John Shimkus—who represents part of Champaign County—visited the Urbana-Champaign campus on Tuesday. He first sat down with Urbana's new chancellor, Dr. Robert Jones, to get acquainted and to hear about Chancellor Jones' vision for the campus.
He then toured Abbott Power Plant, where he was briefed on the plant's unique qualities, such as its combined heat and power system, fuel flexibility, and emissions reduction equipment. He also received information on the work that the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center at the Urbana's Prairie Research Institute is doing with the plant.
Rodney Davis Holds Mass Transit Presser at Urbana
As part of a mass transit tour, Rep. Rodney Davis held a press conference on the Urbana-Champaign campus with representatives from Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (C-U MTD) and Facilities & Services Interim Executive Director Helen Coleman. Coleman specifically highlighted the Multimodal Corridor Enhancement (MCORE) Project, which is supported by a $15 million federal TIGER grant. The project will make significant transportation network infrastructure improvements in the University District that will directly benefit the greater campus community. Rep. Davis provided a support letter for the grant application.
CEO AD DEMONSTRATES SUPPORT FOR BASIC RESEARCH
A group of business leaders recently signed on to an advertisement expressing support for federal basic research funding. The ad highlights some examples of world-changing technologies that are the result of basic scientific research. It ran in the print edition of the New York Times on September 26 and in the print edition of the Wall Street Journal on September 30. Doug Oberhelman, the CEO of Illinois-based Caterpillar, Inc., was among the signatories. You can check out the social media surrounding the ad through the hashtag #FundBasicResearch.
Melissa Haas | Acting Director | OGR Federal Relations