Congress is getting back into the swing of things with hearings, nominations, and confirmations while the federal agencies are formulating their spend plans for the fiscal year that we are already a third of the way through. This will most likely take a few more weeks for some agencies and longer for others. We’ll keep you posted. Because the final FY14 appropriations were not completed until January, the President’s FY15 budget will be released late (by law it should be February 1), likely in March. If the President’s budget uses the discretionary spending caps negotiated with Congress in December, then we can expect roughly flat budgets for most agencies. However, the devil is in the details so we will be examining it very carefully. It is times like these that we need to continue articulating the importance of the ocean sciences as the appropriations process becomes a zero-sum game. So, we plan on ratcheting up our efforts to make the case. I strongly recommend that when you have the chance to talk with one of your Representatives or Senators, you do the same. Politics is a contact sport and from my perspective the people on the Hill really enjoy hearing about science and become engaged in it through your enthusiasm and passion.
It has been so cold throughout the country; my guess is that a lot of people can’t wait for the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Hawaii in a couple of weeks! Enjoy the weekend.