ONW: Week of December 16, 2013 – Number 223

Bob Gagosian (Photo by Will Ramos / Ocean Leadership)President’s Corner

Well, I guess there is still hope for Congress to work together. After being overwhelmingly approved last week by the House of Representatives, the Senate this week passed the budget deal negotiated by Budget Committee Chairs Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Patty Murray (D-WA).  The deal will reduce the budget sequester for discretionary spending for the next two years and overall, it splits the difference between the allocations that the House ($ 967 Billion) and Senate ($ 1.058 Trillion) appropriators used to draft their spending bills. While this deal does not completely replace the budget sequester, it does eliminate any future cuts from current funding levels and provides appropriators a top-line allocation for the next two years from which they can hopefully return to regular order.  This is good news because it means the federal agencies will actually have a budget so they can plan for their spending activities. Currently, House and Senate Appropriations Chairs Harold Rogers (R-KY) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) are negotiating the top-line spending figures to be allocated for each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees.  Once that has been decided, we will have a better idea of the funding available to support the major federal science agencies important to ocean sciences (NSF, NOAA, ONR and NASA).  Until this is approved, the federal government will continue to operate under a continuing resolution at FY2013 spending levels through January 15, 2014.  We will keep you posted as soon as we have some definitive information on these agencies budgets. However, keep in mind that it probably will be several more months before we know the specific spend plans for the individual divisions and programs within these agencies.

This will be my last President’s Corner in 2013; it certainly hasn’t been a boring year! However, it is gratifying that the year is ending on a positive budget resolution, especially compared to what could have occurred. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season with family and friends.  Get some rest and relaxation because 2014 is shaping up to be another interesting year, and we will have an election as well. It is never dull in this town.

Bob


Consortium for Ocean Leadership