ONW: Week of January 6, 2014 – Number 224

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

I want to wish all of you a Happy New Year and hope you had a restful and enjoyable holiday season. Things are beginning to pick up speed here in Washington as Congress is back in session this week. Of course, the big issue front and center is the budget.  Three months into the fiscal year, Congressional Appropriators are negotiating the final details of an omnibus FY14 appropriations measure.  The good news is that the fiscal deal reached in December between House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) replaced some of the budget sequester so that there will be a slight increase in federal spending above FY13 for non-defense programs in 2014.  That negotiation basically cut the effect of the sequester in half. The other effect to the budget deal is that we can actually get back to the yearly appropriations process, which is good news for science since it usually does better than the rest of the federal budget. However, defense program spending will remain flat for 2014, which is significantly below what the House and Senate had budgeted. This will surely have an effect on the ONR budget. The omnibus will effectively set the baseline for federal spending, which is expected to be flat for the next two fiscal cycles (2015 and 2016).

The overall effect of all of this should result in a small increase in the NSF budget for 2014. The same should be true for NOAA, but the devil is in the details and the individual program allocations will determine how well ocean sciences does in the end in the individual agencies. Satellite programs add another complication with respect to how well the ocean side does at NOAA. Within a few days or so we should know the details of the spending plan since the current continuing resolution expires on January 15. Of course, Congress can extend that date! Everything seems to be last minute in Washington these days. As soon as we have specific information, we will share it with you.

In the meantime, enjoy the second weekend of the new year.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership