Events of Interest: Week of December 12-16, 2011

Events of Interest: Week of December 12-16, 2011

The following events may be of interest in the coming week – though we know of very few as everyone begins wrapping up their activities for 2011.  The House and Senate are both in session this week and have full agendas, including many hearings though not on space policy-related topics.   

During the Week 

If all goes according to plan, this will be the final week of the first session of the 112th Congress.   Before the House and Senate can go home, however, they have critically important legislation to pass.   Among the most important items from a space-policy standpoint are the following: 

  • Final passage of the FY2012 Defense Authorization bill (S. 1867).   House and Senate negotiators have been working on the final version since the Senate passed the bill on December 1.  Rumors are that the conference version will be completed as early as tomorrow, Monday, December 12, but a wrinkle developed over the weekend.   The Washington Post reports that Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) released a report that the bill contains $834 million in earmarks, including many by Republican freshman who campaigned against earmarks.   Legislators pledged not to include earmarks in legislation for this year and next year.  Whether McCaskill’s report will delay final negotiations remains to be seen.
  • Final passage the remaining FY2012 appropriations bills.  Three of the bills were bundled together and passed as a “minibus” earlier this month, but agencies and departments in the remaining nine bills – including the Department of Defense (DOD) – have not yet passed.  Currently they are bundled together into H.R. 2055, but two (Labor-HHS and Interior) are especially controversial and may be pulled out and dealt with separately.    The current Continuing Resolution (CR) that is funding these agencies expires on Friday, so some action must be taken before then. 

Thursday, December 15 

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