Senate Clears A Third Stopgap FY2022 Funding Bill

Senate Clears A Third Stopgap FY2022 Funding Bill

As Senators literally headed for the doors to board an airplane to take them to a high level conference in Germany, they passed a new Continuing Resolution to keep the government operating through March 11. The existing CR expires tomorrow.

As typical, action came down to the wire. The departure of a bipartisan congressional delegation to the Munich Security Conference had to be delayed because the 14 Senators on the trip had to stay and vote on several amendments and then the bill itself. (Nine House members are traveling there, too. Vice President Harris is already there as head of the U.S. delegation.)

In the end, none of the amendments were adopted and the bill passed 65-27. The House passed it last week, so it now goes to President Biden for signature.

Fiscal Year 2022 began on October 1, 2021, but Congress has yet to pass any of the 12 appropriations bills. Last week, the top Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees signaled that they have agreed on a framework for all the bills and expect to pass them in a single “omnibus” package by the new deadline. This is the third CR for FY2022. CRs keep departments and agencies at their existing spending levels, in this case FY2021.

The individual bills that fund NASA and NOAA (Commerce-Justice-Science) and DOD (Defense) were reported from the House Appropriations Committee, but did not pass the House. The Senate Appropriations Committee did not report either bill. Instead, the Democratic leadership simply released their versions of the bills in October because Republicans refused to negotiate with them until quite recently.

The House CJS bill would fund NASA at $25.038 billion, about $240 million more than the $24.802 Biden requested, which was a 6.6 percent increase over FY2021. The Senate bill is closer to the request, $24.837 billion.

President Biden has not yet submitted his FY2023 request. It was due the first Monday in February, but considering the FY2022 funding levels are not settled, the delay is unsurprising.

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