Senate Passes CR, Astronaut Artifacts Bill, Heads Home — update

Senate Passes CR, Astronaut Artifacts Bill, Heads Home — update

UPDATE:  President Obama signed the astronaut artifacts bill into law on September 26, and the CR on September 28.

In the wee hours this morning (Saturday, September 22, 2012), the Senate passed the FY2013 Continuing Resolution (CR) as well as the “astronaut artifacts” bill.  Then, like the House, it recessed until after the elections.

The CR and the astronaut artifacts bill (H.R. 4158) already passed the House so they can now be presented to the President, who is expected to sign them.

The CR funds the government for the first half of FY2013 because Congress did not pass any of the 12 regular appropriations bills for FY2013, which begins on October 1.   Generally, all government agencies including NASA, NOAA and DOD are funded at their FY2012 levels through March 27, 2013.

The astronaut artifacts bill clarifies the ownership status of certain items that astronauts took with them on their space missions, such as personal logs, flight manuals and checklists.

President Obama used his weekly address this morning to lambast Congress, saying they “skipped town” leaving a lot of important work unfinished.

Strictly speaking, Congress did not “recess” since each chamber will meet in pro forma sessions, a tactic used in recent years to prevent the President (whoever it is) from making recess appointments.   No legislative activity will take place, however, so for all intents and purposes they are in recess.   The House is scheduled to return on November 13, a week after the elections.   The exact date when the Senate will return was not immediately available, but is expected to be about the same time.

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