Today’s Tidbits: December 13, 2017

Today’s Tidbits: December 13, 2017

Here are our tidbits for December 13, 2017:  another short-term Continuing Resolution for everyone, except defense; Barry Myers nomination takes another step forward. Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter for more news and live tweeting of events.

Frelinghuysen Introduces Another Short-Term CR, But Defense Would Get Full Year Funding

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ). Credit: committee website

House Appropriations Committee chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) today introduced another short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund most of the government through January 19, 2018.  The existing CR expires on December 22.

One big difference between this and prior CRs is that it would provide defense funding, and only defense funding, for all of the rest of FY2018  (through September 30, 2018).

That is expected to meet a lot of resistance from Democrats who are determined to ensure that non-defense programs, including NASA and NOAA, are not subjected to deep cuts in order to pay for significant increases in defense spending.  Congress has not reached any agreement to raise the spending caps set by the 2011 Budget Control Act.  Based on appropriations action to date, the defense spending bill would significantly exceed its cap.  Democrats want to make sure that defense and non-defense programs are treated equally, so if the cap is raised for defense, it should also be lifted for non-defense programs.

They have a week and a half to reach agreement on something or the government will shut down at midnight on December 22.  Such an action three days before Christmas would be especially unpopular.

Barry Myers Nomination Moves One Step Forward

AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers.  Credit: Barry Myers’ LinkedIn page.

President Trump’s nomination of AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers to be the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of NOAA was approved by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee today.

The Myers nomination is controversial.  He is not a scientist, but a lawyer and a businessman.  Also, as Sen. Bill Nelson (the top Democrat on the committee) recounted during Myers’ confirmation hearing, Myers tried to get legislation passed in 2005 to prevent the National Weather Service from offering a product or a service that could be provided by the private sector. That move “would have directly benefited AccuWeather,” Nelson said, while putting Americans’ access “to free and potentially life-saving government weather forecasts” at risk.

Nelson continued his criticism at today’s markup saying he is not convinced that Myers will “safeguard the critical mission” of NOAA without any conflicts of interest.  “I will vote against his nomination, but with the hope that Mr. Myers will prove me wrong if he is confirmed.”

The committee approved the nomination on a 14-13 vote split along party lines.  All Democrats voted against him; all Republicans voted for him.  Myers still must be approved by the full Senate.  A date for that vote has not been announced.

Recently Published on

User Comments has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.