Today’s Tidbits: January 29, 2018 – UPDATE

Today’s Tidbits: January 29, 2018 – UPDATE

Here are our tidbits for January 29, 2018:   House gets ready to pass new FY2018 DOD appropriations bill; House Appropriations Committee Chairman will retire;  Jeff Foust wins National Space Club’s Press Award.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

House Readies Passage of Another FY2018 DOD Appropriations Bill

The House will vote tomorrow (Tuesday) on a new FY2018 DOD appropriations bill.  The House Rules Committee cleared it for floor action this afternoon and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has it on the schedule for tomorrow. [UPDATE: The bill passed the House 250-166.]

The House passed FY2018 defense appropriations bills twice last year, but the Senate never took either of them up. House Republican leaders apparently are hoping for a different outcome this time.  The government is operating under a fourth temporary Continuing Resolution (CR) right now.  This one expires on February 8.  If no agreement on FY2018 appropriations is reached by then and there is yet another CR (which seems increasingly likely), or even another government shutdown, DOD at least would have its full year funding if this bill passes the House and Senate before then.  However, advocates for non-defense spending (like NASA and NOAA), may not want to give up the leverage of must-pass defense spending for fear the rest of the government will end up with CRs for the rest of the year.

As often happens when Congress is trying to pass legislation quickly, it has taken an unrelated bill (H.R. 695) that is already part way through the legislative process and amended it with the text of the new DOD appropriations bill reported from the House Appropriations Committee last week (H.R 4877).  Look for action on H.R. 695, not H.R. 4877.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Will Retire

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ).

Meanwhile, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) announced today that he will not run for reelection. It’s a bit of a surprise because this is his first term in the much-coveted spot of chairman of the Appropriations Committee, one of the most powerful positions in the House.  It takes a long time to ascend to such a position.  Frelinghuysen is in his 12th term in Congress.

Committee and subcommittee chair slots are term-limited for 6 years so he would have had four more to go.  Media reports suggest that he would have had a difficult reelection battle, however, as his once safe Republican district leans more Democratic.  So he is leaving.

He is the eighth committee chairman to decline to run for reelection, though most of the others were term-limited in their positions, like House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX).   If the Republicans keep control of the House in this year’s elections, there will be a lot of opportunity for others to rise up the ladder.

On the Appropriations Committee itself, it is likely that one of the subcommittee chairs will take the full committee slot and the subcommittee assignments will change.  What effect that could have on the Defense or Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittees, now chaired by Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) and John Culberson (R-TX), is anyone’s guess.  First they have to win their own election contests.

And then, of course, the Democrats could always win control of the House, which would change everything.

Jeff Foust Wins National Space Club Press Award

Jeff Foust. Credit: Jeff Foust’s LinkedIn page.

The National Space Club and Foundation announced its 2018 award winners today.  Our esteemed colleague at Space News, Jeff Foust, has been chosen as the winner of this year’s Press Award.  It will be presented at the Space Club’s annual Goddard Memorial Dinner in March.

In a press release, the Space Club said he is being recognized for his “nearly two decades of being at the forefront of reporting about all aspects of space activity — particularly policy and budget issues, and the rise of commercial space.” []

Jeff not only is a prolific author of articles for Space News, but he is founder and editor of The Space Review [], a weekly compendium of in-depth articles, commentary and reviews written by Jeff and others in the space policy community.

We could not be more delighted — congratulations, Jeff!

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