UPDATE 2: Events of Interest: Week of September 26-October 1, 2011

UPDATE 2: Events of Interest: Week of September 26-October 1, 2011

UPDATES: NASA’s press conferences about asteroids and, separately, about Mercury, both on Thursday, have been added.

The following events may be of interest in the coming week. For more details, check our calendar on the right menu or click the links below.

During the Week

Congress has once again put itself in the position of “brinksmanship” where the House and Senate are at odds and keeping the government running hangs in the balance. As many of you will recall from this spring when Congress dealt with a succession of Continuing Resolutions (CRs) because the 12 regular appropriations bills had not passed, in April they finally passed a CR that funded the government for the remainder of FY2011. FY2011 ends on Friday (September 30). Although Republicans criticized Democrats (who then controlled the House) last year for not passing any of the bills, they now are in the same position. None of the appropriations bills that would fund the government for FY2012 has passed. Thus, another CR is needed or a government shutdown will occur on October 1. On top of that, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) disaster relief account is expected to run out of money on Tuesday to deal with all the natural catastrophes that have hit the United States this year, so Congress must appropriate more money into that account or federally-funded disaster relief efforts will end.

Details on how Congress got itself into this situation are explained in a previous SpacePolicyOnline.com article. Basically, the Senate passed a bill to provide $6.9 billion to FEMA. The House passed a bill to give FEMA only about half that much ($3.5 billion) and required “offsets” — cuts to balance the expenditures — which historically is not required for disaster relief funds. It wrapped that action into the CR to keep the government operating. The Senate objected and tabled the House bill both because of the offsets and the fact that the House provided only half the FEMA funds.

Both the House and Senate were scheduled to be in recess this week as some members observe Rosh Hashanah, but now both are scheduled to be in session on Monday at least. What other matters might be considered as negotiations over the CR proceed has not been announced.

Tuesday-Thursday, September 27-29

Thursday, September 29

Thursday-Saturday, September 29-October 1

Friday-Sunday, September 30-October 2

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