What's Happening in Space Policy December 28, 2015 – January 8, 2016

What's Happening in Space Policy December 28, 2015 – January 8, 2016

Here is our list of space policy events for the next TWO weeks as we transition from one year to the next:  December 28, 2015 – January 8, 2016.   The 114th Congress officially begins its second session next week and the House will meet for legislative business, but the Senate is not scheduled to be back until January 11.

During the Weeks

We all have one more week to relax and get to the bottom of the piles of stuff on our desks before 2016 starts off with fervor.  As usual, two big annual meetings are on tap for the first week of January that promise to be full of news about space science and engineering — the American Astronomical Society’s meeting in Kissimmee, FL and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) SciTech 2016 conference in San Diego.  Most of these big conferences offer key sessions via webcast either in real time or for later viewing.  Check their websites for details.

The 2nd session of the 114th Congress officially begins on January 4, though the House and Senate meet only in pro forma sessions that day.  The first legislative business day for the House is January 5.  House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has not yet posted the House schedule for January 5-8. The Senate goes back to work on January 11 (and the State of the Union address is on January 12). 

It being a presidential election year, the House and Senate will meet for fewer days than usual in 2016 and the schedule is front-end loaded.  They will be busy through early July, but then have an extended summer break — from July 18 to September 6 — because the party conventions to select their presidential tickets are the last two weeks of July (Republicans in Cleveland the week of July 18; Democrats in Philadelphia the following week).   Both return for most of September — when they will have to do something about FY2017 appropriations before the end of the fiscal year on September 30 — and the House will recess for the entire month of October to allow members to focus on reelection campaigns.  The Senate currently plans to meet the first week of October only.  They both return briefly in mid-November after the elections and for part of December.   What all that means is the lion’s share of congressional action will be in the first six months of the year.  In total, the House is scheduled to be in session for just 111 days in 2016, the fewest since 2006 according to the AP. The Senate plans to be in session for 149 days.

Following are the events for the next two weeks that we know about as of Sunday morning, December 27.  Check back throughout the weeks for anything we learn about later and add to our Events of Interest list on our main page.

In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

January 4-8, 2016

January 5

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