Two months past the start of the current fiscal year, Congress has still not passed appropriations bills for FY11. On Dec. 3, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution that will keep government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, funded at their FY10 levels through Dec. 18. This CR extends the previous version of the CR, which was set to expire at midnight on Dec. 3.
Little hope remains that Congress will approve, or even vote on, any of the 12 individual appropriations bills before the end of 2010, leaving the funding outlook cloudy. One option would be to extend the current CR into 2011, allowing the new Congress the opportunity to get appropriations finalized. On the other hand, Congress could pass an omnibus bill, which combines bills from multiple departments into a single bill. This maneuver would have the effect of requiring Congress to vote on just one overall appropriations bill, instead of twelve separate votes on bills from each of the appropriations subcommittees.
The delay in voting allows constituents more opportunities to advocate for increased research funding. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology has issued an e-alert to its members (including members of ASBMB) urging them to email their representatives. Use this link to made your voice heard: http://capwiz.com/faseb/issues/alert/?alertid=20222501