Joint U.S. House-Senate conference on the first FY12 “minibus” appropriations bill begins

On Thursday, members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate met to begin working out their differences on a FY12 spending measure for three groups of federal agencies.

The 18 senators and 20 House members are tasked with agreeing upon spending levels in a bill that will fund federal agriculture, criminal justice, transportation and housing agencies, as well as science-related agencies, such as the National Science Foundation and NASA.

U.S. House Appropriations Chairman Hall Rogers, R-Ky., said the joint conference “represents the will of the Congress to return to regular order and an open, transparent and inclusive funding process.” (Read the full statement here.) He acknowledged that the Thursday meeting was largely introductory in nature but said that subcommittee chairmen will soon begin negotiating the individual provisions of the bill.

The conference is slated to end next week, and both chambers are to hold final votes on the measure by Nov. 17, only a day before the continuing resolution that is keeping the government running expires.

Another short-term continuing resolution is expected to be attached to minibus bill to keep the government running through mid-December while Congress continues negotiations.

The ASBMB Office of Public Affairs will continue to keep the research community updated on the ongoing appropriations process.

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