Yesterday, both chambers of Congress approved a short-term continuing resolution spending bill (HR 5325) that will keep the federal government funded through Dec. 9.
The resolution will fund federal agencies at the top-line, fiscal 2017 level of $1.067 trillion, reduced by 0.5 percent to comply with spending cap regulations.
The Senate first approved the continuing resolution, which includes $1.1 billion in emergency funding to contend with the Zika virus. Of this $1.1 billion, more than $150 million will be allocated to the National Institutes of Health for research and vaccine development.
After the Senate approved the resolution, the House approved it by a vote of 342-85. Following House approval, the bill was submitted to the White House, where President Obama signed it into law.
Experts expect lawmakers to adjourn from their session early to return to their respective districts to continue campaigning for the upcoming elections. After the elections, they will return to Washington to hold lame-duck sessions, during which they will have only a few short weeks to vote on and pass a longer-term spending bill or risk another government shutdown after Dec. 9.
With the House Appropriations Committee recommending a $1 billion increase and the Senate Appropriations Committee recommending a $2 billion increase to the NIH budget for FY17, the scientific community is hoping for approval of a FY17 omnibus package that includes an NIH budget increase.
No lame-duck schedule has been released at this point, but House members are preliminary marking down Nov. 14 as a return date.