In the closing hours of September 22, the U.S. Senate approved House Joint Resolution 117, a Continuing Resolution that will fund the federal government until March 27, 2013.  The final vote was 62 to 30. The U.S. House of Representatives had previously approved the measure by a vote of 329-91 on September 13.

The temporary funding measure allows for up to a 0.6 percent increase in spending over Fiscal Year FY12 levels, but overall continues funding at the current rate of operations for federal agencies, programs and services.  The bill makes minimal changes to FY12 spending levels, except in cases that would require disaster relief funding, war funding, or would otherwise cause detrimental changes to government operations and oversight.  The bill authorizes a top-line spending level of $1.047 trillion, or about $8 billion above Fiscal Year 2012 levels, matching the funding level allowed under last year’s Budget Control Act.

On September 28, President Obama signed the measure into law, averting a lapse in government funding for the new federal fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2012.

Depending on the outcome of elections, Congress may still take up the regular appropriations bills for FY13 before the Continuing Resolution expires in March. The stop-gap measure includes funding for a handful of special exceptions. But in general, programs that were not funded in FY12 will not receive any funding under the Continuing Resolution, leaving many new programs and activities languishing until Congress can pass the regular FY13 appropriations bills.

The FY 2012 funding levels for key science agencies include:

  • $7.0 billion for the National Science Foundation;
  • $18.7 billion for National Aeronautics and Space Administration;
  • $751 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology;
  • $30.9 billion for the National Institutes of Health;
  • $4.46 billion for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science;
  • $2.3 billion for other Department of Energy R&D programs; and
  • $12.4 billion for Department of Defense basic science and technology programs.

The Department of Education’s FY12 budget was $68.1 billion.
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