ACTION ALERT! URGE Congress to FINISH the FY 2017 Budget
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Posted by: Bill Stoeffler
Action is needed NOW to compel Congress to finish its job on the Fiscal Year 2017 budget—this is our last, best chance to enact a comprehensive budget and avoid crippling delays in funding.
The 114th Congress is back for a post-election, “lame duck” session to complete its work on a handful of critical items. The most important piece of unfinished business is the completion of the FY 2017 appropriations. Although the fiscal year began on October 1, most of the federal government is currently funded through December 9 on a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) that merely extends 2016 funding levels. The use of a CR is intended as a stop-gap measure only, to allow additional time to finalize a budget. Some lawmakers, however, are proposing that Congress should pass a long-term CR to fund the government through the first quarter of next year. That timeframe places the CR fully halfway through the fiscal year, three months into a new Congress and well into a new Administration—with serious ramifications for our agencies of interest, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Institute of Education Sciences. Long-term CRs are problematic not only because they delay any funding increases slated for the new fiscal year, but they create uncertainty at federal agencies, which are then constrained in carrying out programs, including awarding grants and contracts. Here are some implications of a long-term CR:
· Disrupts ongoing research by causing delays in disbursement of new awards – not only delaying new awards but interrupting multi-year projects;
· Puts a proposed $2 billion increase at NIH on hold (and maybe in jeopardy); and,
· Prevents the hiring or promotion of federal employees in key positions.
Please contact your Member of Congress and urge them to oppose a long-term CR and finish work on FY 2017 appropriations NOW.
Here’s how in three simple steps.
1. Identify your member of Congress:
· Go to house.gov
· Type your HOME zip code into the box at the upper right (Find your Representative)
· Click the Representative’s name when it appears on the next page, and you will be directed to their web site.
2. Locate the "Contact" button on their website
· Use the form provided. If you have to select an issue area, type or select "Budget."
3. Cut and paste the message below:
Message for Congress:
As your constituent I urge you to complete work on FY 2017 appropriations this calendar year. Specifically, I ask you to oppose efforts to approve a long-term CR that would extend FY 2016 well into next year. I am your constituent and a scientist at (name of institution). My colleagues and I are engaged in important research and rely on federal science agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and other agencies to provide direct and indirect support.
[INSERT A SENTENCE OR TWO DESCRIBING YOUR WORK AS A RESEARCHER.)
A long-term CR will cause major disruptions in federally-sponsored research, especially for projects that are in the midst of multi-year funding. In addition, another CR will cause a substantial delay (or worse) of a slated $2 billion increase for NIH.
The 114th Congress has unfinished work to complete, and as your constituent, I urge you to work with your colleagues to complete the 2017 appropriations process. Congress should live up to its responsibilities to fund vital government services and functions, including scientific research.
Thank you for your consideration of my views.