With only days left before a stopgap funding measure expires, Congress finally found agreement on federal funding levels for fiscal year (FY) 2015. The deal was reached more than two months after the fiscal year began.
The lead negotiators on the deal released a joint statement about the legislation: â€œAs we close in on our December 11 deadline, we now ask that the House and Senate take up and pass this bill as soon as possible, and that the President sign it when it reaches his desk,â€ wrote Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Representative Harold Rogers (R-KY). â€œThe American people deserve the certainty of a continuously functioning and responsible government, and the knowledge that both parties in Congress have heard their demands and have worked cooperatively on their behalf.â€
Notably, the National Science Foundation would receive a 2.4 percent increase over the current level, for a total of $7.34 billion. This is higher than President Obama requested, but less than the amount passed by the House of Representatives. Research funding would grow by $125 million and education programs would be boosted by nearly $20 million. This would enable the agency to award 350 new competitive grants in 2015.
The bill has yet to be voted on by either chamber of Congress, but is expected to be considered soon.