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Budget Uncertainty

A continuing resolution is looking more likely as the US Congress returns for its fall session and takes on the federal budget, Nature News writes. That combined with the start of a new administration in January may make for uncertainty at science funding agencies, it adds.

Currently, the US House of Representatives and Senate have different budget proposals that need to be reconciled. For instance, as GenomeWeb has reported, the House has proposed a $1.25 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health, while the Senate is seeking a $2 billion increase. Both budgets from the House and the Senate, though, don't include funds for the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, Nature News notes.

It adds that the length of time that a continuing resolution is in place will be affected by the November elections. Typically, it says, such temporary spending measures run out in December, but that would require lawmakers to return after the election for a lame duck session. At the same time, when a new administration takes over the following month, agency directors are usually replaced.

"Every­thing will increase in cost if there's uncertainty in the budget," Jason Callahan, space-policy adviser at the Planetary Society tells Nature News. "It's bad policy to run the federal government on continuing resolutions, but it's an election year."