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US budget battles resume

Congress back in session, but prospects dim for timely passage of NIH, NSF spending bills

Ted Agres(tedagres@lycos.com)

With just 3 weeks left before they are scheduled to adjourn for the year, members of the US Senate and the US House of Representatives reconvened yesterday (September 7) to take up contentious budget appropriations for nearly every federal agency, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

But lawmakers, facing a truncated election-year schedule and burdened with some of the tightest discretionary spending constraints in recent years, are not likely to forge budget agreements for the fiscal year beginning October 1, congressional sources and research advocates say. As has happened in the previous 2 years, Congress will likely approve a series of continuing resolutions to keep the government funded until budget bills can be passed, reconciled, and signed into law, probably wrapped in an omnibus spending package. While a December "lame duck" legislative session is possible, lawmakers of both parties generally prefer not...

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