Congress returns, with a long science to-do list and not much time


Congress returns today from a 7-week summer break with a lengthy list of unfinished business, some of great interest to the U.S. research community—and just a few weeks to tackle it. Lawmakers aren’t likely to pare that list by much before they return to the campaign trail for a final push before Election Day on 8 November. But they will have a second shot when they return for a lame-duck session after voters have chosen a successor to President Barack Obama and a new Congress. The one big responsibility Congress can’t shirk is passing some kind of spending bill to keep the government running for the 2017 fiscal year, which begins on 1 October. Legislators this month are expected to put off a decision by temporarily extending 2016 spending levels into 2017 with a so-called continuing resolution (CR). Its duration is uncertain, but the most likely scenario is one that funds the government through late December.