Today at Berkeley Lab

Director’s Message on Federal Budget and Continuing Resolution

I hope you had an enjoyable holiday break. I have been looking back over the last year and am very pleased to report that we had an outstanding year of research accomplishments at Berkeley Lab, and we made substantial progress in building the facilities that will make future breakthroughs possible. As a result of this record of achievement, we received top marks from the Department of Energy (DOE) for mission accomplishment in FY17. Thanks for your contributions to and support of our scientific excellence.

The federal government is still operating on a continuing resolution (CR) that extends funding through January 19, which is almost four months into FY18. The House passed its Appropriations bill for the DOE and other science agencies last summer, and the Senate has reported the DOE funding bill out of committee. The American Institute of Physics maintains a handy tracker to the federal science budget, which includes all of the relevant numbers. If Congress and the Administration are able to agree on high-level budget targets for FY18 (and possible for FY19), the House and Senate will negotiate an Omnibus spending bill that includes all twelve appropriations bills that could be passed and signed into law. Until that time, it is expected that they will continue to pass CRs that make it possible to keep this Lab operating.

At the same time, the Administration is preparing an FY19 President’s Budget Request (PBR) to send to Congress, most likely early in February. As you will remember from last year, this is the first stage in what is usually a long and complex budget process. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will start working on the FY19 budget as soon as the PBR arrives, holding hearings and drafting their versions of the budget. This will start a months-long Appropriations process that will probably look much like FY18. I will write updates in this space about the progress, much as I did last year.

Meanwhile, all of you are engaged in carrying out the Lab’s critical mission, fostering groundbreaking research over a wide range of science and technology, with a special focus on national priorities. The funding we are receiving under the FY 18 CR will allow us to meet our goals for the year. Please keep doing this great work, and happy new year.