As we head into the long holiday weekend, please take the opportunity to rest, relax and enjoy so that we are all refreshed and focused for a strong finish to FY17. I also want to provide an update on where things stand with our budget for the coming fiscal year. Congress returns from recess next Tuesday and resumes consideration of a number of key legislative items over the next few weeks, including whether to raise or suspend the federal debt limit — the so-called “debt ceiling” — by the end of September.
I am optimistic that our lab will fare well in FY18 based on what I have seen so far. Members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation remain strong proponents of Argonne, and the funding increases for the lab that our representatives supported in the House and Senate appropriations bills indicate agreement with our major lab initiatives.
For example, the amount of funding recommended for the APS upgrade, which would position us well to continue on schedule, shows we are on the right track with our major initiative in X-ray science. And while the President’s Budget Request eliminated funding for the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, the House recommended one year of funding and the Senate is advocating for another fully funded five years, showing our materials and chemistry initiative is on target.
Funding uncertainties remain to be addressed in other programs and we are fully engaged with our stakeholders as we focus on continuing our important work in all areas. To learn more about all of our major initiatives and the lab’s overall strategies in research and development, technology transfer, site infrastructure, human resources and financial management, I encourage you to read the version of the Annual Lab Plan available in the Document Center.
While the budget process got underway several months ago, it is a process with many steps and stakeholders having input. Activity will be starting up again after Labor Day, and it is possible we will reach the end of September without a budget agreement for FY18. In this case, Congress may pass a Continuing Resolution, as they have done in years past, which would keep our funding at the FY17 level.
Rest and Rejuvenate
I promise to continue to provide budget updates as more information becomes available.
At this time, I ask — once again — that you stay the course and keep doing the high-quality work you do for Argonne, which helps us meet our mission. Your efforts and dedication are appreciated and I am grateful for your continued support.
Enjoy the holiday.