Events of Interest: Week of November 12-16, 2012--UPDATE
Update: The NAC Science Committee meeting November 14-15 has been added.
The following events may be of interest in the week ahead. The House and Senate both return to work for legislative business on Tuesday after a multi-week recess.
During the Week
Congress returns to work on Tuesday after an election in which Democrats fared better than expected, gaining two seats in the Senate and several in the House. Although the changes won't take place until January when the 113th Congress convenes, the current members -- including those who are retiring or lost reelection -- undoubtedly will be deciding what to do, or not, knowing what next year's landscape looks like. At a top level, it looks the same as now, with Democrats in control of the White House and Senate, and Republicans in control of the House. At a more detailed level, however, just about everyone is surprised that the Democrats gained two seats in the Senate and several in the House. Six House races remain undecided (two in Arizona, two in California, and one each in Florida and North Carolina) so the exact ratio is not yet known. As of Sunday afternoon, the Democrats have a net gain of eight seats and the Republicans a net loss of two (the current ratio in the House is 242 Republicans and 193 Democrats). For those keeping score, the current ratio in the Senate is 51 Democrats, 47 Republicans, and 2 Independents. The new ratio in January will be 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans, and 2 Independents.
Between now and the end of the year, Congress and the President will have to decide what to do about the impending "fiscal cliff" when tax increases and spending decreases take place automatically unless Congress acts to change current laws. The magnitude of the impact on the economy would be such that the Congressional Budget Office, among others, is calling for action in order to avoid a deep recession.
In the shorter term, however, the House is scheduled to take up a bill on Tuesday to extend certain provisions of law that allow the government to indemnify launch services companies from third-party losses between $500 million and $2.7 billion. The current authority expires on December 31.
Other space policy-related events of interest include the following.
Monday-Tuesday, November 12-13
Monday-Friday, November 12-16
Tuesday, November 13
Wednesday, November 14
Wednesday-Thursday, November 14-15
Thursday, November 15
Friday, November 16
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