Happy New Year! After a short break for the holidays, Congress will return to Washington, DC next week to resume work on FY2014 appropriations before the current CR runs out on January 15th. House and Senate Appropriations committee staff worked through the holidays to try to pull together a draft omnibus bill, a legislative package that would combine all 12 spending bills into one large piece of legislation. About half of the 12 bills – those covering the Departments of Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Defense, Veterans Affairs, and major science agencies – have been largely finalized. But some of the remaining bills are controversial and appropriators may not be able to come to agreement on overall funding for those agencies, including Labor-HHS-Education and Interior. If they can’t come to some agreement to include funding for these agencies in the omnibus they will likely advance a yearlong CR providing level funding. We should have confirmation one way or another by the middle of next week.