Does extraterrestrial life exist? It's a question that, for the past 25 years, Congress didn't care to try and answer.
In 1993, just as SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) was getting its shit together with a massive program that would see observatories around the world equipped to search the universe for signals that may have been produced by intelligent alien life, Congress pulled the plug on funding them, preferring to throw money at NASA instead. In the U.S. Capital, SETI became a four-letter s-word that didn't end in 'hit.' While all of this is literally in the past, it's now also figuratively in the past as well.
The U.S. House of Representatives has proposed a bill that includes $10 million in NASA funding for the next two years "to search for technosignatures, such as radio transmissions, in order to meet the NASA objective to search for life's origin, evolution, distribution, and future in the universe." Such technosignatures would come in the form of radio waves that have the telltale features of being produced by TV or radio-type technologies. An intelligent civilization could also produce those signals intentionally to communicate with other civilizations like ours.
Having SETI funded by the U.S. Government, again, would represent one helluva boost in resources for scientists who, for the past two decades and change, have had to rely on funding from private interests like universities to continue their search for intelligent life beyond earth. However, as with all things the government sticks its snout into, there's a catch. The new bill that says that funding SETI would be cool is, as Space.com points out, just an authorization bill. For federal funds to change hands, an appropriations bill will have to be drafted and approved, first.
In other words, don't get any ideas about shaking hands (or other appendages) with a creature from another world anytime soon: the sweet red tape of bureaucracy will likely keep us from having to share a towel with a hoppy Betelgeusian frood for some time to come.