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This blog from ASPB's public affairs unit will provide updates on policy developments in Washington and other plant biology news impacting the ASPB community. Please send any news, comments, or suggestions to ASPB's public affairs director, Adam Fagen, at afagen@aspb.org Policy Archives available under Group Pages.

 

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Senate and House of Representatives Make Progress on the 2013 Farm Bill

Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Congress returned from the Memorial Day recess having made significant progress on the 2013 Farm Bill. On May 14 and 15, respectively, the Agriculture Committees in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives approved their versions of the 2013 Farm Bill. The Senate continues debate on its version of the bill this week, hoping to whittle down a list of some 200 amendments with a goal of passing the bill before Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) turns to the comprehensive immigration reform bill. The full House expects to debate its bill later this month. The House and Senate versions of the bill largely mirror the legislation approved last year, thus setting up the same potential issues over reforms of the crop insurance and related commodity support programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); both must be worked out before a final bill can be enacted.

 

Senate Bill

On May 14, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry approved legislation that, if enacted into law, would result in a far-reaching reorganization of programs supporting the nation’s farmers and ranchers. On a bipartisan 15 to 5 vote, the Committee approved S. 954, the Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013. The bill would dramatically restructure farm income support and crop insurance programs, as well as eliminate, consolidate, and streamline existing programs for conservation, rural development, trade, nutrition, energy, research and extension, forestry, and related programs for the five-year period through fiscal year (FY) 2018.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Senate’s nearly $955 billion authorization bill would reduce federal direct spending by an estimated net $17.8 billion over ten years below current law projections. This bill governs spending on entitlement and mandatory programs that are not subject to annual appropriations action by Congress. It also authorizes appropriations for programs, such as the research programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which Congress must fund each year in the appropriations bills.

 

House Bill

On May 15, the House Committee on Agriculture approved a bipartisan 2013 Farm Bill on a vote of 36 to 10 following a marathon mark up. The House version of the Farm Bill, H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (FARRM), reflects a serious effort to reduce overall spending associated with agriculture-related and nutrition programs, and sets up some major issues, including crop insurance, commodity assistance, and benefits under SNAP, to be addressed with the Senate during eventual conference negotiations toward a final bill.

According to preliminary estimates by the CBO, the House version of the Farm Bill would total $940 billion over ten years and would reduce federal direct spending by an estimated $33.3 billion over ten years below current law projections.

In addition to the programs discussed below, both the Senate and House bills extend supplemental disaster assistance for livestock producers and other farmers experiencing losses due to drought and other natural disasters.

 

Research Programs

For the research programs authorized in the bills, existing authorities are largely extended through fiscal year (FY) 2018, including the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Both bills extend the authorization for NIFA’s extramural competitive grants program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), at the current $700 million annual level (AFRI is currently funded at about $275 million in FY 2013). The Senate states that it makes no policy changes in the research programs of USDA. The House Committee notes that given current budget constraints, the Committee reduces existing authorization levels (not actual spending) by an estimated $500 million, and includes specific authorized funding levels for programs with open-ended ("such sums as may be necessary”) authorizations. The House Committee also removes USDA’s authority to fund non-competitive grants.

Both the Senate and House versions of the Farm Bill continue the current formula grant programs for land-grant institutions through FY 2018. Formula programs authorized under the Hatch Act and Smith-Lever Act have open-ended authorizations for appropriations at "such sums as may be necessary.” Both bills extend the authorizations for the Extension Service and for Hispanic-Serving Institutions through FY 2018.

Neither the Senate nor House bills address the indirect cost rate as the 2008 Farm Bill did. Thus, under the proposed bills, the indirect cost rate remains at the current level of 30 percent established in the Agriculture title of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013. The 2008 Farm Bill increased the indirect cost rate from 19 percent to 22 percent.

The most controversial provision in the research title of the House bill is a requirement (Section 7128) for USDA to institute a 1:1 match for new research grants. There is significant concern by researchers over the requirement to match federal funding from USDA on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

The Administration takes issue with a Senate and House provisions (Sections 7512 and 7513, respectively) barring USDA from obligating appropriated funding for extramural competitive research grants unless USDA submits a comprehensive spending plan to Congress for its approval.

Both the House and Senate bills reinstate the authorization of mandatory funding for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, the Organic Research and Extension Initaitive, and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program. These programs expired with other Farm Bill authorities last year when Congress failed to extend existing law.

The Senate bill authorizes a total of $416 million in mandatory funding for Specialty Crops over the FY 2014-FY 2023 period. A total of $80 million in mandatory funding over five years is provided for the Organic Research Initaitive. Finally, $85 million in mandatory funding over five years is provided for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program with military veterans included as eligible for the program.

CBO estimates mandatory spending for research, extension, and related matters in the House bill at $760 million over ten years. The House bill would provide $555 million over ten years for Specialty Crop Research; $100 million over five years for Organic Agriculture Research and Extension; and $100 million over five years for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development grants, also broadening eligibility to military veterans, and providing a set-aside of not more than five percent for this purpose.

Both bills also create a Veterinary Services Investment program to help address the shortage of veterinarians. The bills authorize $10 million for each fiscal year beginning in FY 2014 for activities to recruit, train, support, and retain veterinarians.

The Senate bill creates the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) as it did last year and includes $200 million in mandatory funding to capitalize the Foundation for research, which must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis from non-federal funding. FFAR would promote a public-private partnership to leverage additional funding for agriculture research. The Senate bill includes mandatory funding of $200 million over five years toward this effort, which must be matched by non-federal funding through the Foundation. The House bill does not include FFAR in its version of the bill as it did last year.



Tags:  Farm Bill  House  Senate  USDA 

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Senate Agriculture Committee Reports 2012 Farm Bill; Floor Action Expected in June

Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, Tuesday, June 12, 2012

On April 26, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry approved legislation that, if enacted into law, would result in a far-reaching reorganization of programs supporting the nation’s farmers and ranchers. The bill, S. 3240, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012, would dramatically restructure farm income support and crop insurance programs, as well as eliminate, consolidate, and streamline existing programs for conservation, rural development, trade, nutrition, energy, research and extension, forestry, and related programs for the five-year period through fiscal year (FY) 2017. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has announced he plans to take up the bill for debate by the full Senate in the near future.  Meanwhile, the House Agriculture Committee has concluded hearings on the Farm Bill and anticipates preparing its own bill later this summer.  

For the USDA research and extension programs, the Senate bill would largely extend current programs. The bill would extend the authorization for intramural research through the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) through FY 2017. The Senate bill would also reauthorize the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through FY 2017 and extend the authorization for NIFA’s extramural competitive grants program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), at the current $700 million annual level (AFRI is currently funded at $264.5 million in FY 2012). The bill would also reauthorize funding for the Extension Service.  

The Senate version of the Farm Bill has no provisions affecting the current formula grant programs for land-grant institutions. Formula programs authorized under the Hatch Act and Smith-Lever Act have open-ended authorizations for appropriations at "such sums as may be necessary.” 

Additionally, the Senate bill does not address the indirect cost rate as the 2008 Farm Bill did. Thus, under the proposed Senate bill, the indirect cost rate remains at the current level of 30 percent established in the FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The 2008 Farm Bill increased the indirect cost rate from 19 percent to 22 percent.  

The bill would establish a significant new research initiative in the creation of a non-profit Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), which would promote a public-private partnership to leverage additional funding for agriculture research. The Senate bill includes mandatory funding of $100 million toward this effort, which must be matched by non-federal funding through the Foundation.  

The Senate Farm Bill would extend existing energy programs affecting rural areas, including the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI), which would be extended for five years through FY 2017 and would be authorized at $30 million annually. The most significant amendment adopted during the Committee consideration of the bill would provide $800 million in mandatory spending to continue existing energy programs. Of this amount, $26 million in mandatory funding is provided each year through FY 2017 for BRDI. 

For a full report on the 2012 Farm Bill from our government affairs consultants, Lewis-Burke Associates, please visit: /resource/group/6d461cb9-5b79-4571-a164-924fa40395a5/docs/120601_senate-reported_farm_.pdf

 

Tags:  Congress  Farm Bill  Senate  USDA 

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National Science Foundation Funding Up 3.4% in Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill

Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On April 17, the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee approved its version of the fiscal year (FY) 2013 appropriations bill, which funds the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and Economic Development Administration (EDA). The bill is a mixed bag for these agencies, of which NSF and NIST are the clearest winners as they would receive substantial increases over their FY 2012 funding levels. NASA Science also fares well. However, the bill would deal a heavy blow to NOAA, by transferring its weather satellite programs to NASA, while EDA would receive a decrease below the FY 2012 level. The Subcommittee passed the bill on a 17 to one vote with Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) as the lone opposing vote.

Although the overall CJS bill would cut $1 billion from the FY 2012 level, it is important to note there is low likelihood of Congress passing any appropriations bills for FY 2013 before the November elections as there is an extreme divide between both Democrats and Republicans, as well as between the House and Senate. The Senate plans to write the appropriations bills at the level agreed to last August in the Budget Control Act while the House bills will be a total of $19 billion lower.

While no details are available regarding specific NSF priorities and programs, the bill would fund the National Science Foundation at $7.3 billion, down $100 million (1.4 percent) from the President’s FY 2013 budget request, but $240 million or 3.4 percent above the FY 2012 level.

Senate CJS Appropriations Bill, FY 2013

As reported by the Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee, 4/17/12

(In thousands)


FY 2012

Enacted

FY 2013 Request

FY 2013 Subcom Mark*

Subcom vs.

FY 2012 Enacted

Subcom vs.

FY 2013 Request

NSF

7,033,100

7,373,100

7,273,000

240,000 (3.4%)

-100,000 (1.4%)

NASA

17,770,000

17,711,400

19,370,000†

1,600,000 (9.0%)

1,658,600 (9.4%)

NASA Science

5,073,700

4,911,200

5,004,700

-69,000 (1.4%)

93,500 (1.9%)

NOAA

4,906,611

5,060,482

3,436,611

-1,470,000 (30.0%)

-1,623,871 (32.1%)

NIST

750,824

857,000

825,824

75,000 (10%)

-31,176 (3.6%)

EDA

257,500

219,719

237,500

-20,000 (7.8%)

17,781 (8.1%)

* Senate CJS numbers reflect amounts from the Subcommittee press release, which have been rounded. Exact numbers are not yet available.

† The increase to NASA reflects the proposal to move NOAA’s satellite procurement and management activities to NASA. Without this large increase, the Senate CJS bill would cut NASA by $41.5 million below the FY 2012 level.

‡ The cut to NOAA reflects a proposal to move of NOAA’s satellite procurement and management activities, which constitute more than one-third of the agency’s budget, to NASA.

For additional information, including the Subcommittee’s press release, please see the Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee website at: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=6bc432b7-656b-4930-b0cf-bd3deef4fc3a.

Tags:  appropriations  NSF  Senate 

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New Legislation to Establish a Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Introduced

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Wednesday, April 04, 2012

On March 29th, new legislation to establish a Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research was introduced by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, respectively. The foundation that would be created by the legislation aims to facilitate public/private partnerships and leverage private investments in food and agriculture research. The full text of the bill can be found here: http://roberts.senate.gov/public/_pdf/WEI12224.pdf.

ASPB has been working closely with an ad hoc group in support of food and agriculture research, spearheaded by ASPB member and former NIFA Director Roger Beachy, to elevate the perception of and need for food and agriculture research in general and specifically to establish a foundation similar to that proposed in the legislation, but with the ultimate goal of a federal match on private investments. The ad hoc coalition garnered support for the legislation through a letter with nearly 100 scientific societies (including ASPB), growers’ and producers’ associations, universities, and private companies signing on. The letter and list of signatories can be found here: http://1.usa.gov/H40Wa2.

One extremely successful precedent for a similar foundation is the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (http://www.fnih.org/), which has raised more than $500 million dollars supplementing NIH research funding in its 15 year existence.

It is expected that this legislation will be wrapped up into Farm Bill discussions. Accordingly, Chairwoman Stabenow stated in a press release (http://roberts.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=53df1ead-a114-4009-8704-57603b91b6c1), "The potential to create this foundation as part of the new farm bill is yet one more reason to get the farm bill completed as soon as possible.”

Tags:  Farm Bill  Senate  USDA 

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Congress makes progress on FY 2012 appropriations

Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, Saturday, November 05, 2011
The House and Senate appear to have come together on a strategy to complete consideration of the fiscal year (FY) 2012 appropriations bills.  Rather than combine all 12 appropriations bills into one large omnibus appropriations package, as Congressional appropriators have done in the past, Congressional leaders plan to enact the appropriations bills through a more piecemeal approach; passing three or four appropriations bills at one time in "minibus" appropriations packages.  Congressional leaders from both parties have also indicated that they will adhere to the top line discretionary spending levels that were agreed to in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (the debt limit bill), which are approximately $24 billion higher than the total discretionary spending level approved by the House earlier in the year.

The first such minibus bill was passed by the Senate on November 1 and included the Senate's Agriculture–FDA appropriations bill, Commerce–Justice-–Science bill, and Transportation–Housing and Urban Development bill.  These bills provide funding for federal research agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, among others.  On the evening of November 3, House and Senate appropriators met to begin conference negotiations on the first minibusbill.  Conference members agreed to top line spending targets for each bill that comply with the Budget Control Act.  Specifically, they agreed to $19.6 billion for the Agriculture–FDA bill ($2.4 billion above the House-passed level, and $200 million below the Senate-passed level), $52.7 billion for the Commerce–Justice–Science bill ($2.5 billion more than the House proposed level, and level with the Senate-passed bill), and $55.6 billion for the Transportation–Housing and Urban Development bill ($400 million above the House-proposed level and $300 million above the Senate-passed level).

Negotiators were very courteous to one another during the conference committee meeting, stating their intentions to work together to complete the FY 2012 appropriations bills before the end of the calendar year.  House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) stated that the conferees have been instructed to keep their schedules open over the upcoming Congressional recess period to complete negotiations on the minibus package before November 14.  The House and Senate are expected to pass the first minibus bill during the week of November 14, before the current continuing resolution (CR) expires on November 18.  The minibus package will likely include an additional CR to extend funding for programs under the remaining appropriations bills through mid-December to provide additional time for Congress to complete its work.

While negotiators have agreed to top line funding levels for each appropriations bill, there are still discrepancies between the House and Senate on programs within the bills that will need to be worked out.  This includes emergency aid to states for recent natural disasters and funding for transportation projects through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants program, among others.  Funding for science and education programs within these appropriations measures has not been highlighted as an area of contention, and in fact, research agencies are faring quite well in receiving funding that is flat or slightly below current levels.

Appropriators have stated that they may attach additional, less controversial spending bills to this minibus appropriations package such as the Legislative Branch bill and the Homeland Security bill.  The Senate is expected to consider a second minibus package in the coming week which may include the Energy and Water Development bill, the Financial Services bill, and the State and Foreign Operations bill.



This post includes content provided by ASPB's external government relations consultant, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC.


Tags:  appropriations  Congress  House  Senate 

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Sen. Kohl speaks on behalf of agriculture research on Senate floor

Posted By Adam Fagen, Thursday, October 20, 2011
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) took a strong stand for agricultural research on the floor of the U.S. Senate earlier this week. In introducing the 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, Sen. Kohl, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, emphasized the priorities in the bill.

Support for agriculture research was seen as one of the most important elements of the bill:

Another priority worthy of protection is agricultural research. Without continued investment, food production in this country and around the globe will not be able to keep up with challenges posed by growing populations, climate change, invasive pests, and other threats. According to the Economic Research Service, global demand for food will grow 70 to 100 percent by 2050. To meet that demand, our production capacity will have to increase. Those increases will not happen without sustained emphasis on agricultural research. Senator Blunt and I have worked hard to protect these investments, often at the expense of other USDA programs.

Sen. Blunt (R-MO) is the Republican Ranking Member on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

Thank you, Senators, for supporting and speaking up on behalf of agriculture research.




Tags:  Congress  research  Senate  USDA 

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Senate Approps releases specifics about proposed cuts at NSF

Posted By Adam Fagen, Friday, September 16, 2011
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) has released report language on its proposed CJS budget for fiscal year (FY) 2012.  As we reported earlier this week, the proposed budget for the National Science Foundation (NSF) was $162 million (2.4%) below the FY 2011 level; the new report provides specifics on how the budget will be allocated.

The recommendation is to provide $6.7 billion for NSF in FY 2012, $1.1 billion below the budget request.

The Research & Related Activities (R&RA) account is proposed at $5.4 billion, which is $121 million (2%) below last year, and $811 million (13%) below the budget request.  The report language states that "The Committee’s fiscal year 2012 recommendation renews its support for Federal long-term basic research that has the potential to be transformative to our economy and our way of life in the context of a Federal budget that is shrinking," prioritizing multi-disciplinary, high-risk research.

The Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) account is recommended to receive $117 million, the same as FY 2011 funding but $108 million (48%) below the budget request.  Of some concern to life scientists is permission for NSF to transfer up to $100 million from the R&RA account to fully fund the Ocean Observatories Initiative or begin work on the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), which is based in the Biological Sciences Directorate.

The Education & Human Resources (EHR) account is proposed at $829 million, a $32 million (4%) reduction from FY 2011 and $82 million (9%) below the budget request.  Despite the cut, the report reinforces that "the future of U.S. competitiveness rests on our ability to train the next generation of scientists and engineers."  The Appropriations Subcommittee speaks in favor of NSF investment in Professional Science Master's programs and several programs to broaden participation in STEM fields.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee accepts NSF's decision to terminate several programs including the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory, Graduate STEM Fellows in K–12 Education, National STEM Distributed Learning (Digital Library), Research Initiation to Broaden Participation in Biology, and Science of Learning Centers.  The report also applauds NSF for the creation of the Innovation Corps (I-Corps) to help translate new discoveries into commercial products.  And it affirms that "broadening participation should remain an essential component of the NSF merit review criteria."

Tags:  appropriations  Congress  NSF  Senate 

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Senate Appropriations Subcommittee suggests cuts for NSF

Posted By Adam Fagen, Wednesday, September 14, 2011
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies has approved funding legislation for fiscal year (FY) 2012.  The bill provides $52.7 billion in funding, a reduction of $626 million from FY 2011.

Of most interest to ASPB members are the proposed cuts at the National Science Foundation.  Although details have yet to be released, the Subcommittee released the following in their mark:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is funded at $6.7 billion, a reduction of $162 million or 2.4 percent below the FY2011 enacted level.

ASPB will keep tabs on the details and the progress of this spending bill...and those for the other agencies of interest to ASPB in both the House and Senate.

Tags:  appropriations  Congress  NSF  Senate 

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Senate Appropriations Committee approves FY 2012 funding for DOE

Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, Sunday, September 11, 2011
The Senate Appropriations Committee has passed the fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget appropriation for the Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the FY 2012 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill.  The bill totals $31.625 billion, a reduction of $57 million below the FY 2011 enacted level for programs and agencies funded in the bill.

Given the competition for funding within the bill, the DOE Office of Science, which funds basic research associated with agency missions, fared quite well.  The Senate Committee approves $4.843 billion for the DOE Office of Science, which is essentially a freeze at the FY 2011 enacted funding level.  The Committee recommendation for the DOE Office of Science is $573.5 million (10.6%) below the President’s request.

Detailed funding recommendations for the various programs within the Office of Science are displayed in the chart below.  The Senate bill would provide continuation funding for the three existing Energy Innovation Hubs (Hubs) – the Fuels from Sunlight Hub; the Energy Efficient Building Systems Design Hub, and the Nuclear Energy Modeling and Simulation Hub, for which the President requested $24.3 million each.  As did the House of Representatives, the Senate Committee also approves the new Batteries and Energy Storage Hub within the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, providing $20 million for the new Hub in lieu of the requested $34.2 million. The Committee also recommends $10 million for the predictive modeling of internal combustion engines initiative.

The Senate Committee is silent on the President’s request for $20 million in the Industrial Technologies program within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) to establish a new Critical Materials Hub even though its overall recommendation of $96 million for the program matches the House-passed bill which does fund the Hub.  The Senate Committee does not approve the third new Hub requested by the President for Advanced Modeling Grid Research.

The Senate Committee concurs with the President’s request to provide up to $100 million to continue support for the 46 existing Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), but not to fund additional centers at this time.

For the Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program, the Senate Committee recommendation of $621.8 million is $10 million (2%) above FY 2011.  The Committee recommends $295.1 million for climate and environmental science, which the House significantly reduced.

The Senate Committee would approve $7.5 million to support  graduate fellowships.

For the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the Senate would provide $250 million to continue support for research into high-risk, high-reward transformational new energy technologies, an increase of $70.4 million (39%) above the FY 2011 enacted funding level, but $300 million (55%) below the President’s request.

The applied research programs of DOE relating to renewable energy through Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) are sustained at the current level of $1.796 billion for FY 2012. The President requested $3.2 billion for these programs.  The House reduced EERE to $1.3 billion overall.  Details of the Senate recommendations for wind and solar energy, biomass, and the technologies programs are included in the following chart.   New initiatives within the EERE programs are unlikely given the constraints under current budget allocations.

Additional details on the funding recommendations approved by the Senate Committee are included in the chart below.


Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill, FY 2012

As reported by the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, 9/7/11

(In thousands of dollars)

FY 2011 CR

FY 2012 Subcom Mark

Subcom vs.

FY 11 CR

Subcom

vs. House

Subcom vs.

FY 12 Request

DOE, total

25,591,176

25,549,000

-42,176 (<1%)

808,254 (3%)

-5,134,802 (17%)

Science

4,842,665

4,842,665

----------

42,665 (<1%)

-573,449 (11%)

Advanced Scientific Computing Research

421,997

441,619

19,622 (5%)

14,526 (3%)

-23,981 (5%)

Basic Energy Sciences

1,678,195

1,693,860

15,665 (1%)

5,715 (<1%)

-291,140 (15%)

Biological and Environmental Research

611,823

621,823

10,000 (2%)

74,748 (14%)

-96,077 (13%)

Fusion Energy Sciences Program

375,463

335,463

-40,000 (11%)

-70,537 (17%)

-64,237 (16%)

High-energy Physics

795,420

780,200

-15,220 (2%)

-17,000 (2%)

-17,000 (2%)

Nuclear Physics

540,114

550,114

10,000 (2%)

-1,866 (<1%)

-55,186 (9%)

Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists

22,600

20,000

-2,600 (12%)

2,151 (12%)

-15,600 (44%)

Science Laboratories Infrastructure

125,747

136,800

11,053 (9%)

33,313 (32%)

25,000 (22%)

EERE

1,795,641

1,796,000

359 (0.01%)

491,364 (38%)

-1,404,053 (44%)

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology

98,000

98,000

----------

6,550 (7%)

-2,450 (2%)

Biomass and Biorefinery Systems R&D

182,695

180,000

-2,695 (1%)

30,000 (20%)

-160,500 (47%)

Solar Energy

263,500

290,000

26,500 (10%)

123,857 (75%)

-167,000 (37%)

Wind Energy

80,000

80,000

----------

4,000 (5%)

-46,859 (37%)

Geothermal Technology

38,003

34,000

-4,003 (11%)

-4,000 (11%)

-67,535 (67%)

Water Power

30,000

34,000

4,000 (13%)

-16,000 (32%)

-4,500 (12%)

Vehicle Technologies

300,000

319,157

19,157 (6%)

65,157 (26%)

-268,846 (46%)

Building Technologies

210,500

210,500

----------

60,500 (40%)

-260,200 (55%)

Industrial Technologies

108,241

96,000

-12,241 (11%)

----------

-223,784 (70%)

Federal Energy Management Program

30,402

30,000

-402 (1%)

----------

-3,072 (9%)

Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability

141,010

141,000

-10 (<1%)

1,504 (1%)

-96,717 (41%)

Nuclear Energy

725,824

584,000

-141,824 (20%)

-149,633 (20%)

-170,028 (23%)

Fossil Energy Research and Development

444,529

259,000

-185,529 (42%)

-217,993 (46%)

-193,975 (43%)

ARPA-E

179,640

250,000

70,360 (39%)

70,360 (39%)

-300,011 (55%)

Loan Guarantee Program

-340

Embargoed

N/A

N/A

N/A

DOE Defense Activities

10,522,520

11,050,000

527,480 (5%)

450,969 (4%)

-662,598 (6%)

Weapons Activities

6,896,398

7,190,000

293,602 (4%)

98,339 (1%)

-399,384 (5%)

Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation

2,273,653

2,383,000

109,347 (5%)

326,230 (15%)

-136,492 (5%)

Defense Environmental Cleanup

4,979,738

5,002,000

22,262 (<1%)

64,381 (1%)

-404,781 (7%)

Army Corps of Engineers, total

4,857,213

4,864,000

6,787 (<1%)

95,594 (2%)

291,000 (6%)

Bureau of Reclamation, total

1,062,585

1,067,000

4,415 (<1%)

161,704 (18%)

48,611 (5%)

For additional information, including the Appropriations Committee’s press release, please see the Senate Appropriations Committee website: .


This post includes content provided by ASPB's external government relations consultant, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC.


Tags:  appropriations  Congress  DOE  energy  Senate 

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Senate Appropriations Committee approves FY 2012 funding for USDA

Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, Friday, September 09, 2011

On September 7, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the fiscal year (FY) 2012 appropriations bill which funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and related agencies. The bill would provide a total of $19.78 billion in discretionary funding, a reduction of $138 million (less than one percent) below the FY 2011 enacted level and $2.2 billion (10%) below the President’s FY 2012 budget request. The bill also provides significant funding for mandatory programs including food stamps, child nutrition programs, federal crop insurance, and commodity price stabilization activities.

While the Senate bill includes reductions below the FY 2011 level for many programs, it represents a significant improvement over the House-passed bill due to the enactment of the Budget Control Act (debt-limit agreement), which included a discretionary spending cap for the Appropriations Committees that is $24 billion more than the House allocation under the House-passed budget resolution.

Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee Chair Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) [at right] characterized the Senate bill as "very austere” and highlighted Subcommittee priorities including protecting public health and safety; maintaining current services for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and other nutrition programs; making continued investments in research; supporting rural development; supporting foreign food aid; and responding to floods and other disasters, of which the Senate bill would provide $266 million for disaster aid.

For the USDA research programs, the Senate Committee sought to sustain most funding levels. A total of $2.3 billion would be provided for agricultural research through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), which is $39 million below the FY 2011 level.

For NIFA overall, a total of $1.214 billion is recommended in the Senate bill, a reduction of $798,000 below the FY 2011 level but $9.231 million above the House-passed bill. NIFA’s competitive grants program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), would receive $266 million, an increase of $1.53 million above the FY 2011 level, but $59 million below the President’s FY 2012 request. The Senate recommendation for AFRI is $41.0 million above the House-passed bill.

The Senate Committee sustained support for the formula funds for land-grant colleges and universities as a priority in its version of the bill. Funding administered through the Hatch Act would be sustained at the FY 2011 level of $236.0 million. For Extension Activities under the Smith-Lever Act 3(b) and 3(c), the Senate would provide $296.0 million, an increase of $2.09 million above the FY 2011 level. For Extension Activities overall, a total of $478.2 million is recommended, slightly below the FY 2011 level, but $67.0 million above the House-passed level.

The Senate bill includes reductions for USDA’s rural development programs below the FY 2011 level. In addition, reductions are recommended for Housing and Community Development Programs, Business Programs, Rural Utilities Programs, the National Conservation Service and the Watershed Rehabilitation Program.

A $40 million increase over current spending is recommended in the Senate bill for the Food and Drug Administration, which would receive nearly $2.5 billion for FY 2012. The Senate would also sustain the Food Safety and Inspection Service at $1.0 billion, the same as the FY 2011 level.

The prospects for the bill being considered by the full Senate are uncertain given the short time remaining before the beginning of the 2012 fiscal year on October 1 and the need to enact a Continuing Resolution before then to finance continued operation of the entire federal government. An omnibus appropriations bill later this year is anticipated.

A chart detailing proposed funding levels for key programs of interest to the research and education community is below.


Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill, FY 2012

As reported by the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, 9/7/11

(In thousands of dollars)

FY 2011 CR

FY 2012 Subcom Mark

Subcom vs.

FY 2011 CR

Subcom vs. House

Subcom vs.

FY 2012 Request

USDA, Research

2,587,182

2,309,000

-278,182 (11%)

75,395 (3%)

-285,762 (11%)

     ARS

1,133,230

1,095,049

-38,181 (3%)

101,704 (10%)

-42,641 (4%)

     NIFA

1,214,798

1,214,000

-798 (<1%)

194,000 (19%)

9,231 (<1%)

Research and Education

698,740

709,825

11,085 (2%)

109,025 (18%)

1,718 (<1%)

Extension

479,132

478,178

-954 (<1%)

66,978 (16%)

11,390 (2%)

Integrated

36,926

25,948

-10,978 (30%)

17,948 (224%)

-3,926 (13%)

     AFRI

264, 470

266,000

1,530 (<1%)

41,000 (18%)

-58,655 (18%)

     Hatch Act

236,334

236,000

-334 (<1%)

28,000 (13%)

31,750 (16%)

     Smith-Lever Act 3(b) and 3(c)

293,911

296,000

2,089 (<1%)

36,800 (14%)

13,375 (5%)

     Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA)

1,007,314

1,007,314

----------

34,596 (4%)

-4,907 (<1%)

FDA, total

2,457,001

2,497,000

39,999 (1.6%)

324,761 (15%)

-246,965 (9%)

Rural Development

2,430,776

2,420,000

-10,776 (<1%)

327,229 (16%)

218,166 (10%)


See the Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee for additional information.


This post includes content provided by ASPB's external government relations consultant, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC.


Tags:  appropriations  Congress  Senate  USDA 

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Senate Agriculture Committee will host Farm Bill field hearing in Kansas

Posted By Adam Fagen, Tuesday, July 05, 2011
The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry will hold a field hearing on the Farm Bill in Wichita, Kansas, on August 25, 2011, according to a press release from Ranking Member Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS).

As quoted in the release, Sen. Roberts said, "This hearing will allow us to garner insight from our producers in Kansas as we begin the important task of writing the next Farm Bill. Their perspectives on current agriculture programs and the direction of this next Farm Bill are critical to the committee’s work in drafting policies that provide producers and rural America with the tools necessary for success."

The hearing will be held Thursday, August 25, 2011, from 9 a.m.-noon CDT, at the Hilton Wichita Airport, 2098 Airport Road, Wichita, Kansas.

You may participate in the hearing by submitting written testimony which will be included in the official record of the hearing. A copy of your testimony can be submitted at the hearing or can be sent to the committee no later than Thursday, September 1, 2011. Send your testimony to aghearing@ag.senate.gov or to U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry, 328A Russell Senate Office Bldg, Washington, D.C. 20510.

Tags:  Congress  Farm Bill  Senate 

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Group of Democratic Senators calls for full AFRI funding

Posted By Adam Fagen, Thursday, May 12, 2011
A group of Democratic senators led by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee Chair Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Ranking Member Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) in support of USDA research funding.  The senators asked that the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) be funded at $324.6 million, the level requested by President Obama for fiscal year (FY) 2012 and a $60 million increase over FY2011 levels. 

"We appreciate the constraints you face in allocating scarce dollars for discretionary programs at USDA," the senators wrote. "However, investing in research is investing in America's future. If America is going to be competitive in the global economy in the coming decades, we have to address long-term challenges by making strong investments in agricultural research today. We urge you to make AFRI a priority as you make your Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations decisions."

The senators especially singled out biomass feedstocks as a critical contribution of USDA research:

We are especially encouraged that AFRI has made biomass feedstock development a high priority for its upcoming grant awards.  Meeting our national Renewable Fuels Standard goal of producing 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022 will require a substantial investment in the production of high-quality, cost-effective feedstocks for advanced biofuel production.  Developing these feedstocks, and the most sustainable methods of growing them, presents exciting economic development opportunities in America's rural communities, but only if we act today to make the necessary research investments.

Joining Sen. Franken on the letter were Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR).


Additional Information:

Tags:  appropriations  Senate  USDA 

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First Farm Bill field hearing will be at Michigan State on April 9

Posted By Adam Fagen, Tuesday, April 05, 2011
The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will hold its first field hearing on the next Farm Bill on April 9, 2011, on the campus of Michigan State University (MSU) in Lansing.  The hearing, "Opportunities for Growth: Michigan and the 2012 Farm Bill," will focus on the upcoming reauthorization of the Farm Bill, examining agriculture as well as energy, conservation, rural development, research, forestry and nutrition policies that affect Michigan.  The Farm Bill provides oversight for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Committee Chair Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) will convene the hearing at MSU's Kellogg Center at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 9.  Ranking Member Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) is also expected to participate.

The general public may attend and watch the hearing (RSVP information below) and can also submit written testimony which will be included in the official record of the hearing. Three copies of your testimony can be submitted at the hearing or can be sent to the Committee no later than April 16, 2011. You may also submit questions for possible consideration by the panel members during a limited question and answer period before April 7, 2011. Send your testimony or questions to aghearing@ag.senate.gov or to US Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry, 328A Russell Senate Office Bldg, Washington, D.C. 20510.

For up-to-date information on the hearing and Farm Bill process, you can visit the Senate Agriculture Committee website at ag.senate.gov.

To RSVP for the hearing, contact the Agriculture Committee Office at 202-224-2035 or email aghearing@ag.senate.gov.

If you go, please let us know what you think!


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Tags:  Congress  Farm Bill  Michigan State  Senate 

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Senate to reject earmarks

Posted By Adam Fagen, Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye, (D-HI) announced yesterday that the Committee will implement a moratorium on earmarks for the session of Congress that just began, meaning that earmarks will not be an option for the next two years.  Sen. Inouye's statement puts the Senate in line with the House and the White House, as both Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and President Obama have said that they would not support spending bills that contain earmarks.

It's clear from his statement that Sen. Inouye is bending to political reality, even though he remains supportive of the value of earmarks, as long as the process is transparent and fair:

"I continue to support the Constitutional right of members of Congress to direct investments to their states and districts under the fiscally responsible and transparent earmarking process that we have established. 

"However, the handwriting is clearly on the wall. The President has stated unequivocally that he will veto any legislation containing earmarks, and the House will not pass any bills that contain them. Given the reality before us, it makes no sense to accept earmark requests that have no chance of being enacted into law.

"The Appropriations Committee will thoroughly review its earmark policy to ensure that every member has a precise definition of what constitutes an earmark. To that end, we will send each member a letter with the interpretation of Rule XLIV (44) that will be used by the Committee. If any member submits a request that is an earmark as defined by that rule, we will respectfully return the request.

"Next year, when the consequences of this decision are fully understood by the members of this body, we will most certainly revisit this issue and explore ways to improve the earmarking process.  At the appropriate time, I will once again urge the Senate to consider a transparent and fair earmark process that protects our rights as legislators to answer the petitions of our constituents, regardless of what the President or some Federal bureaucrat thinks is right."

As Sen. Inouye said, he will provide a copy of Senate Rule XLIV to each member, which defines an earmark.  Specifically, the rule says:

the term 'congressionally directed spending item' means a provision or report language included primarily at the request of a Senator providing, authorizing, or recommending a specific amount of discretionary budget authority, credit authority, or other spending authority for a contract, loan, loan guarantee, grant, loan authority, or other expenditure with or to an entity, or targeted to a specific State, locality or Congressional district, other than through a statutory or administrative formula-driven or competitive award process; 


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Tags:  appropriations  Congress  Senate 

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Senate passes America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010; House hopes to take up Senate version next week

Posted By Adam Fagen, Friday, December 17, 2010
Earlier today, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act by Unanimous Consent.  The COMPETES Act, originally authorized in 2007 in response to the National Academies’ 2005 Rising Above the Gathering Storm report, provides authorization for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the bill (H.R. 5116) at the end of May and must now consider the compromise legislation before it can be signed into law by the President.

Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), retiring chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology, issued the following statement:

The Reauthorization passed committee on April 28 with bipartisan support, it passed the House on May 26th with bipartisan support, and now, the Senate has weighed in and approved it—unanimously.

While there have been concessions made, the Senate’s amendments preserve the intent of the Rising Above the Gathering Storm report and the original COMPETES. It keeps our basic research agencies on a doubling path, it continues to invest in high-risk, high-reward energy technology development, it will help improve STEM education, and it will help unleash American innovation. 
 
I am hopeful that this will come up before the House next week.  I urge my House colleagues to stand with the business community, the academic community, the scientific community, and the Senate to send a strong message that the U.S. must maintain its scientific and economic leadership.
 
I cannot think of anything I would rather do as one of my final acts in Congress than sending this bill, with strong bipartisan support, to the president’s desk.


The Senate bill differs from the House bill passes earlier in several ways, including the following:
  • authorizes appropriations for NSF, DOE Office of Science, and NIST for three years instead of five;
  • much less detail on DOE with authorization for Office of Science overall rather than individual divisions;
  • additional conversation on innovation and competitiveness;
  • some language in the House bill not includes in the Senate bill.
Stay tuned for any additional information about contacting your Representative urging passage of the bill.

Tags:  COMPETES Act  Congress  Senate 

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112th Congress: Senate Agriculture Committee

Posted By Adam Fagen, Monday, November 22, 2010
Sen. Debbie StabenowSen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) is set to take up the reins as chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.  The committee's previous chair, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) lost her bid for reelection.

On November 19, Sen. Stabenow issued a statement about her new role:

I am ready to lead the Senate Agriculture Committee in the 112th Congress. Agriculture is critical to Michigan’s economy, employing a quarter of our workforce. Not only does agriculture create jobs and feed our families across America, but it is also helping us develop new fuels and energy sources.

I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, as we begin writing a new farm bill that once again recognizes the importance of America’s agricultural economy and rural communities.

Sen. Stabenow was previously a member of the committee and also served on agriculture committees when she was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Michigan legislature.

Sen. Saxby ChamblissIt is expected that the Ranking Member will remain Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).

Tags:  Congress  Senate 

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Changes in store for the next Congress

Posted By Adam Fagen, Thursday, November 04, 2010
It's pretty clear that the 2010 midterm elections will lead to big changes in Congress.  The Republicans have won the majority in the House of Representatives, which means that all of the House committee chairs will be changing from Democrats to Republicans.  While many of the current Ranking Members will switch places with the current chairs, a large number of retirements and primary defeats will mean that there will be a lot of new faces.  This will also lead to a bit of dominoes as Members and the Republican caucus decide which positions they want, thereby opening up other positions.  In addition, some party leaders may be term-limited from retaining their leadership roles.

While the Democrats retained the majority in the Senate, retirements and election defeats will also lead to a game of musical chairs and new Chairs/Ranking Members for several committees.

ASPB will try to break down the election results over the next few weeks by describing some of the likely changes to the committees with jurisdictions over issues important to the plant biology community.

Tags:  Congress  election  House  Senate 

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