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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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Analysis of the FY 2015 CRomnibus Appropriations Bill

Posted By Tyrone Spady, Monday, December 15, 2014

 

Executive Summary

In a herculean effort, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees concluded negotiations on a final Continuing Resolution (CR) and Omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 83) to fund federal government agencies for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2015. The so called “CRomnibus” bill sustains federal investments in research, education, and healthcare programs important to research universities and non-profit research institutions. The bill as passed the House and the Senate is expected to vote over the next few days with the Congressional Leadership working to round up the votes to pass the bill. The President will sign the bill.

The bill includes funding for 11 of the 12 annual appropriations bills and upholds the $1.013 trillion spending cap for FY 2015 agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (the “Ryan-Murray” agreement). The final bill is also consistent with the $521 billion spending cap placed on defense and the $492 billion non-defense spending cap.

Reflecting the high-stakes political arena in Washington, D.C. following the election that gave Republicans a comfortable majority in the Senate, it was not certain that the oft characterized “do-nothing” Congress could agree to a final appropriations measure. It increasingly appears, however, that there will be bipartisan support for the final CRomnibus bill to give federal research agencies and education programs certainty for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The more controversial bills, such as Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Interior and Environment, narrowly avoided a full-year CR when agreements were reached over funding the healthcare reform law and various policy riders relating to regulatory actions by the Environmental Protection agency (EPA), among other issues. The only agency remaining under a CR is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which would be funded through February 27, 2015. This action provides an avenue for the incoming Republican-led Congress to take the Administration to task over the President’s recent executive actions on immigration, but the CR also will disrupt the operation of numerous federal agencies under the DHS umbrella.

The CRomnibus bill sustains support for federal research agencies and reflects continued bipartisan support for these investments even in times of tight budgets:

  • NSF would receive modest increases in all accounts for a total of $7.3 billion, an increase of $172 million above the FY 2014 enacted level. Cognitive science and neuroscience are highlighted in the report language with a recommended $21 million for new research.
  • While funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science is held to the current level of about $5.1 billion, priority innovation programs, including Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), Energy Innovation Hubs, the exascale initiative, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) are supported.
  • Within NIFA, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) would be funded at $325 million, a significant increase of $8.6 million (2.7 percent). Notably, the bill includes a provision (Sec. 749) exempting AFRI through FY 2015 from the 1:1 matching requirements that were mandated in the 2014 Farm Bill.

Details of the major federal research, education, and healthcare programs funded in the CRomnibus bill follow. While the CRomnibus bill would provide budgetary certainty for the remainder of the fiscal year, the budget battle will be rejoined in the upcoming 114th Congress.  Please see the following link to view Lewis Burke's full analysis of the FY 2015 Crombnibus: https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/aspb.site-ym.com/resource/group/6d461cb9-5b79-4571-a164-924fa40395a5/2014_Public_Affairs/Lewis-Burke_Analysis_of_the_.pdf.

Tags:  appropriations  Congress  DOE  funding  NSF  research  USDA 

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House of Representatives Passes Energy-Water Development Appropriations Bill

Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, Wednesday, July 17, 2013

 

On July 10, the U.S. House of Representatives approved by a 227 to 198 vote a $30.4 billion Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill to fund the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Energy (DOE), and other independent agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2014. The House bill overall is $2.9 billion below the FY 2013 enacted level and approximately $700 million below the enacted level after sequestration. Please note that comparisons to the FY 2013 enacted level do not reflect the across-the-board reductions required under sequestration. The House bill is $4.1 billion below the President’s budget request. This is the first domestic spending bill that reflects the significant spending reductions that would be needed under the House-passed budget resolution and in the absence of an overall long-term deficit reduction plan that would replace sequestration.

House Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) highlighted the "hard choices” the Subcommittee had to make to meet its spending allocation. The priorities for the bill include DOE’s national security programs, including nuclear weapons; national and regional infrastructure programs through the Army Corps of Engineers; nuclear clean-up; and programs to promote economic competitiveness. The funding recommendations in the bill reflect the decision of the House Republican majority to write the FY 2014 bills to an overall discretionary total of $967 billion, the post-sequester spending cap level enacted in the Budget Control Act of 2011. The House allocation is $91 billion overall below the $1.058 trillion requested by the President and embraced by Senate Democrats that assumes the sequester is overturned and a comprehensive budget agreement is reached this fall.

During House debate on the bill, the Republican majority held back numerous amendments to restore funding to the DOE Office of Science, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), and to the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Both Representatives Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Bill Foster (D-IL) offered amendments to add back $223 million and $500 million, respectively, to DOE’s Office of Science, reducing the nuclear weapons R&D program within the bill to offset the proposed increases. Both amendments were defeated. An amendment to prohibit funding for wind energy programs within EERE was also defeated. After two amendments by Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and by John Garamendi (D-CA) to restore funding to ARPA-E were defeated, the House adopted an amendment by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) to add $20 million to ARPA-E, bringing the program total to $70 million.

The House bill would reduce DOE’s energy programs by $1.4 billion below the FY 2013 enacted level before sequestration. For the DOE Office of Science, the House bill would provide $4.653 billion, which is a reduction of about $223 million (4.6 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level. The House bill is nearly $500 million (9.7 percent) below the President’s request for the Office of Science. The Committee indicates that it has given priority to research, such as the basic research done by the Office of Science, which only the federal government is likely to do. Within the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, the House bill fully funds the President’s budget request of $24.2 million for each of two Energy Innovation Hubs relating to Fuels from Sunlight and Batteries. The House bill includes $60 million to support the Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), a reduction of $40 million below the President’s request. The Committee does not approve the request of an additional $68.7 million to fully fund additional centers. The Committee also approves the budget request for exascale computing totaling $68.58 million. Chairman Frelinghuysen indicated that, as it did last year, the Subcommittee restores cuts to the Fusion Energy program proposed by the President.

The House Committee makes the deepest funding cuts in programs deemed a priority by the Administration. For the Advanced Research Projects Agency- Energy (ARPA-E), the House-passed bill would provide $70 million, which is a reduction of $195 million (73.6 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level. The House bill is $309.0 million (81.5 percent) below the President’s request for ARPA-E.

The House bill would consolidate the DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and fund the programs overall at $958.1 million, a reduction of $995.5 million (60 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level, and $1.99 billion (67.5 percent) below the President’s budget request. The President’s budget request proposed to increase these clean energy technology programs by over 50 percent to nearly $3 billion. Several amendments to restore funds to the EERE program overall failed.

For the electricity programs, the House bill recommends $80 million, a reduction of $32.5 million below the FY 2013 enacted level and $61.4 million below the President’s budget request. The House Committee recommends no funding for the proposed Electricity Systems Energy Innovation Hub for which the President requested $20 million.

Within the newly consolidated Renewable Energy, Energy Reliability and Efficiency program, the House Committee emphasizes research to address high gas prices through the Bioenergy Technologies, Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies, and Vehicle Technologies programs, providing a total of $390 million for these activities. The House Committee also states that advanced manufacturing is a priority, providing $120 million for this program with continued support for the Critical Materials Energy Innovation Hub.

The House bill would provide funding for ongoing Nuclear Energy activities at $656.4 million, a reduction of $96.6 million (12.8 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level and $79.1 million (10.8 percent) below the President’s budget request. The bill would provide $430 million for the Fossil Energy R&D programs, which is an increase of $9.42 million (2.2 percent) above the President’s budget request, but $104 million (19.5 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level.

The recommendations for the DOE nuclear security programs administered through the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) total $11.3 billion, which is a decrease of $213.1 million (1.9 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level, and $364.0 million (3.1 percent) below the President’s budget request. These programs include Weapons Activities, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, and Naval Reactors. As it did last year, the House Subcommittee approves $25 million to retain the viability of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.

For the water infrastructure agencies, the House bill would provide $4.9 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, a reduction of $104 million (2.0 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level excluding emergency appropriations associated with Hurricane Sandy, and $72 million (1.5 percent) above the President’s budget request. The House would provide $981 million for the Bureau of Reclamation, which is $66.7 million (6.4 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level and $68.5 million (6.5 percent) below the President’s request.

House Energy-Water Development Appropriations Bill, FY 2014

As passed by the House Appropriations Committee, 7/10/2013

(In thousands)

FY 2013

Enacted*

FY 2014 Request

FY 2014 House Cmte Mark

House Cmte vs.

FY 2013 Enacted

House Cmte vs.

FY 2014 Request

DOE, total

27,043,427

28,953,893

24,952,252

-2,118,175

(7.8%)

-4,028,641

(13.9%)

Science

4,876,000

5,152,752

4,653,000

-223,000

(4.6%)

-499,752

(9.7%)

Advanced Scientific Computing Research

440,825

465,593

432,365

-8,460

(1.9%)

-33,228

(7.1%)

Basic Energy Sciences

1,689,495

1,862,411

1,583,099

-106,396

(6.3%)

-279,312

(15.0%)

Biological and Environmental Research

610,196

625,347

494,106

-116,090

(19.0%)

-131,241

(21.0%)

Fusion Energy Sciences Program

401,108

458,324

506,076

104,968

(26.2%)

47,752

(10.4%)

High-energy Physics

789,595

776,521

772,521

-17,074

(2.2%)

-4,000

(0.5%)

Nuclear Physics

548,537

569,938

551,953

3,376

(0.6%)

-18,025

(3.2%)

Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists

18,451

16,500

16,500

-1,951

(10.6%)

--

Science Laboratories Infrastructure

111,503

97,818

46,558

-64,945

(58.3%)

-51,260

(52.4%)

Renewable Energy, Energy Reliability and Efficiency

1,953,591

2,944,715

958,137

-995,454

(60.0%)

-1,986,578

(67.5%)

Nuclear Energy

753,000

735,460

656,389

-96,611

(12.8%)

-79,071

(10.8%)

Fossil Energy Research and Development

534,000

420,575

430,000

-104,000

(19.5%)

9,425

(2.2%)

ARPA-E

265,000

379,000

70,000

-195,000

(73.6%)

-309,000

(81.5%)

DOE Defense Activities

11,501,644

11,652,469

11,288,000

-213,144

(1.9%)

-363,969

(3.1%)

Weapons Activities

7,577,341

7,868,409

7,675,000

97,659

(1.3%)

-193,409

(2.5%)

Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation

2,434,303

2,140,142

2,100,000

-334,303

(13.7%)

-40,142

(1.9%)

Army Corps of Engineers, total

10,330,000‡

4,826,000

4,898,000

-5,432,000

(53.0%)

72,000

(1.5%)

Bureau of Reclamation, total

1,047,719

1,049,584

981,032

-66,687

(6.4%)

-68,552

(6.5%)

* FY 2013 values are based on the FY 2013 enacted values as given in the House report. They do not reflect sequestration.

† The House bill proposes combining EERE and Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability into this new account.

‡ Includes funds from the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Appropriations bill.

For additional information, please see the House Energy-Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee website at http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=339186.

Tags:  appropriations  energy  House 

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Senate Appropriations Committee Approves NIH Funding Bill for FY 2013

Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, Monday, July 15, 2013

 

FY 2014 Appropriations Update: Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Bill

Lewis-Burke Associates LLC – July 15, 2013

On July 11, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved by a vote of 16-14 the fiscal year (FY) 2014 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which would provide funding for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Education (ED), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), among other agencies. No Republicans on the Committee voted in favor of the bill due to opposition to programs that support the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill totals $164.3 billion, which is an increase of about $7.8 billion above the FY 2013 enacted level. Please note that the FY 2013 enacted level does not include the effects of the sequester.

The funding recommendations in the bill reflect the decision of the Senate Democratic majority to write the FY 2014 appropriations bills to an overall discretionary total of $1.058 trillion. This is the level proposed by the President in his budget request, which assumes the sequester is overturned and the White House and Congress reach a long-term deficit reduction agreement. However, the House funding allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill assumes the sequester will stay in place, creating a $43 billion gap between the overall funding levels for the Senate and House versions of the bill. At this time, it is unclear when the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee will consider its version of the bill.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

For NIH, the bill includes $30.955 billion, a $307 million (1 percent) increase above the FY 2013 pre-sequestration level and $376 million below the President’s FY 2014 request. Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-KS) offered an amendment to increase the NIH budget by $1.4 billion, which would have been offset by cutting funds for the implementation of ACA, but it was rejected by a party-line vote.

The bill includes $40 million for the BRAIN Initiative and commends NIH for engaging in the multi-agency effort with the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, as well as private sector partners. The Committee notes that funding for the initiative would be pooled from several NIH institutes and centers (ICs) and the Office of the Director. The report also states that in supporting this initial investment, the Committee awaits more detailed budget projections for future years.

The bill also includes an increase of $80 million for the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to lead Alzheimer’s disease research. Language in the report accompanying the bill states that while the Committee does not recommend a specific amount for Alzheimer’s research, it expects a significant portion of the recommended increase for NIA to be directed to this area.

Additionally, the bill recommends $276 million for the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program, rejecting the $50 million cut to the program proposed in the President’s FY 2014 budget request. The report language urges NIH to reexamine the eligibility criteria for IDeA as some IDeA-eligible states have higher success rates than those of non-IDeA states. The Committee directs NIH to provide a report to Congress within 120 days of the release of a forthcoming National Academies report on IDeA and other Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) programs.

Within the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), the bill would provide $50 million for the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN), which received $10 million in FY 2013, not accounting for sequestration cuts. The Committee does not recommend a specific amount for the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) and endorses the recent Institute of Medicine report, noting that NCATS should help the CTSAs function more as a network to realize the program’s full potential.

In report language, the Committee expresses concern that the Administration’s proposed consolidation of government-wide STEM education activities would affect the quality of the Science Education and Partnership Awards (SEPA) program within the NIH Office of the Director and other smaller STEM programs throughout NIH. The Committee directs NIH to continue funding these programs in FY 2014 and to halt the transfer of the programs to the Department of Education. NIH has already begun to implement the consolidation by communicating to NIH STEM education grantees that their programs would be cancelled.

The Committee would continue current policy by maintaining the Executive Level II Salary Cap, which was recommended in the President’s FY 2014 budget request. Also, the Committee rejects the Administration’s proposed increase for HHS program evaluation from 2.5 to 3 percent. This would have resulted in the transfer of approximately $147 million from NIH’s budget to fund HHS evaluation activities.

Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill

FY 2014

National Institutes of Health

As reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee, 7/11/2013

(In thousands)

Agency

FY 2013 Enacted*

FY 2014 Request

FY 2014 Senate Cmte Mark

Senate vs. FY 2013 Enacted

Senate vs. FY 2014 Request

NIH, total

30,647,849

31,101,976

30,954,976

307,127 (1.0%)

-147,000 (0.5%)

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

5,062,039

5,125,951

5,091,885

29,846 (0.6%)

-34,066 (0.7%)

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

3,072,863

3,098,508

3,077,916

5,053 (0.2%)

-20,592 (0.7%)

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)

409,889

411,515

409,947

58 (<0.1%)

-1,568 (0.4%)

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

1,793,450

1,811,786

1,799,745

6,295 (0.4%)

-12,041 (0.7%)

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

1,623,113

1,642,619

1,631,703

8,590 (0.5%)

-10,916 (0.7%)

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

4,481,730

4,578,813

4,548,383

66,653 (1.5%)

-30,430 (0.7%)

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)

2,425,175

2,401,011

2,435,570

10,395 (0.4%)

34,559 (1.4%)

Institutional Development Award (IDeA)

275,406

225,438

275,957

551 (0.2%)

50,519 (22.4%)

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

1,318,755

1,339,360

1,330,459

11,704 (0.9%)

-8,901 (0.7%)

National Eye Institute (NEI)

701,307

699,216

701,407

100 (<0.1%)

2,191 (0.3%)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

684,200

691,348

686,753

2,553 (0.4%)

-4,595 (0.7%)

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

1,101,234

1,193,370

1,185,439

84,205 (7.6%)

-7,931 (0.7%)

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

534,715

540,993

537,398

2,683 (0.5%)

-3,595 (0.7%)

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

415,440

422,936

420,125

4,685 (1.1%)

-2,811 (0.7%)

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

1,477,304

1,465,782

1,456,041

-21,263 (1.4%)

-9,741 (0.7%)

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

1,051,261

1,071,612

1,064,490

13,229 (1.3%)

-7,122 (0.7%)

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

458,600

463,848

460,765

2,165 (0.5%)

-3,083 (0.7%)

National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)

144,479

146,244

145,272

793 (0.5%)

-972 (0.7%)

National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

511,847

517,319

513,881

2,034 (0.4%)

-3,438 (0.7%)

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)

337,681

338,892

337,728

47 (<0.1%)

-1,164 (0.3%)

National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)

275,887

283,299

281,416

5,529 (2.0%)

-1,883 (0.7%)

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

127,800

129,041

128,183

383 (0.3%)

-858 (0.7%)

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

574,216

665,688

661,264

87,048 (15.2%)

-4,424 (0.7%)

Cures Acceleration Network (CAN)

9,961

50,000

50,000

40,039 (402%)

--

John E. Fogarty International Center (FIC)

69,483

72,864

72,380

2,897 (4.2%)

-484 (0.7%)

National Library of Medicine (NLM)

336,963

382,252

379,712

42,749 (12.7%)

-2,540 (0.7%)

Office of the Director (OD)

1,525,125

1,473,398

1,463,606

-61,519 (4.0%)

-9,792 (0.7%)

Common Fund

544

573

568

24 (4.4%)

-5 (0.9%)

Buildings and Facilities

125,093

126,111

125,308

215 (0.2%)

-803 (0.6%)

*Values do not reflect sequestration.

Tags:  appropriations  Congress  NIH 

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DOE Funding Bill Approved by House for FY 2014

Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On June 26, the House Appropriations Committee approved a $30.4 billion Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill to fund the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Energy (DOE), and other independent agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2014. The Committee bill overall is $2.9 billion below the FY 2013 enacted level and approximately $700 million below the enacted level after sequestration. Please note that comparisons to the FY 2013 enacted level do not reflect the across-the-board reductions required under sequestration. The House bill is $4.1 billion below the President’s budget request. This is the first domestic spending bill that reflects the significant spending reductions that would be needed under the House-passed budget resolution and in the absence of an overall long-term deficit reduction plan that would replace sequestration.

House Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) highlighted the "hard choices” the Subcommittee had to make to meet its spending allocation. The priorities for the bill include DOE’s national security programs, including nuclear weapons; national and regional infrastructure programs through the Army Corps of Engineers; nuclear clean-up; and programs to promote economic competitiveness. The funding recommendations in the bill reflect the decision of the House Republican majority to write the FY 2014 bills to an overall discretionary total of $967 billion, the post-sequester spending cap level. This level is $91 billion below the level of $1.058 trillion for discretionary spending requested by the President and embraced by Senate Democrats that assumes the sequester is overturned and a comprehensive budget agreement is reached.

The House Committee recommends a reduction of $1.4 billion below the FY 2013 enacted level before sequestration for DOE’s energy programs. For the DOE Office of Science, the House bill would provide $4.653 billion, which is a reduction of about $223 million (4.6 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level. The House bill is nearly $500 million (9.7 percent) below the President’s request for the Office of Science. The Committee indicates that it has given priority to research, such as the basic research done by the Office of Science, which only the federal government is likely to do. Within the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, the Committee fully funds the President’s budget request of $24.2 million for each of two Energy Innovation Hubs relating to Fuels from Sunlight and Batteries. The House bill includes $60 million to support the Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), a reduction of $40 million below the President’s request. The Committee does not approve the request of an additional $68.7 million to fully fund additional centers. The Committee also approves the budget request for exascale computing totaling $68.58 million. Chairman Frelinghuysen indicated that, as it did last year, the Subcommittee restores cuts to the Fusion Energy program proposed by the President.

The House Committee makes the deepest funding cuts in programs deemed a priority by the Administration. For the Advanced Research Projects Agency- Energy (ARPA-E), the House proposes to reduce funding to $50 million, which is a reduction of $215 million (81 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level. The House proposal is $329.0 million (86.8 percent) below the President’s request for ARPA-E. A Democratic amendment to restore the $215 million was defeated on a voice vote because the increased spending was not offset with reductions elsewhere in the bill, and the amendment if adopted, would exceed the Subcommittee’s budget allocation.

The House bill would transfer the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability to DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and fund the programs overall at $982.6 million, a reduction of $971 million (49.7 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level, and $1.96 billion (66.6 percent) below the President’s budget request. The President’s budget request proposed to increase these clean energy technology programs by over 50 percent to nearly $3 billion. A Democratic amendment was offered to fund EERE at $2.8 billion during committee consideration of the bill. The amendment was defeated on a party line vote as the amendment if adopted, would exceed the Subcommittee’s budget allocation.

For the electricity programs, the House bill recommends $80 million, a reduction of $32.5 million below the FY 2013 enacted level and $61.4 million below the President’s budget request. The House Committee recommends no funding for the proposed Electricity Systems Energy Innovation Hub for which the President requested $20 million.

Within EERE, the House Committee emphasizes research to address high gas prices through the Bioenergy Technologies, Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies, and Vehicle Technologies programs, providing a total of $390 million for these activities. The House Committee also states that advanced manufacturing is a priority, providing $120 million for this program with continued support for the Critical Materials Energy Innovation Hub.

The House bill would provide funding for ongoing Nuclear Energy activities at $656.4 million, a reduction of $96.6 million (12.8 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level and $79.1 million (10.8 percent) below the President’s budget request. The bill would provide $450 million for the Fossil Energy R&D programs, which is an increase of $29.4 million (7.0 percent) above the President’s budget request, but $84 million (15.7 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level.

The recommendations for the DOE nuclear security programs administered through the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) total $11.3 billion, which is a decrease of $235.6 million (2.1 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level, and $386.5 million (3.3 percent) below the President’s budget request. These programs include Weapons Activities, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, and Naval Reactors. As it did last year, the House Subcommittee approves $25 million to retain the viability of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.

For the water infrastructure agencies, the House bill would provide $4.9 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, a reduction of $104 million (2.0 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level excluding emergency appropriations associated with Hurricane Sandy, and $50 million (1.0 percent) above the President’s budget request. The House would provide $965 million for the Bureau of Reclamation, which is $91.7 million (8.8 percent) below the FY 2013 enacted level and $93.6 million (8.9 percent) below the President’s request.

House Energy-Water Development Appropriations Bill, FY 2014

As reported by the House Appropriations Committee, 6/26/13

(In thousands)

FY 2013

Enacted*

FY 2014 Request

FY 2014 House Cmte Mark

House Cmte vs.

FY 2013 Enacted

House Cmte vs.

FY 2014 Request

DOE, total

27,043,427

28,953,893

24,952,252

-2,118,175

(7.8%)

-4,028,641

(13.9%)

Science

4,876,000

5,152,752

4,653,000

-223,000

(4.6%)

-499,752

(9.7%)

Advanced Scientific Computing Research

440,825

465,593

432,365

-8,460

(1.9%)

-33,228

(7.1%)

Basic Energy Sciences

1,689,495

1,862,411

1,583,099

-106,396

(6.3%)

-279,312

(15.0%)

Biological and Environmental Research

610,196

625,347

494,106

-116,090

(19.0%)

-131,241

(21.0%)

Fusion Energy Sciences Program

401,108

458,324

506,076

104,968

(26.2%)

47,752

(10.4%)

High-energy Physics

789,595

776,521

772,521

-17,074

(2.2%)

-4,000

(0.5%)

Nuclear Physics

548,537

569,938

551,953

3,376

(0.6%)

-18,025

(3.2%)

Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists

18,451

16,500

16,500

-1,951

(10.6%)

--

Science Laboratories Infrastructure

111,503

97,818

46,558

-64,945

(58.3%)

-51,260

(52.4%)

Renewable Energy, Energy Reliability and Efficiency

1,953,591

2,944,715

982,637

-970,954

(49.7%)

-1,962,078

(66.6%)

Nuclear Energy

753,000

735,460

656,389

-96,611

(12.8%)

-79,071

(10.8%)

Fossil Energy Research and Development

534,000

420,575

450,000

-84,000

(15.7%)

29,425

(7.0%)

ARPA-E

265,000

379,000

50,000

-215,000

(81.1%)

-329,000

(86.8%)

DOE Defense Activities

11,501,644

11,652,469

11,266,000

-235,644

(2.1%)

-386,469

(3.3%)

Weapons Activities

7,577,341

7,868,409

7,675,000

97,659

(1.3%)

-193,409

(2.5%)

Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation

2,434,303

2,140,142

2,100,000

-334,303

(13.7%)

-40,142

(1.9%)

Army Corps of Engineers, total

10,330,000‡

4,826,000

4,876,000

-5,454,000

(52.8%)

50,000

(1.0%)

Bureau of Reclamation, total

1,047,719

1,049,584

956,032

-91,687

(8.8%)

-93,552

(8.9%)

* FY 2013 values are based on the FY 2013 enacted values as given in the House report. They do not reflect sequestration.

† The House bill proposes combining EERE and Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability into this new account.

‡ Includes funds from the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Appropriations bill.

For additional information, please see the House Energy-Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee website at http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=339186.

Tags:  appropriations  Congress  DOE 

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ASPB Applauds the President's Commitment to Scientific Research Investments in the FY 2014 Budget Request

Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) is pleased with President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget request, which improves upon his past commitments to the agricultural and plant sciences.

A sustainable future, with a more nimble, more complete, and innovative workforce, is in the national interest. The challenge, however, is to execute this strategy in an era of economic limits where anticipated outcomes must justify the investment of limited resources. We cannot meet the food, shelter, and energy demands of our burgeoning global population—especially with climate instability as a backdrop—if investment into plant-related research stagnates in this country. Ending that stagnation, however, will allow us to leverage the new technologies that are transforming biology, thereby accelerating the pace of discovery and promising creative and sustainable solutions. President Obama’s FY 2014 proposed budget is a step toward addressing these issues.

Specifically, ASPB applauds the President’s strong commitment to the National Science Foundation and the proposed increase of $4 million to the Plant Genome Research Program, as well as the President’s proposed increases to Basic Energy Sciences and Biological and Environmental Research within the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. Notably, ASPB is also pleased with the President’s request for a substantial increase to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, proposing an increase of over 28 percent compared to the recently-passed FY 2013 level from Congress, not accounting for sequestration.

If the United States is to tackle societal challenges in food, energy, environment, and health, strategic investments in the agricultural and plant sciences is vital. ASPB hopes the President will continue his dedication to these issues and urges Congress to commit to these needs, as well.

 

Tags:  appropriations  President Obama 

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USDA/NIFA Releases Plan for Funding Under the Sequester

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Monday, March 18, 2013

In an email to USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) partners, NIFA director Sonny Ramaswamy released the agency's plan for implementing the sequester.  NIFA plans on funding all existing Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) awards, but will likely fund fewer new grants under the 5% reduction required by sequestration.   Formula and capacity funding along with other research, education and extension program funding would also take a hit. 

 The email in its entirety can be found below or at http://nifa.usda.gov/email_prntrs_seques.pdf


Colleagues,

As you are likely aware, due to the failure of Congress to reach a deal on balanced deficit reduction to avoid sequestration, the President was required by law to issue a sequestration order canceling approximately $85 billion in budgetary resources across the Federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year (FY) 2013.

It is our intent at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Department of Agriculture

(USDA) to provide you with clear information about how these budget cuts impact us, and in turn what it means for funds provided to our land-grant universities and other partners who benefit from programs administered by NIFA.

At this time, USDA is taking every step to mitigate the effects of these cuts, but based on our initial analysis, it is possible that your organization’s workforce, revenue, and planning processes may be affected. Based on the

5 percent sequestration reductions that apply to the FY 2013 funding amounts, NIFA anticipates the following funding impacts:

• A reduction of $13 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), competitive grants program, potentially resulting in fewer new proposals that may be funded during FY 2013;

• AFRI Continuation awards from previous Fiscal Years will not be impacted by the sequestration, and, continued funding will be based on evaluations of performance and meeting stated goals;

• Reductions totaling almost $37 million for capacity/formula funding; and,

• Reductions for other research, education and extension programs totaling over $10 million.

While we are currently operating under the FY 2013 Continuing Resolution, which provides temporary funding through March 27, 2013, NIFA is proceeding with announcements for Requests for Applications for most competitive grants programs and will hold competitive peer review panels. However, grant awards will be contingent upon receipt of final FY 2013 appropriations.

NIFA plans to release some Formula Grant Opportunities announcements soon. Consistent with the FY 2013 Continuing Resolution, only up to 40 percent of the FY 2012 funding level will be released for the first two quarters.

Thank you for your continued partnership with the USDA and NIFA, and for your cooperation as we work together to manage these challenging circumstances.

As always, we will continue to notify you as the situation with FY 2013 funding levels moves through the appropriations process in Congress.

--

Sonny Ramaswamy

USDA-NIFA

Tags:  appropriations  grants  USDA 

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FY 2013 Appropriations Update: Sequester and Revisiting the Continuing Resolution

Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC , Wednesday, March 06, 2013

In the absence of agreement on a long-term deficit reduction plan, on March 1st, President Obama signed an order directing federal agencies to reduce spending subject to sequestration under the Budget Control Act of 2011. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimates that to achieve the necessary $85 billion in savings, sequestration would require a reduction of approximately 5.0 percent in non-defense discretionary spending and 7.8 percent in non-exempt defense discretionary spending. Additional reductions will be taken in certain mandatory programs specified in the law.

As federal agencies prepare to implement the sequester, the Congress is turning its attention to the Continuing Resolution (CR), which is currently funding the entire federal government through March 27. There is general agreement between Congress and the White House and between Democrats and Republicans that there should be no government shutdown. It also appears likely that there will be no attempt to try to overturn the sequester in the final appropriations bill.

So what is likely to happen?

  • Due to the significant uncertainty, many federal agencies restrained spending to hedge their bets in the uncertain budgetary situation. Many agencies have implemented the traditional CR formula using the lowest of the FY 2012 enacted level, the President’s FY 2013 budget request, the House appropriations level, or the Senate appropriations level. Agencies have also retained some percentage of funding under the CR in anticipation of a possible sequester.
  • Because of these actions, the impact of the sequester will vary by agency depending on the types of programs it funds. For federal research agencies, the first priority is likely to be funding existing grants and grantees.
  • Until Congress completes action on the FY 2013 appropriations bill, research agencies are likely to delay announcing new funding opportunities.
  • Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are working on the CR. The House Committee expects to fund defense-related bills and to continue the CR level for other federal agencies. The Senate Committee may offer an omnibus appropriations bill to complete action on all 12 bills as significant progress on such a bill was made late last year.
  • Once agencies have a full-year budget to implement their programs, there could be a flurry of funding solicitations released with relatively short times for submitting applications in order to obligate funding this fiscal year, which ends September 30.

In the meantime, each federal agency will be refining its plan to implement the sequester (please see below for a list of agency resources on the sequester). Congress and the White House will work to agree on final FY 2013 appropriations, which will be subject to the sequester. The next opportunity to restart negotiations between the White House and Congress on a long-term deficit reduction plan, which may or may not revisit the sequester, will be during consideration of the budget resolution for FY 2014 and discussions on raising the ceiling on the debt limit, which expires on May 19.

 

Sequestration Resources

White House

The President’s sequestration order (released March 1) can be viewed at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/2013sequestration-order-rel.pdf.

White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
OMB released a memorandum on federal agency responsibilities for implementation of sequestration (released February 27): http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/memoranda/2013/m-13-05.pdf.

OMB also sent a report to Congress which provides calculations on budgetary resources that are required to be reduced under sequestration (released March 1): http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/legislative_reports/fy13ombjcsequestrationreport.pdf.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH released the following operation plan in event of a sequestration (released February 21): http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-13-043.html.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF released this notice regarding the impact of sequestration on NSF awards (released February 27): http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2013/in133/in133.pdf.

Department of Education

The Department of Education released additional information on sequestration’s impact on Title IV student financial assistance programs (released March 1): http://ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/030113ImpactofSequestrationonTitleIVFSAProg.html.

Senate Appropriations Committee

On February 14, the Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing on the impacts of sequestration. The website below will link you to a list of department and agency letters to the Committee with information about how sequestration is expected to impact each entity. Information for NSF, NIH, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Education, Agriculture, and Energy (as well as numerous others) can be found here: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/ht-full.cfm?method=hearings.view&id=17d3dc99-c065-4bec-a7c8-cfd374bf41a3.

The Washington Post

The White House released information on the expected impact of sequestration for each state. The Washington Post published this information and arranged it by category (White House released information on February 24): http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/sequestration-state-impact/.

 

Tags:  appropriations  Congress  NIH  NSF  President Obama  Washington Post  White House 

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National Science Foundation Funding Up 4.3% in House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill, Surpassing the Senate Mark

Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, Monday, April 23, 2012

On April 19, the House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee and the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved their respective versions of the fiscal year (FY) 2013 CJS 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), Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). NSF, NIST, NOAA, and NASA are particular winners in the House bill. At this point, it is still too early to compare the House mark with the bill the Senate Appropriations Committee approved earlier today as details on the Senate bill remain scarce.

As previously reported, there is low likelihood of Congress passing any appropriations bills for FY 2013 before the November elections. Furthermore, the House appropriations bills will be a total of $19 billion below the level set in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (debt-limit agreement) while the Senate Appropriations Committee intends to write its bills to the higher level of $1.047 trillion approved last year in the Act. Below are additional details on NSF funding in the House CJS Subcommittee bill.

Similar to the Senate, the National Science Foundation (NSF) would continue to receive strong bipartisan support in the House, with the House Subcommittee proposing $7.333 billion overall for NSF, an increase of $299 million or four percent over FY 2012, $41 million or less than one percent below the FY 2013 request, and $60 million above the Senate mark. With the exception of the Research and Related Activities (R&RA) account, the Subcommittee would support all NSF accounts at the President’s FY 2013 requested level. The Subcommittee would provide an increase of $254 million or five percent over FY 2012 to the R&RA account; however, this amount would be a decrease of $41 million or less than one percent below the President’s request for FY 2013.

The House Subcommittee bill would fully fund OSTP at the President’s request of $6 million, which is an increase of $1 million (30 percent) over the FY 2012 level.

 

 

House CJS Appropriations Bill, FY 2013

As reported by the House CJS Appropriations Subcommittee, 4/19/12

(In thousands)

 

National Science Foundation


FY 2012 Enacted

FY 2013 Request

House Mark*

Senate Mark†

House vs. Senate

NSF, total

7,033,100

7,373,100

7,332,513 (4.3%)

7,273,000 (3.4%)

59,513

(0.8%)

Research & Related Activities (R&RA)

5,689,000

5,983,280

5,942,693 (4.5%)

N/A

N/A

Education & Human Resources (EHR)

829,000

875,610

875,610 (5.6%)

N/A

N/A

Major Research Equipment & Facilities Construction (MREFC)

197,060

196,170

196,170 (-0.5%)

N/A

N/A

 Agency Operations & Award Management

299,400

299,400

299,400 (0%)

N/A

N/A

 National Science Board (NSB)

4,440

4,440

4,440 (0%)

N/A

N/A

Office of Inspector General  

14,200

14,200

14,200 (0%)

N/A

N/A

* Percentage comparison is to the FY 2012 enacted level.

† Percentage comparison is to the FY 2012 enacted level.

 

 

 

Sources:

The House CJS Subcommittee’s press release is available at http://appropriations.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=290672.

The House CJS draft bill is available at http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-112HR-SC-AP-FY13-CommerceJusticeScience.pdf.

Chairman Wolf’s opening remarks during the Subcommittee markup are available at http://appropriations.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=291030.

Tags:  appropriations  House  NSF  OSTP 

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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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Policy Update: FY 2012 Appropriations Update: Congress Completes FY 2012 Appropriations Process

Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates, LLC, Monday, December 19, 2011

Lewis-Burke Associates LLC – December 2011

The U.S. Congress voted to accept a package of fiscal year (FY) 2012 appropriations measures to avoid a shutdown of a significant portion of the Federal Government as the current Continuing Resolution was set to expire Friday night. This action followed months of wrangling over the federal debt and deficit and reducing federal spending. The final bills represent real compromise and sustain important investments in federal research and education programs, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, Department of Defense (DOD) basic research, and Pell grants, at current levels or with modest increases. The House of Representatives passed the package early on Friday while the Senate passed the bills on Saturday.

The final conference agreement details funding amounts and agency directives for federal agencies, including:

  • Defense Appropriations Bill – Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill – Department of Energy (DOE)
  • Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Bill – Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Human Services including the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The $915 billion Consolidated Appropriations bill includes $30.698 billion for NIH for an increase of $299 million (0.7 percent) above FY 2011. The final bill creates the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), which is the top priority for NIH Director Francis Collins, and includes $10 million for the new Cures Acceleration Network (CAN). The bill decreases the NIH salary cap from Executive Level I ($199,700) to Executive Level II ($179,700)—a better outcome than the House draft bill, which recommended Executive Level III, but the first time Congress has decreased the NIH salary cap.

The DOE Office of Science would receive $4.889 billion, an increase of $46.34 million (about one percent) above FY 2011. The final bill provides $20 million each to establish two new Energy Innovation Hubs – one on Batteries and Energy Storage and one on Critical Materials. The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) programs of the Department are slated for level funding at $1.825 billion. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), will receive $275 million, half of the $550 million requested by the President.

DOD basic and applied research programs remain a priority within the bill as the overall increase for the Department was held to $5 billion above the FY 2011 level, a compromise between the House’s $17 billion increase and the Senate’s proposed freeze. For DOD research overall, a total of $72.4 billion is approved. While this represents a $2.5 billion decrease below the current level, the reduction is less than experienced by other aspects of the defense budget.

The final bill includes the necessary funding to continue the maximum Pell grant award at $5,550, while making changes to the program to reduce cost. However, the program is still expected to face increased funding pressures because of the overall growth of the program.

Additionally, the Senate rejected, in a 43 to 56 vote, a resolution that would have triggered a 1.83 percent across-the-board reduction against all discretionary spending except for defense, military construction, and veterans programs. The reduction was designed to pay for an additional $8.1 billion in disaster relief appropriations, which will now be provided as emergency spending following Senate approval of that legislation.

The Congress also passed, and the President has signed, a bill to extend the Continuing Resolution through December 23rd to allow the President to review and sign the Consolidated Appropriations bill into law this week. These actions will finally complete the FY 2012 appropriations process.

Tags:  appropriations  Congress  DOD  DOE  NIH 

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Increase to indirect cost limits for NIFA funded grants in the FY 2012 minibus appropriations bill

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Thursday, December 08, 2011

Indirect costs, also known as facilities and administration costs, included in many USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) funded grants have previously been limited to at most 22%. The FY 2012 minibus appropriations bill provides language (see below) that allows for up to 30% for indirect costs, at least for grants funded in FY 2012. Indirect cost rates for most research institutions hover around 50%. This change in policy at the USDA represents a major step towards rates honored at other science funding agencies.


Text from the appropriations bill:

SEC. 720. None of the funds in this Act shall be available to pay indirect costs charged against any agricultural research, education, or extension grant awards issued by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture that exceed 30 percent of total Federal funds provided under each award: Provided, That notwithstanding section 1462 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3310), funds provided by this Act for grants awarded competitively by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture shall be available to pay full allowable indirect costs for each grant awarded under section 9 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 638).


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

Tags:  appropriations  USDA 

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Implications of Supercommittee Collapse for Science Funding and Higher Education

Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates, LLC, Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Media attention has focused on the failure of the 12-member congressional Supercommittee to reach agreement on a package to reduce the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next nine years. However, universities and science organizations are not the victims of the deficit impasse. Generally, federal funding for scientific research is not the target of deficit reduction for several reasons: (1) the amount of domestic discretionary funding for science is not large enough to have significant impact on deficit reduction; (2) science has bipartisan support among politicians since it is part of the innovation economy upon which the country’s financial recovery is partially dependent; and (3) dismantling the scientific infrastructure of the country is counter-productive in the global technology-driven forces of the 21st century. There are aspects of the current federal deficit paralysis that indirectly affect higher education – particularly relating to student aid, academic health centers, and tax policy – but reducing direct federal support of scientific research at academic institutions is not front-and-center.

Now, many are trying to determine what happens next as Congress still has much work to do before adjourning next month. With funding fully enacted for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) the competitive funding arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), with modest increases (NSF and NOAA), flat funding (AFRI) or a slight reduction (NASA), completion of the fiscal year (FY) 2012 appropriations process, especially for NIH funding, is an important challenge. In addition to funding the remaining appropriations bills, which are currently operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) through December 16th, there are other issues looming before Congress, such as extension of unemployment benefits, doctor payments, and tax extenders. This report describes the impact of the collapse of the Supercommittee at the federal level; however, actions might be taken by state and local governments to respond to possible implications associated with the collapse of the Supercommittee process. 


Near-Term Outlook for Science Funding

Among its many to-dos, Congress must still complete nine remaining FY 2012 appropriations bills, including bills that fund the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Education (ED). It is expected that this will be done through one large "omnibus” package before the end of the calendar year. As previously reported, other science agencies for which appropriations bills have been passed—namely NSF, NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Agriculture (USDA)—fared relatively well in FY 2012, receiving budgets that are about flat or slightly increased above the FY 2011 enacted level. A similar outcome is expected for basic research in agencies like NIH and DOE in the final appropriations agreement.

One caveat is that it is not uncommon for a modest across-the-board reduction to be included in an omnibus appropriations bill should it be warranted to keep discretionary appropriations within the overall cap of $1.043 trillion enacted in the Budget Control Act (debt limit agreement). Should the appropriations process stall, there has been some discussion of extending the current CR into early next year, which would result in a freeze for all programs at the current (FY 2011) level until Congress completes an omnibus bill or enacts a CR for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Planning is also underway by agencies for the President’s FY 2013 budget request which is expected to be more conservative than in past years and may even be delayed due to the uncertainty of future budget cuts. The FY 2013 process remains very uncertain at the moment with flat funding for federal research agencies considered "a win” in the coming years.


Budget Scenarios for FY 2014 and Beyond

In August, the Budget Control Act enacted a process that would institute automatic across-the-board budget cuts over nine years, known as sequestration, in the event that the Supercommittee could not reach a deal. However, given that the cuts are not scheduled to go into effect until January 2013 (after the election) and are subject to subsequent revision by Congress, it is possible they will be delayed or never triggered at all. In the event no changes are made to the automatic budget cuts, the White House Office of Management and Budget would be required to reduce the discretionary appropriated budget by $109 billion per year for nine years, allocated equally between defense spending and nondefense spending.

Reductions in discretionary spending from 2014 to 2021 would be achieved by reducing the aggregate overall caps on such spending for each year. While the President could propose specific cuts to agencies such as NIH and NSF, specific appropriations would still be subject to the annual congressional appropriations process and program funding could be increased or further decreased within the overall capped amount for all discretionary spending. As a general rule of thumb, if these cuts were allocated proportionately, it would mean 6 to 8 percent reductions to the domestic spending agencies.

Concerns are already being expressed by the Administration and by both Democratic and Republican Members of Congress over the magnitude of potential spending cuts to defense. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the DOD budget could be cut by as much as 10 percent in FY 2013 under the mandated sequester with additional reductions in discretionary defense spending over the nine-year period to estimated savings of about 8.5 percent in FY 2021. Such reductions, totaling an estimated $492 billion, could impact big defense programs already at issue in Congress, as well as drive changes in the structure and mobility of the nation’s military services already under consideration. Additional reductions in mandatory defense spending are also likely under current law. While some want to undo the sequester for defense, the President has threatened to veto any bill that focuses only on exempting defense spending.

In short, the budget outlook for the next several years is uncertain at best. The main question on the table is whether and how to skirt the automatic cuts that would be levied against FY 2013 appropriations as required under the Budget Control Act. However, flat funding for science agencies remains a possibility over the next few years and should be viewed as a "win” in the current budget climate.

Congressional Quarterly (CQ) has produced a graphic that further explains the sequestration process, should that process go forward without changes by Congress: http://www.cq.com/graphics/monitor/2011/11/23/mon20111123-23deficit-cht.pdf

Tags:  appropriations  Congress  DOE  NIH  NSF  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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Continuing Resolution funds federal government through November 18

Posted By Lewis Burke Associates LLC, Thursday, October 06, 2011
On October 5, President Obama signed a bill to continue funding the operations of the entire Federal Government through November 18.  The Continuing Resolution (CR) (H.R. 2608) is necessary because none of the 12 annual appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY 2012) were enacted by October 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year.  The CR will provide Congress with the opportunity over the next few weeks to negotiate an omnibus appropriations bill to complete the FY 2012 appropriations process.

While the CR was overwhelmingly passed by the House on a 352 to 66 vote, the House Republican leadership depended on nearly an equal number of Democrats to Republicans to pass the CR, reflecting the deep divisions that remain within the House Republican caucus about continued efforts to reduce federal spending.  Both the overall level of spending for FY 2012 and  whether or not to offset spending on disaster aid with funding reductions elsewhere in the budget are issues that are likely to complicate negotiations on a final FY 2012 omnibus appropriations bill.

The Continuing Resolution would:
  • Reduce all discretionary programs across-the-board by 1.503% below the FY 2011 enacted level to keep spending within the $1.043 trillion overall cap enacted in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (debt limit agreement);
  • Limit the activities of Federal agencies to those funded or underway in FY 2011;
  • Provide for certain "anomalies" or special cases where additional authority is needed to continue ongoing activities. For example, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is given the authority to carry out the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program through September 30, 2012, and to carry out the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) and the Commercialization Pilot Programs through November 18; and
  • Provide a total of $2.65 billion in disaster relief funding to assist the thousands of Americans who have been affected by floods, wildfires, Hurricane Irene, and the Mid-Atlantic earthquake, and other natural disasters.  The final CR drops the proposed offsetting savings to help pay for the disaster aid funding to which Senate Democrats and the White House objected.   House Republicans initially wanted to partially offset the disaster spending by rescinding (canceling) $1 billion for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program, and $100 million from the DOE Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program.
The U.S. Senate passed the CR on a 79 to 12 vote on September 26.  Without passage, the previous CR would have expired at midnight this morning.


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

Tags:  appropriations  Congress  White House 

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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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Debt ceiling increased; what is the impact on science and education?

Posted By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Moments ago, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011 on a vote of 74-26, which raises the nation's debt ceiling, thus preventing a possible government default at the end of the day.  The U.S. House of Representatives had passed the bill on a vote of 269-161 last night.  President Obama is expected to sign the bill shortly.

Members of the ASPB community may be curious about the impact of this bill on the scientific and educational communities.  First, some key take-aways:
  • The Budget Control Act of 2011, largely resembles recent proposals introduced by House Republicans and Senate Democrats in that it would cap discretionary spending for the next ten years and require future deficit reduction to be determined by a joint Congressional Committee and approved by Congress by December 23, 2011.
  • The discretionary spending cap for fiscal year (FY) 2012 would be $24 billion above the levels currently governing the House appropriations bills. The agreement, however, would establish "firewalls" around security and non‐security spending so that funding could not be redistributed between the two categories of spending.
  • While the plan would not initially cut federal science and education programs, these and other programs subject to annual appropriations could be subject to funding cuts in the deficit reduction package that must pass Congress before the end of 2011.
  • The bill would largely make up for the shortfall in mandatory funding for the Pell grant program, but additional discretionary funding will be required to maintain the $5,550 maximum award. It would also reform federal student aid programs, cutting interest subsidy loans for graduate and professional students and some student loan repayment incentives.
The bill would cap discretionary spending levels at $1.043 trillion in FY 2012, a slight reduction from FY 2011 discretionary spending which totaled about $1.049 trillion, but an increase of approximately $24 billion over the House‐passed budget resolution for FY 2012. Caps on discretionary spending would gradually increase to $1.234 trillion by FY 2021 and save an estimated $917 billion over that time frame. The bill establishes a "firewall" around security and non‐security spending so that funding could not be redistributed between the two categories of spending. Security spending is defined in the bill as funding for the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the intelligence community management account, and Function 150 programs (State Department and International Assistance).

The bill would allow the President to raise the debt ceiling by $400 billion right away and by another $500 billion after that. However, Congress can vote to stop the second increase in the debt ceiling. Future increases in the debt ceiling, which will be required by the end of 2011, would be subject to passage of another $1.2 to $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next nine years, which may include both spending cuts and revenue raisers. Should Congress fail to pass a deficit reduction measure by December 23 that reduces the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion, the bill would force across‐the‐board cuts (sequestration) totaling $1.2 trillion or the difference between the deficit reduction package agreed to by Congress and the $1.2 trillion level. Cuts would be equally divided between security and non‐security programs to provide incentive for both Republicans and Democrats to broker a deal. Social Security, Medicaid, veterans’ benefits, and other essential benefits would be exempt from cuts. Cuts to Medicare are capped at 2 percent and are limited to funding for providers.

The bill also includes $17 billion in mandatory funding for the Pell grant program. President Obama’s FY 2012 budget request assumes a $20 billion shortfall for the Pell Grant program in order to continue to fund the maximum Pell at $5,550. While the plan would provide the bulk of the estimated shortfall, additional discretionary funding would still be needed within the appropriations process to fund Pell at the maximum grant level for FY 2012.

Finally, the bill includes a provision requiring both the House and the Senate to vote on a balanced
budget amendment to the Constitution before the end of the year. The debt limit increase, however, is not contingent on passage of the amendment as it was in an earlier House version of this legislation.



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

Tags:  appropriations  Congress 

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ALERT: USDA appropriations amendments could be catastrophic to USDA research

Posted By Adam Fagen, Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives will be considering H.R. 2112, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2012.  This is the bill that provides funding for USDA and other agencies for fiscal year 2012.

Several amendments have been proposed that would have a catastrophic impact on funding for USDA research.

In particular, an amendment (H.AMDT.428) from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) would cut $1.8 billion from USDA including a cut of $650 million from the Agricultural Research Service (a 65% cut!), $85 million from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, $43 from the Economic Research Service, and $1.04 billion from the Food for Peace Grants.

We urge you to contact your Congressional representatives IMMEDIATELY and urge them to oppose Rep. Chaffetz's amendment and any amendments that would be harmful to research.

There are several other amendments proposed that would impact funding for USDA research.  We will update this blog post with more details.

You can find contact information for your representative by entering your zip code at the top of the website for the House of Representatives.


EVENING UPDATE

Thank you for your calls!  Rep. Chaffetz's amendment failed on a vote of 83-338.  No other amendments passed that have any significant effect on the USDA research portfolio.

Tags:  alert  appropriations  House  USDA 

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