President Unveils FY 2017 Budget Request, Kicks Off Annual Funding Battle

The Obama Administration has started releasing details of its final budget request to Congress. Full details of the request for fiscal year (FY) 2017 will continue to roll out over the coming days. COSSA is preparing an in-depth analysis of the request as it pertains to social science programs across the federal government. It is important to note that the President’s request for FY 2017 includes new mandatory spending at several agencies, which would largely account for the increases to these agencies.

Details so far include:

  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) would receive nearly $8 billion in FY 2017 (including $400 million in mandatory spending), an increase of 6.7 percent. Without the mandatory spending, the increase would be only 1.3 percent. The Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate would see a 6.1 percent increase when accounting for new mandatory funds; the increase would be 0.1 percent—or flat—without the additional funds. Similarly, the Education and Human Resources Directorate would be increased by 8.3 percent with mandatory funds, 2.1 percent without.
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would receive a total budget of $33.1 billion, of which $1.8 billion is directed to support Administration-designated initiatives, including:
    • $910 million for Alzheimer’s disease research;
    • $680 million for the Vice President’s Cancer Moonshot initiative;
    • $300 million (a $107 million increase) for the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI); and
    • $195 million (a $45 million increase) for NIH’s contributions to the BRAIN Initiative.
  • The National Institute of Justice would receive $48 million, a 33 percent increase, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics would receive $58 million, a 42 percent increase.
  • The President’s budget proposal would use mandatory funding to double the size of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the Department of Agriculture’s competitive grants program housed within the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). AFRI’s budget would increase from $350 million FY 2016 to $700 million. Without the mandatory funds, the agency would still see a $7.1 percent increase to $375 million.
  • Funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) would be restored to its FY 2015 level of $363.7 million, undoing the effects of a an 8.2 percent cut in FY 2016. Of those funds, $83.5 would come from transfers under the Public Health Service Act (sometimes called the “evaluation tap”), a particularly unpopular funding mechanism on the Hill. This amount doesn’t include already-enacted mandatory transfers from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Trust Fund, which should total $106 million in FY 2016.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 9), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

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