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William Beach, Former Budget Committee Economist, Nominated as BLS Commissioner

The White House has nominated William Beach for a four-year term as Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), succeeding Erica Groshen, whose term expired in January, and William J. Wiatrowski, the Acting Commissioner since Groshen’s departure. Currently Vice President for Policy Research at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, Beach holds a Ph.D. in economics from the UK’s Buckingham University. Prior to joining the Mercatus Center, Beach served as the Chief Economist for the Senate Budget Committee’s Republican staff and the Lazof Family Fellow in Economics director of the Center for Data Analysis at the Heritage Foundation. BLS Commissioners must be confirmed by the Senate, and no date for a confirmation hearing has been announced at this time.

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Posted in Issue 21 (October 31), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Senate Labor-HHS-Education Bill Approved by Committee

On September 7, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Bill; the Labor-HHS Subcommittee advanced the bill on September 5. This bill contains annual funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Education (ED), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), among other federal departments and agencies. The House Appropriations Committee passed its version of the bill on July 19; the bill recently passed the House as part of a 12-bill omnibus (see related article).

The next step for the bill is consideration by the full Senate. However, Congress recently struck a deal with the White House on a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded into next fiscal year (which begins October 1) through December 8. This is intended to provide additional time for lawmakers to come to agreement on overall budget levels, including the spending caps that are currently casting a major shadow on the FY 2018 appropriations bills; the bills have been written to exceed the caps currently set in law, signaling that a budget deal could be negotiated in the weeks ahead.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s proposals for the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Department of Education.

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Posted in Issue 18 (September 19), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Preliminary Details of House Labor-HHS Bill Released

On July 7, the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee passed its fiscal year (FY) 2017 appropriations bill for agencies and programs under its jurisdiction, which include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Department of Education, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), among others. While text of the draft appropriations bill was released to coincide with the Subcommittee markup, the Committee Report is not expected to be released until the bill is marked up by the full Appropriations Committee on Wednesday (July 13).

Read on for preliminary details of the bill’s proposals for agencies important to the social and behavioral sciences, and check back later in the week for a full analysis of the bill and report language. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 12), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Senate Presses Forward on 2017 Spending Bills

The Senate Appropriations Committee has been making progress over the last several weeks on its fiscal year (FY) 2017 appropriations bills in an effort to pass as many of the bills as possible before heading home in mid-July for the party conventions and August recess (follow all of the developments on the COSSA website).  The FY 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill, which made it out of Committee on April 21, is expected to be on the Senate floor later this week. Stay tuned – COSSA will be closely monitoring the floor debate as this is when we could see amendments that could harm social science research accounts.

In addition, on June 9, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported out the FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Bill. This bill serves as the vehicle for annual appropriations for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Education (ED), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as well as many other federal departments and agencies. Committee members noted that this bill represents the first bipartisan Senate Labor-HHS bill in seven years; this tends to be one of the more controversial and divisive of the 12 appropriations bills given that it provides funding for the Department of Health and Human Services and sections of the Affordable Care Act. The House has yet to release its version of the bill, but is rumored to have something ready by the end of the month.

Check out COSSA’s in-depth analysis for full details.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 14), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Senate Bill Seeks Flat Funding for NSF, NIJ for FY 2017

On April 21, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill. This bill serves as the vehicle for annual appropriations for the National Science Foundation (NSF), Census Bureau, National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and countless other federal departments and agencies. The next step for the CJS bill is consideration on the Senate floor, which has not yet been scheduled.

The bill would provide NSF with a total budget of $7.5 billion in FY 2017, flat with the FY 2016 enacted level. Most notably the Senate bill does not include language singling out social science (or any other scientific disciplines) for cuts or preferential treatment, as we saw last year in the House bill. However, there is language calling on NSF to include criteria in its merit review process considering a project’s potential for advancing U.S. “national security and economic interests.” Further, NIJ and BJS would be held flat for another year at $36 million and $41 million, respectively. Finally, the Census Bureau would receive an increase, but not the amount requested by the Administration for the continued ramp up to the 2020 Decennial Census.

Read on for COSSA’s full analysis.

You can keep up-to-date on the status of FY 2017 funding for social science research agencies on the COSSA website.

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

Members of Congress Submit Funding Requests for Social and Behavioral Science Agencies

Over the past several weeks, Members of Congress have been signing their names to “Dear Colleague” letters, formal requests to the House and Senate appropriations committees for specific funding levels for various federal agencies. COSSA has been tracking letters in support of strong funding for the agencies important to the social and behavioral sciences on our funding updates page. COSSA appreciates the efforts of all of the Members who have signed on to the letters below:

In addition to the requests for specific appropriations levels, a bipartisan letter in the House reaffirms support for the National Science Foundation’s “current practice of setting national scientific research priorities, investing in all disciplines of science, and using the merit review systems for determining which grant proposals to fund.” A letter in the Senate urges appropriators to include funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research on the causes and prevention of gun violence.

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 5), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

House and Senate Appropriations Committees Approve FY 2016 Labor-HHS Bills

The Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate advanced their respective fiscal year (FY) 2016 bills for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS). The House passed its version on June 24 (see COSSA’s preliminary analysis of the bill), and the Senate on June 25. Both bills would provide sizable increases for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with a larger increase coming from the Senate’s bill. The House bill proposes to completely eliminate the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) but maintains strong funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while the Senate keeps AHRQ but would inflict significant cuts to both agencies.

Read on for COSSA’s full analysis of both bills and more details on the funding prospects for these and other agencies important to social and behavioral science.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 30), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

COSSA and Partners Encourage Strong FY 2016 Appropriations

As Congress begins to consider funding for fiscal year (FY) 2016, COSSA has joined dozens of other organizations and coalitions on letters to appropriators in support of strong levels of funding for the federal agencies that support social and behavioral science research. Check our website for the most updated list of letters COSSA has joined.

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Posted in Issue 6 (April 7), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

Analysis of FY 2015 Senate Labor-HHS Bill

In late July, the Senate Appropriations Committee released the text of its fiscal year (FY) 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) appropriations bill. This is the annual spending bill that provides funding to the National Institutes of Health and other HHS agencies, the Department of Education, and the Department of Labor, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As previously reported, the bill was approved by the Labor-HHS Subcommittee in June, but action has since stalled. It is unclear if or when the full Senate Appropriations Committee will take up the bill.

COSSA’s full analysis of the Senate bill is available here.

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Posted in Issue 15 (August 11), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

COSSA Analysis of FY 2015 Senate Labor-HHS Bill

On July 24, the Senate Appropriations Committee released bill language and the accompanying Committee report for the fiscal year (FY) 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations bill. The Labor-HHS Subcommittee approved the bill via voice vote in June (see Update, June 12, 2014). It is still unclear when or if the measure will be considered by the full Senate Appropriations Committee. Instead, it is all but certain that Congress will enact a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to allow time to complete the FY 2015 appropriations process after the November elections.

You can read COSSA’s full analysis of the bill here.

 

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Posted in Issue 15 (August 11), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

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