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COSSA Letter to Conferees Advocates Funding for NSF, NIJ, BJS, and Census

As Congress returns to complete the business of funding the government for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2017, COSSA is advocating for strong funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and Census Bureau. In a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS), COSSA highlights the important work of these agencies and asks that conferees support the “highest possible funding levels.” The full letter is available on the COSSA website. COSSA has weighed-in in support of other federal agency budgets through our many coalition efforts.

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Posted in Issue 22 (November 15), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

COSSA and Coalitions Urge Strong Funding for SBS in Final FY 2017 Funding Negotiations

In preparation for Congress’ return to Washington after the election, several of the coalitions COSSA works through have sent letters to appropriators urging them to pass funding bills rather than a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2017 and to encourage them to preserve funding for the agencies that support social and behavioral science (SBS), including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Senate letter, House letter), the National Center for Health Statistics (Senate letter, House letter), the Census Bureau (Senate letter, House letter), and the Institute of Education Sciences.

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Posted in Issue 21 (November 1), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

State of Play: FY 2017 Funding for Social Science Research

Congress has adjourned for a seven-week recess and will not be returning to work until after Labor Day. Despite promises for a return to “regular order” in the annual appropriations process, we find ourselves in familiar territory with none of the 12 annual spending bills expected to be enacted into law before the new fiscal year begins October 1. In fact, none of the bills that fund research agencies and programs (the Commerce, Justice Science bill and the Labor, HHS, Education bill) have yet to make it to the House or Senate floors for debate.

Upon returning to work in September, Congress will be faced with a full plate of must-pass legislation and a limited number of days before breaking again for the fall elections. Among the countless unknowns surrounding a possible endgame strategy for appropriations is one certainty – the need to pass a stopgap funding measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to avoid a government shutdown come October 1. The length of the impending CR, though, is still up for debate. Scenarios range from a CR of a couple of months with final action completed in the December timeframe (forcing a lame duck session of Congress after the November elections), to a six-month-long CR that would delay action until after the new Administration and Congress are sworn in, to possibly a year-long continuing resolution that would fund agencies at the FY 2016 level through the end of next fiscal year. These details will need to be sorted out over the next several weeks, and consensus remains far-off. However, all parties appear equally committed to avoiding a government shutdown.

COSSA has been reporting on the status of the FY 2017 appropriations bills over the last several months. Read on for a recap of progress made to date as it relates to social and behavioral science research. Congress will pick up where it left off when Members return to work in September. Full details on the various bills considered so far can be viewed on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 26), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Census Scientific Advisory Committee Seeks Nominations

The Census Bureau has issued a call for nominations for membership to the Census Scientific Advisory Committee. This committee advises the Director of the Census Bureau on statistical data collection, statistical analysis, econometrics, cognitive psychology, and a variety of other scientific areas pertaining to Census Bureau programs and activities. According to the notice in the Federal Register, “Nominees must have scientific and technical expertise in such areas as demography, economics, geography, psychology, statistics, survey methodology, social and behavioral sciences, Information Technology, computing, or marketing.” The deadline for applications is July 15, 2016. More information is available in the Federal Register.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 28), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

House Bill Includes Flat Funding for NSF, Boosts for NIJ, BJS, and Census

On May 24, the House 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 Senate Appropriations Committee advanced its version of the CJS bill on April 21.

The House bill would provide NSF with a total budget of $7.4 billion in FY 2017, slightly below the FY 2016 level of $7.46 billion. Most notably, the bill does not include language targeting social science accounts for cuts, as we saw last year. In addition, the House bill would provide NIJ and BJS with $40 million (+11%) and $48 billion (+17%), respectively, and $1.47 billion for the Census Bureau, an increase of 7.3 percent over the FY 2016 level, but 10 percent below the amount requested by the President.

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 11 (May 31), 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)

House and Senate Get Moving on 2017 Spending Bills

More than a dozen markups and hearings are scheduled this week for House and Senate Appropriations committees and subcommittees. Appropriators are moving ahead with writing their respective fiscal year (FY) 2017 appropriations bills, despite no agreement on top-line funding levels by way of a budget resolution.

You will recall that a bipartisan budget deal was struck back in October, which provided for an extra $30 billion (of a $1.1 trillion total federal budget) in discretionary spending—split evenly between defense and nondefense—in FY 2017. However, the most conservative wing of the GOP in the House are digging in their heels, demanding that total funding next year not exceed the caps set in the 2011 budget agreement. Specifically, they want $30 billion cut from the October deal, taking all of it from the nondefense side where funding for federal research agencies lives. With no end in sight for the debate around top-line spending, House Appropriations Subcommittees have begun pressing forward, writing and marking up their bills consistent with the higher levels agreed to in the fall.

Any effort to enact a budget resolution in the Senate has been all but abandoned. In fact, the Senate is bringing its first FY 2017 appropriations bill, Energy and Water, to the floor this week, setting a record for the earliest Senate floor vote. The House traditionally moves before the Senate on spending bills, but, this year, the House does not intend to get its first bill to the floor for at least another month.

The full House Appropriation Committee will mark up the Agriculture Appropriations Bill on April 19 (see related article), which includes funding for research and statistical agencies of interest to the COSSA community. In addition, the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill, which funds the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, Census Bureau, and other relevant agencies, will be marked up by the Senate CJS Subcommittee on April 19 and the full Appropriations Committee on April 21; stay tuned for COSSA’s full analysis.

It remains to be seen whether promises to move all 12 appropriations bills through the House Appropriations Committee by the end of June will stick or what the Senate’s quick start means for some of the more controversial bills later in the queue. Election year politics always throw a wrench or two into what is already a challenging environment for deal-making.

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 19), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

National Academies Holds Workshop on ACS Respondent Burden

In March, the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a “Workshop on Respondent Burden in the American Community Survey,” which brought together experts from the Census Bureau and the broader statistical community to discuss how to make the American Community Survey (ACS) a more pleasant, less intrusive experience for respondents. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 19), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

COSSA Submits FY 2017 CJS Testimony

COSSA has submitted its annual Outside Witness Testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). COSSA’s testimony for fiscal year (FY) 2017 addresses the need for strong funding of the National Science Foundation, Census Bureau, National Institute of Justice, and Bureau of Justice Statistics. Click here to read testimony submitted to the House, and here for the Senate.

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 5), 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)

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