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Senate CJS Bill Approved by Committee; Congress Leaves for Recess

On July 27, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill; the bill was marked up in subcommittee on July 25. In addition, the House Appropriations Committee advanced its version of the CJS bill on July 13 (check out COSSA’s coverage of this and other FY 2018 appropriations bills). The CJS bill serves as the vehicle for annual appropriations for the National Science Foundation (NSF), Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and many other federal departments and agencies. The next step for the bill is consideration by the full Senate. However, now that Congress has left town for the August recess, we will not see floor action until after Labor Day at the earliest.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s proposals for the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Census Bureau, and Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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Posted in Issue 16 (August 8), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Congress Moves FY 2018 Spending Bills Ahead of August Recess

The House and Senate have worked in recent weeks to advance as many of the fiscal year (FY) 2018 annual appropriations bills as possible before heading out of town for the typical month-long August recess. Details have been emerging on lawmakers’ funding plans for agencies and programs important to the COSSA community.

The House Appropriations Committee approved two bills this month that provide the bulk of funding support for the social sciences. The Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill, which funds the National Science Foundation, Department of Justice, and Census Bureau, was approved on July 13. The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which funds the National Institutes of Health and other HHS agencies, Department of Education, and Bureau of Labor Statistics, was approved on July 19. The next step for both bills is consideration by the full House; however, that is not likely to happen until after the August recess when Congress returns following Labor Day. Instead, the House will work this week toward passing a so-called “security mini-bus” that will include the Defense, Energy-Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction-VA appropriations bills; the package is likely to also contain $1.6 billion for the construction of President Trump’s southern border wall, which as one could expect leaves the fate of the FY 2018 appropriations process on touchy ground.

Over on the Senate side, the Appropriations Subcommittees are just starting their work on their versions of the FY 2018 spending bills. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies appropriations bill on July 20; the House Appropriations Committee advanced its bill on July 12. In addition, the Senate CJS bill will be marked up in subcommittee on July 25 and by the full Appropriations Committee on July 27. But even if the Senate were able to complete work on the CJS bill before leaving for recess (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised to delay the Senate’s recess until mid-August to allow time to finish work on the Obamacare repeal), the differences in top-line funding between the House and Senate leave final negotiations on all of the appropriations bills still a tall order.

Adding in plans by House and Senate leaders to strike a larger budget deal to lift the annual spending caps (which would require the appropriations bills to be rewritten, including those already approved by committee) and the need to raise the federal debt ceiling by early October, policy makers will return to Washington this fall with a lot on their plate before the current fiscal year expires on September 30.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 25), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

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)

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)

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