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Senate Appropriations Committee Passes FY 2019 Labor, Health Human Services, Education Bill

On June 28, the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Bill; the Labor-HHS Subcommittee advanced the bill on June 26. This bill contains annual funding proposals 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 Labor-HHS Subcommittee marked up its version of the bill on June 15 and released the bill text and accompanying report soon after; however, the full House Appropriations Committee has postponed its markup of the bill indefinitely due to reported disagreements on a number of policy issues in the bill. Therefore, this report simply summarizes the Senate’s Labor-HHS proposals and does not make comparisons to the House levels.

At a Glance…

  • The Senate bill includes a total of $39.084 billion for NIH in FY 2019, a $2 billion increase over the FY 2018 level. If enacted, NIH will have received a total of $9 billion in increases over the last four years, a 30 percent increase over that period.
  • The bill would allocate $7.8 billion to the CDC, a cut of about $193 million compared to FY 2018, but more than $2 billion above the amount proposed by the Administration.
  • The Senate bill includes $334 million for AHRQ, flat with the FY 2018 enacted level. The bill “does not support” the Administration’s proposed consolidation of AHRQ as a new institute within the NIH.
  • Within the Department of Education, the Senate bill would provide $615.5 million to IES, which would be a 0.3 percent increase in funding compared to its FY 2018 appropriation and 18 percent above the FY 2019 funding request from the Administration.

The next step for the bill is consideration by the full Senate. It remains to be seen whether or how Senate leadership will proceed with the individual appropriations bills this year. Given the fast-approaching November midterm elections and other legislative priorities, not to mention the need to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice, it is increasingly likely that FY 2019 will begin under a continuing resolution (CR) on October 1, 2018.

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

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 10), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science Bill

On June 14, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill; the bill was marked up in subcommittee on June 12. The CJS 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 many other federal departments and agencies. The House Appropriations Committee passed its bill on May 17. Read COSSA’s full analysis of the House bill here.

At a Glance…

  • The Senate CJS bill includes $8.1 billion for NSF in FY 2019, which is 3.9 percent above the FY 2018 enacted level and 8 percent above the President’s request, but about 1 percent below the House’s proposal.
  • The Senate bill would provide NIJ with $42 million and BJS with $48 million, flat with the FY 2018 enacted level and 17 percent above the President’s request for both agencies.
  • The Senate bill would provide the Census Bureau with a total of $3.82 billion for FY 2019, which is slightly higher than the Administration’s request (+$21 million) but nearly $1 billion below the House’s proposal.

The next step for the bill is consideration by the full Senate. It remains to be seen whether/how Senate leadership will proceed with the individual appropriations bills this year, but with most of the Senate’s August recess cancelled, more time is available for considering the spending bills. However, the entire House is up for reelection and other priorities remain to be considered, so it is still likely that FY 2019 will begin under a continuing resolution (CR) on October 1, 2018.

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, and the Census Bureau.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 26), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Congress Moves Forward on FY 2019 Spending

With a little less than four months remaining in fiscal year (FY) 2018, Congress is behind schedule but well underway in their work to consider the spending bills for FY 2019. The House Appropriations Committee has approved seven of the twelve annual appropriations bills, including two important to social and behavioral science research. On June 8, the full House of Representatives approved a three-bill package of historically uncontroversial bills, kick-starting what is expected to be a busy summer of votes.

On the other side of the Capitol, Senate appropriators have been slower to consider the FY 2019 appropriations bills, having only passed four bills out of committee. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) has been hesitant to comment on when he expects to see spending bills considered in the full Senate. To provide more time to consider appropriations bills and presidential nominations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has cancelled most of the Senate’s annual August recess, signaling that completing government spending for FY 2019 remains a priority. Read COSSA’s analysis of FY 2019 spending so far and stay tuned for updates on appropriations impacting social and behavioral science research.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 12), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

House Panel Passes FY 2019 Funding for NSF, Census, NIJ

On May 17, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill; the bill was marked up in subcommittee on May 9. The CJS 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 many other federal departments and agencies. The Senate has not yet released the details of its CJS bill.

At a Glance…

  • The House CJS bill includes $8.2 billion for NSF in FY 2019, which is 5.2 percent above the FY 2018 enacted level and 9.4 percent above the President’s request.
  • The House bill would provide NIJ with $44 million and BJS with $50 million, which is 4.8 and 4.2 percent, respectively, above the FY 2018 enacted level and 22 percent above the President’s request.
  • The House bill would provide the Census Bureau with $4.8 billion in discretionary funding for FY 2019. That amount is an increase of $2 billion compared to FY 2018 and $1 billion more than the amount requested by the Administration.
  • The House bill includes $99 million for the Economics and Statistics Administration, which houses BEA, flat with FY 2018 and $2 million below the President’s request.

The next step for the bill is consideration by the full House. However, with the August recess quickly approaching, and this being an election year, floor time is extremely limited. It remains to be seen whether/how House leadership will proceed with the individual appropriations bills this year. It is all but certain that FY 2019 will being on October 1, 2018 under a continuing resolution (CR).

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

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 29), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

House and Senate Committees Approve FY 2019 Agriculture Funding

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved their fiscal year (FY) 2019 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bills. This bill contains funding for the two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistical agencies, the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), as well as the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which funds competitive research projects. The House bill (H.R. 5961) was approved by the subcommittee on May 9 and by the full committee on May 16. The Senate version of the bill, which does not yet have a bill number, was passed by the subcommittee on May 22 and by the full committee on May 24.

At a Glance…

  •  Both the House and Senate bills would maintain flat funding for ERS at $86.8 million, rejecting the nearly 50 percent cut proposed in the President’s request.
  • Both the House and Senate propose decreases for the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) as it ramps down from the 2017 Census of Agriculture; the House proposal of $173.7 million is $1.1 million below the Senate’s proposed $174.8 million. However, both levels are higher than the amount proposed in the President’s request.
  • The House bill would provide $1.45 billion for NIFA, which is 2.8 percent above FY 2018. The Senate bill includes $1.42 billion, an increase of 1.1 percent. Both chambers propose increases for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, with the House proposing a larger increase than the Senate.

The next step for both bills is consideration by their respective chambers. Both the House and Senate leadership have expressed a commitment to trying to pass at least some of the FY 2019 appropriations bills before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1. However, with August recess and the peak of campaign season quickly approaching, it remains to be seen which bills will be passed and when.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees’ proposals for the Economic Research Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, and National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 29), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Senate Subcommittee Holds Hearing on 2019 NIH Budget

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) hosted leadership from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to testify on the agency’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request. NIH Director Francis Collins, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Director Walter Koroshetz, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, National Cancer Institute Director Norman Sharpless, and National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow all testified. Senators from both parties praised NIH for its accomplishments, further solidifying its position as a bipartisan priority. Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt (R-MO), Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and other members of the subcommittee expressed concern with the $2 billion cut recommended in the President’s FY 2019 budget request, especially in contrast to the $3 billion increase NIH received from Congress in the FY 2018 omnibus spending bill. Committee members questioned witnesses on NIH activities related to the opioid epidemic, a universal flu vaccine, immunotherapy, the recent outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and a recent scandal at NIH regarding an alcohol industry-financed study of the health affects of alcohol. Written statements from Blunt and Collins, along with a recording of the hearing can be found on the committee’s website. COSSA’s coverage of FY 2019 funding is available here.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 29), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

House Appropriations Subcommittees Begin Marking Up Spending Legislation

The House Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) and Agriculture and Rural Development (Ag) hosted markups last week on drafts of their fiscal year (FY) 2019 spending bills. The CJS bill, which is responsible for funding the Census, the Department of Justice, and federal science agencies, among other programs, includes $8.2 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF), a $408 million increase above the FY 2018 enacted amount. The Ag bill, which includes funding for the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, does not endorse the large cut to the Economic Research Service (ERS) proposed in the President’s FY 2019 budget request. Full details of the committee’s spending recommendations are not yet public, but COSSA will provide complete analysis of the spending bills as language is made available. Stay tuned to COSSA’s coverage here. Both bills are scheduled to be considered by the full Appropriations Committee later this week.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 15), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Congress Questions Commerce, Census on Citizenship Question

Members of Congress questioned Commerce Department and Census Bureau leadership last week over the decision to include a question on citizenship in the 2020 Census. COSSA objects to this decision and has issued a statement and action alert on this issue.

On May 8, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a progress report hearing on the 2020 Census. Witnesses included Earl Comstock, Director of the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning at the Commerce Department (testimony); Ron Jarmin, Acting Director of the Census Bureau (testimony); David A. Powner and Robert Goldenkoff of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) (testimony); and Justin Levitt, Associate Dean for Research at Loyola Law School, who previously served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Justice Department during the Obama Administration (testimony). Invited but not present at the hearing was the current Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, John Gore, who is reported to have spearheaded the request that the citizenship question be added to the Census. Committee Chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said that he would issue a subpoena to compel Gore to appear before the Committee. A hearing featuring Gore was subsequently scheduled for Friday, May 18, 2018. Democrats on the Committee criticized the decision to add the citizenship question, questioning the necessity of the Justice Department’s request, and Ross’s conclusion that the question is “well-tested” because it has appeared on the American Community Survey. Committee Republicans generally defended the decision and were dismissive of concerns that adding the question without having tested it in a Census environment would add unnecessary risks to the accuracy and integrity of census data.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross made his first appearance before Congress since announcing his decision to add the question to the decennial during a May 10 hearing on the Commerce Department budget in front of the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. Ross defended his decision in the face of sharp questioning from subcommittee Democrats, including Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-VT), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 15), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Senators Join Together in Support of the Institute for Education Sciences

On April 11, 19 Senators submitted a letter to the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations subcommittee, in support of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). IES is the research and development agency of the Department of Education and also houses the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The letter calls for Congress to appropriate $670 million for IES, providing critical support for NCES as well as the National Center for Special Education Research, Regional Education Laboratories, and the National Center for Education Research.

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Posted in Issue 9 (May 2), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Jerry Moran Tapped to Lead Senate CJS Subcommittee

This week, following the retirement of Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Thad Cochran (R-MS), long-time appropriator Richard Shelby (R-AL) was approved by the Senate Republican Caucus to take the helm of the powerful committee. Shelby’s promotion left a vacancy in the chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS), the subcommittee responsible for allocating money to the Department of Commerce, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the Department of Justice, and federal science agencies, including the National Science Foundation. Shelby selected Jerry Moran (R-KS) to lead the subcommittee. Moran, a lawyer and longtime state politician before his election to the Senate 2010, has most recently lead the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) will continue to serve as the Ranking Member of the CJS Subcommittee.

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 17), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

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