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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)

Preliminary Agenda Released for COSSA Annual Meeting; Rates Increase February 15!

Registration rates for the 2016 COSSA Annual Meeting and 2nd Annual Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day on March 15-16 will increase on February 15.  In addition, the hotel block for out-of-town attendees closes on February 15. Register and make your reservation today! Note: Individuals who work for COSSA member organizations are eligible for a members-only registration rate. Email jmilton@cossa.org for details on how to get your member discount.

A preliminary agenda for the meeting is now available. Several sessions are still under development—check back soon for a complete listing of speakers and topics.

ABOUT THE COSSA MEETING – The COSSA Annual Meeting brings together representatives from throughout the social and behavioral science community for a day of discussion on federal issues impacting social and behavioral science research. It provides an opportunity for COSSA members to engage directly with leaders of federal science agencies, Congressional staff, and colleagues from other associations and institutions. This year, discussions will highlight the many ways social and behavioral science research serves the national interest. Come be part of the conversation.

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

NEW! University Rankings for Social Science Funding

COSSA has produced a new resource that shows how U.S. colleges and universities rank in total social and behavioral science research funding awarded each year by the federal government. We use federally collected R&D data for social science-related funding categories to present an accurate listing of the state of social science research funding. Check out how your university stacks up.

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

Legislative Action Freezes to a Halt

The Washington, DC region is still digging out from the historic snowfall it witnessed over the weekend. In the interest of safety, the federal government has been closed since noon last Friday. Countless hearings and events have been postponed, further contracting what is already expected to be a tight couple of months for policy making before Members of Congress head home to the campaign trails later this year. The challenging 2016 calendar coupled with new reports on the state of the federal deficit promise to further complicate the already complicated and contentious annual appropriations process. If history is any indication, especially in an election year, we recommend that you sit tight and prepare yourself for what is likely to be long road to final FY 2017 appropriations, perhaps not culminating until after the November elections.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 26), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Second Session of 114th Congress Gavels In, Funding Debates Quick out the Gate

The House and Senate have returned to Washington for the start of the second session of the 114th Congress. As previously reported, Congress was able to come up with a final agreement on fiscal year (FY) 2016 spending before leaving for the holiday break in December. Funding for agencies and programs important to the social and behavioral science research community was largely protected in the final bill, a positive outcome given the proposals that were floated earlier in the year.

Now attention turns to FY 2017. The President will unveil his final budget request on February 9, which will officially kick off the FY 2017 appropriations season. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) indicated in recent weeks that he would like to see the individual spending bills reach the House floor by as early as March, much earlier in the year than has been common practice. With the 2016 elections now less than 10 months away, it is hard to see Congress finding the political will to pass all 12 of the appropriations bills before Members leave Washington to hit the campaign trails in the summer and fall, especially considering that the House has scheduled only 110 working days in 2016; the Senate has 149 working days. Regardless, the next few months will be busy for advocates in Washington as Congress hurries to get as much work done as it can before the process shuts down to make way for the party conventions in July.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 12), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Registration now OPEN for 2016 COSSA Annual Meeting & Advocacy Day

Registration is now open for the 2016 COSSA Annual Meeting and 2nd Annual Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day scheduled for March 15-16, 2016. Click here to register today! Registration fees will increase in February. Individuals who work for COSSA member organizations may be eligible for a members-only registration rate. Email jmilton@cossa.org for details.

Visit the COSSA Annual Meeting page for full details, including discounted hotel rates for those traveling to the meeting (reservations must be made by February 15!).

ABOUT THE COSSA MEETING
The COSSA Annual Meeting brings together representatives from throughout the social and behavioral science community for a day of discussion on federal issues impacting social and behavioral science research. It provides an opportunity for COSSA members to engage directly with leaders of federal science agencies, Congressional staff, and colleagues from other associations and institutions. This year, discussions will highlight the many ways social and behavioral science research serves the national interest. Come be part of the conversation.
CONFIRMED SPEAKERS: So far, we have confirmed speakers from the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, and the National Academy of Sciences, with much more in the works.

ABOUT ADVOCACY DAY
COSSA’s 2nd Annual Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day will take place on Wednesday, March 16. This event provides COSSA members with an opportunity to meet with their Congressional delegations to discuss the value and importance of social and behavioral science research. Representatives from all COSSA member organizations are encouraged to participate. Training and all materials will be provided to members.

SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
8:00 am – 5:30 pm
2016 COSSA Annual Meeting

6:00 – 8:00 pm
Celebration of Social and Behavioral Science
(Capitol Hill Reception and Award Ceremony)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 12), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Analysis of the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill and Implications for Social and Behavioral Science Research

On December 15, House and Senate negotiators unveiled their final fiscal year (FY) 2016 omnibus appropriations bill, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (H.R. 2029), which includes all 12 of the individual appropriations bills and totals $1.15 trillion.

Congress passed another short term continuing resolution (CR) on Wednesday to allow enough time for the House and Senate to pass the massive spending bill and for the President to sign it, which he has indicated he would. Policymakers now have until December 22 to achieve final passage. Assuming the House can pass the bill on Friday-which will require the support of several Democrats since many conservative Republicans oppose the final agreement-the FY 2016 process could wrap up by the end of the week, at which time Members of Congress and staff will head home for the holidays, drawing to a close the first session of the 114th Congress. However, at the time of this writing, passage is not assured.

Should the bill pass, the final result for social and behavioral science funding in FY 2016 is positive. Compared to where we were just a few months ago-with major cuts proposed for social science accounts at several agencies-we are closing out the year in a better situation than many anticipated. This outcome can be largely attributed to the bipartisan budget deal that was brokered earlier in the fall, which provided much needed relief from sequestration and the tight discretionary spending caps. In addition, our champions on the Hill worked tirelessly on our behalf during these final negotiations to stave off devastating cuts to many of our programs.

The text of the bill and explanatory statement can be viewed on the House Rules Committee website.

Read on for COSSA’s agency-by-agency analysis of the FY 2016 omnibus.

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Posted in Update, Volume 34 (2015)

FY 2016 Funding Debate Labors On

Congress was forced to pass another funding extension last week in order to avoid a government shutdown on December 11. Policy makers have given themselves until December 16 at midnight to complete work on the fiscal year (FY) 2016 appropriations bills, allowing for a few more days to work through the many policy riders (dealing with Syrian refugees, Planned Parenthood, and about 40 others) that have slowed progress on the $1.1 trillion package over the last several weeks. As of the time of this writing, text of a final FY 2016 spending package (also known as an omnibus) has not been released. It has become common practice in recent years to hold off on releasing the text of large bills until the very last minute—usually a couple of days before it receives a final vote—in order to minimize any additional roadblocks to final passage. This coupled with the secretive nature of the ongoing negotiations sets up a certain last minute scramble for advocates to digest the bill, develop and position, and activate their stakeholders once it is released. COSSA may release a special issue of Update outlining the details of the FY 2016 spending package if the bill text is released before the end of the year.

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Posted in Issue 23 (December 15), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

Deadline for Comments on Common Rule NPRM Extended

The Department of Health and Human Services has announced that it will extend the period for public comment on the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (otherwise known as the Common Rule) by 30 days. The new deadline is January 6, 2016. A summary of the major changes to the regulations proposed in the NPRM is available here.

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Posted in Issue 22 (December 1), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

Save the Date: COSSA Annual Meeting & Advocacy Day, March 15-16

COSSA will hold its 2016 Annual Meeting and Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day on March 15 and 16 in Washington, DC. The meeting brings together more than 100 members of the social and behavioral science community and provides a platform for COSSA members to engage with leaders of federal agencies, Congressional staff, and colleagues from across the science and higher education communities.

The meeting on March 15 will take place at the George Washington University Marvin Center and will feature updates from leaders at federal science agencies and panels highlighting issues impacting the social and behavioral science community. On March 16, COSSA members will take to Capitol Hill for Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day. They will have the opportunity to meet with their congressional delegations in the House and Senate and educate staff about the importance of federally funded social and behavioral science research.

Keep an eye on COSSA’s annual meeting page for more details as they become available. Early bird registration will open in December.

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Posted in Issue 21 (November 17), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

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