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FY 2018 Funding Bills Off to a Slow Start

The House and Senate are heading down different paths as they attempt to kick-start the fiscal year (FY) 2018 appropriations process before the new fiscal year begins on October 1. As previously reported, the annual appropriations process is significantly delayed this year with the President’s budget request having been transmitted to Congress just last month (it is usually due in early February).

Appropriations subcommittees in both chambers have begun holding their annual hearings to discuss the budget requests for agencies under their purview (see related article on the NIH budget hearing). Some subcommittees have begun writing their appropriations bills, even without knowing what their spending allocation—the topline budget they are allotted for their bill—is for next year. Some have chosen to write their bills using current FY 2017 funding levels, while others are assuming small increases.

Given that there are less than 40 working days left before the next fiscal year begins, House leaders have expressed an interest in foregoing regular order altogether and instead crafting a catch-all omnibus appropriation bill. To accomplish this, however, subcommittees would need to start marking up and passing their bills out of committee over the next several weeks so they can be compiled into a 12-bill package before September 30.

The Senate, on the other hand, is taking a more deliberate approach and would prefer to advance each of the appropriations bills individually through the committee process before September so that they can be in a good negotiating position with the House when it comes time to finish up the bills later this fall.

Either way, we may start to see details of the appropriations bills of interest to the research community emerge following the July 4 recess.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 27), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Senate Subcommittee Discusses FY 2018 NIH Budget, Pledges Support

On June 22, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Appearing before the committee were NIH Director Francis Collins and six institute and center directors, including Douglas Lowy of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Gary Gibbons of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Richard Hodes of the National Institute of Aging (NIA), Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and Joshua Gordon of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

As previously reported, the Trump Administration’s budget request for NIH seeks a cut of $7 billion or about 22 percent from current levels. The proposed reduction came at the same time Congress was putting the finishing touches on its $2 billion increase for the agency in FY 2017. NIH funding has long been one of the rare instances of unified, bipartisan support in Congress. In fact, at the outset of the hearing, LHHS Subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) criticized the President’s request, stating that he “fundamentally disagree[s] with the proposed reduction.” While over the last two years Congress has worked to increase the NIH budget by more than 13 percent, the Administration offers a budget that would result in the loss of 90,000 jobs and $15.3 billion in economic activity, stated the chairman. Subcommittee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) added that the proposed cut would represent the lowest funding level for the agency since 2002. Other Subcommittee members expressed their objection to the request and pledged their support for increased NIH funding again in FY 2018. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 27), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

COSSA Senate Testimony Calls for Funding for NIH, AHRQ, CDC, Education Programs

On June 2, COSSA submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The testimony calls for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Institute for Education Sciences (IES), and International Education and Foreign Language Programs (Title VI and Fulbright-Hays).

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 13), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

House Subcommittee Discusses FY 2018 NSF Budget

On June 7, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) held a hearing on the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request for the National Science Foundation (NSF), featuring NSF Director France Córdova. Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson (R-TX) opened the hearing by recognizing the important role NSF plays as the sole federal funder of basic research across all fields of science. Culberson also added that the subcommittee is going to work in a bi-partisan fashion to ensure that NSF is “appropriately funded” despite the tough budgetary environment and the appropriations process getting off to a slow start. As COSSA previously reported, the President’s budget request includes $6.7 billion for NSF, which would be a $819 million or 11.2 percent cut.

Both Republicans and Democrats on the Subcommittee expressed concerns about the impact the proposed cuts would have on different scientific disciplines and NSF-funded facilities like the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

Ranking Member José Serrano (D-NY) recognized the significance of the proposed cut to the NSF, as it represents the first time a President has proposed decreasing funding for the agency in its 50-year history. Unlike appropriations deliberations in recently years, there was no discussion of funding the NSF directorates at specific levels or targeting individual fields for cuts.

Director Córdova emphasized the importance of the social and behavioral sciences in an exchange with Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA), who inquired about the impact of the requested budget cut on research in cybersecurity. Dr. Córdova explained that the cuts would have an impact on cybersecurity research including the import interdisciplinary work being done between the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate and the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate.

While the Subcommittee members seemed in agreement that they did not want to see cuts to federally-funded basic research, the next steps for the NSF budget are unclear. Chairman Culberson mentioned that the subcommittee has yet to receive its budget allocation, which will delay an already-shortened appropriations timeline for FY 2018.

An archived webcast of the hearing and Dr. Córdova’s written testimony are available here.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 13), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

COSSA Releases Analysis of the Trump Administration’s FY 2018 Budget Request

The Trump Administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request on May 23. The budget seeks dramatic reductions totaling $3.6 trillion across nearly every department of the federal government, including most science and research agencies. COSSA has prepared an in-depth analysis of the FY 2018 budget request, which includes details on the President’s proposals for the dozens of departments, agencies, and programs of interest to social and behavioral science researchers.

The release of the President’s budget request marks the official start of the FY 2018 appropriations process, though some Congressional committees have already begun holding their oversight hearings even without a budget in front of them. It is important to remember that the President’s budget is just one step in the annual appropriations process. Congress still holds the power of the purse. As always, COSSA will report on ongoing developments in the FY 2018 appropriations process in the COSSA Washington Update.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 30), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Letters Urge Congressional Leaders to Support Research Agencies

COSSA joined dozens of scientific societies and research universities on a letter to Congressional leaders, sent on May 24, urging them to reject the Trump Administration’s proposed cuts to science agencies including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, and more.

Similarly, in a Dear Colleague letter sent to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee responsible for the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, 29 Senators expressed their support for the National Science Foundation. The letter calls for the National Science Foundation to receive at least $8 billion in fiscal year 2018 to help ensure the U.S. will remain a world economic leader.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 30), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

COSSA Joins Community in Urging Increased Allocation for Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill

COSSA joined nearly 800 organizational stakeholders of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) appropriations bill in a letter to the Appropriations leadership urging it to increase the fiscal year (FY) 2018 302(b) allocation, which is the committee’s funding cap on spending for each of the appropriation bills. While the letter acknowledges the Subcommittee’s “broad range of constituencies and needs,” it also recognizes that the programs funded under the Labor-HHS bill “are continually short-changed in the annual appropriations process.” Accordingly, the scientific community emphasizes that “without an increase in the Labor-HHS 302(b) allocation, it will be impossible to meaningfully increase investments in important initiatives.”

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 16), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

President’s Complete Budget Request Expected May 23

Last week, the Trump Administration notified Congress that it will transmit its complete Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget request on May 23. Federal agencies have started to schedule events to review their FY 2018 budget requests but details remain unclear as to the fate of agencies that support the social and behavioral sciences. The Trump Administration released preliminary details of the FY 2018 request on March 16, which included proposals for Cabinet-level departments and some other large agencies. Following the release of the complete budget request, COSSA will prepare an in-depth analysis of the budget as it impacts the social and behavioral sciences.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 16), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

COSSA Testimony Calls for Increased Funding for NSF, NIJ, Census, and Other Agencies

On April 21, COSSA submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The testimony calls for increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Census Bureau. You can read this and other statements on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 9 (May 2), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

HHS Secretary Appears Before House Appropriations Subcommittee, Suggests NIH Budget Cuts to Come From “Efficiencies” in Indirect Costs

On March 29, newly appointed Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) former Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) made his first appearance before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. Welcoming the Secretary, Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) began the hearing by pointing out that the proposed cuts in the Budget Blueprint (aka “skinny budget”) released by the Administration on March 16 “are extensive and span the reach of [the] agency.” Cole asked Price how the Department intends to solve “some of the challenges” the budget poses to HHS, including those related to the Indian Health Services. He emphasized the subcommittee’s need to understand the detail of the cuts proposed, as well as any proposed downgrading or elimination of agency missions. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 4), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

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