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House Appropriations Leadership Finalized

The House Appropriations Committee recently announced its membership for the 117th Congress, including the naming of Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) as full committee chair and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) as chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee (see below for details). Congressional committees in the House and Senate have been slowly taking shape in recent weeks; however, many committee rosters have yet to be finalized, especially in the Senate where the majority has recently shifted from Republicans to Democrats. We will continue to report on notable new assignments as they are announced.

House Appropriations Committee (see majority press release and minority press release)

  • Full Appropriations Committee
    • Chair: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) *NEW*
    • Ranking Member: Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX)
  • Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee (with funding jurisdiction over the National Science Foundation, Census Bureau, National Institute of Justice and other agencies)
    • Chair: Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) *NEW*
    • Ranking Member: Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
  • Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Subcommittee (with funding jurisdiction over the National Institutes of Health, Department of Education and other agencies)
    • Chair: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
    • Ranking Member: Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)
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Posted in Issue 3 (February 2), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

Congress Works to Close Out Term as Leaders Named for 117th Congress

With time running out before the current continuing resolution (CR) funding the government expires on December 11, Congressional leaders are still working to negotiate a final deal for an omnibus spending package to fully fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2021. Reportedly, appropriators have reached an agreement on the top-line funding levels for the various appropriations bills (see COSSA’s analyses of the House and Senate proposals). The main obstacle appears to disagreement be on the size and composition of an additional COVID-19 relief funding package, which would be attached to one of the appropriations bills to ensure passage. Although appropriators have reaffirmed their commitments to the December 11 deadline, they may pass an additional CR to give themselves additional time to wrap up spending. However, time before the end of the session is running out, particularly if Members hope to set aside time to quarantine ahead of returning home to their families for the Christmas holiday.

In the meantime, House Democrats have named leaders of several key committees important to the social sciences. The House majority selected Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) to take the helm of the House Appropriations Committee, replacing Nita Lowey (D-NY), who is retiring at the end of this year. Rep. DeLauro is a senior appropriator and current chair of Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS). During her tenure on the Labor-HHS subcommittee, DeLauro has been a big supporter of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and health research. In addition, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), a longtime champion of the social sciences, was unanimously re-elected to serve as Chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee, which oversees the National Science Foundation. Control of the Senate still depends on the results of the upcoming Georgia runoff elections. COSSA will continue to report on additional Committee appointments important to the social sciences as they are announced.

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Posted in Issue 24 (December 8), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Nita Lowey, House Appropriations Chair, Announces Retirement

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) announced on October 10 that she will not seek reelection next year after 31 years in Congress. Rep. Lowey became the first woman to Chair the House Appropriations Committee when the Democrats took control of the House in 2019.

Her retirement will lead to a reshuffling among senior Democratic appropriators. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), who currently chairs the Energy and Water Subcommittee, is the most senior Democrat on the committee after Lowey, has said that she would be interested in chairing the Committee, but Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), current chair of the powerful Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Subcommittee, also indicated her intention to run for the role. In addition, there will be a key vacancy on the Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee (which funds the National Science Foundation and the Census Bureau) as longtime senior Democrat Rep. Jose Serrano has also announced his upcoming retirement.

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Posted in Issue 20 (October 15), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

House Nearly Finalizes Appropriations; Senate Movement Uncertain

Before Congress left for its annual Independence Day recess, the House of Representatives got a few steps closer to completing its work on fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations. At the time of this writing, the House has passed ten of its twelve appropriations bills, with only the Homeland Security and Legislative Branch funding bills remaining. The House has passed funding for agencies important for social science including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Department of Agriculture. Details about the proposed funding for those agencies can be found in COSSA’s full analyses of the Commerce, Justice, Science; Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education; and Agriculture appropriations bills on COSSA’s website.

While the House has finalized nearly all of its appropriations bills, the Senate has signaled that they expect a deal on top-line funding levels or “caps” before beginning work on individual appropriations bills. Congress and the White House have not agreed on final discretionary spending levels for FY 2020, so it is unclear when the Senate Appropriations Committee will start the process of considering FY 2020 bills. As COSSA has reported, discretionary budget caps must be raised if federal agencies and programs are to receive any funding increases in FY 2020. Read COSSA’s full analysis of FY 2020 spending on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 9), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

House Releases Draft Ag, CJS Appropriations Bills; Some Details Still Unclear

In the weeks leading up to the Independence Day recess, several House Subcommittees began their work for fiscal year (FY) 2018 in earnest by marking up draft appropriation bills, including the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (June 28) and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) (June 29).  While the text of the draft bills has been released, it is unlikely that their accompanying committee reports, which include more detailed information on funding and policy riders, will be made available until just before the bills are marked up by the full Appropriations Committee. Once that information is released, COSSA will produce a full analysis of both bills. Preliminary details on the House FY 2018 CJS and Agriculture bills follow.

The draft FY 2018 CJS appropriations bill, which the subcommittee marked up on June 29, includes $7.3 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF), a $133 million cut compared to FY 2017 but 10.3 percent more than the amount requested by the Trump Administration. Most of the subaccounts within the NSF budget, including the Research and Related Activities account, would be flat compared to FY 2017. The exception is NSF’s Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction account, which would be cut by 62.8 percent compared to FY 2017. The bill’s proposal for the Census Bureau would provide it with $1.507 billion in FY 2018, an increase of $37 million more than the amount enacted in FY 2017 and $12.6 million above the Administration’s requested amount. Within that amount, $1.251 billion is provided for Periodic Censuses and Programs, which includes the 2020 Census, an increase of $51 million compared to FY 2017. The bill would also provide the Bureau’s Periodic Surveys and Programs with $256 million, a $14 million cut compared to the FY 2017 enacted level.

The House’s FY 2018 appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which was approved by the subcommittee on June 28, largely accepts the Administration’s proposed cuts to USDA statistical agencies (see COSSA’s full analysis of the President’s budget request). The bill would provide $76.8 million to the Economic Research Service (ERS), a roughly $10 million or 11.5 percent cut compared to FY 2017. This amount is 0.1 percent more than the amount requested by the President. The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) would receive a total of $183.8 million, 1.2 percent less than the amount request by the Administration and an increase of 7.3 percent from FY 2017. NASS will conduct its Census of Agriculture in 2018 and the increase is part of a scheduled ramp-up. While the House bill would provide NASS overall with less than the amount requested by the Administration, it would allocate more of that money to Census of Agriculture activities, leaving even less funding available for NASS’ other Agricultural Estimates programs. While the total discretionary funding level proposed for the National Institute of Agriculture (NIFA) is not detailed in the draft legislation, the bill does specify a total of $830.4 million for NIFA’s Research and Education Programs, which include the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). This amount is a 2.3 percent cut from FY 2107, but 7.9 percent more than the President’s request.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 11), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Congress Passes Stopgap Funding Bill, Returns to Campaign Trail

Congress successfully passed a stopgap funding bill on September 28 to keep the government operating into fiscal year (FY) 2017, which began October 1. The bill will fund the government until December 9 and includes a number of policy and funding provisions that have been hotly debated in recent months, including funding to combat the Zika virus and the opioid epidemic, as well as aid in response to the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan and flooding in Louisiana. The text of the Continuing Resolution is available here. Congress will reconvene following the elections in November and what happens next remains uncertain. For full details of the fiscal year (FY) 2017 spending debate as it pertains to social science research, check out COSSA’s state of play analysis.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 4), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Lawmakers Poised to Pass Stopgap Funding, Return to Campaign Trail

Members of Congress are hoping to get out of town by the end of the week — a week early — to head back out on the campaign trail. However, at the time of this writing, challenges remain in negotiating a stopgap funding bill to keep the government operating into the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1. Lawmakers had planned to stay in session for the remainder of September, but noted earlier in the month that they were poised to strike a deal on a continuing resolution (CR) by this week, allowing them to head home until after the November elections. Despite the current impasse, it is expected that a CR will be enacted by the end of the month.
While the text of the CR is not yet available, reports indicate it will keep the government funded until December 9. What happens after that remains an open question, dependent entirely on the outcome of the elections and which party controls the Senate (which could flip). For full details of the fiscal year (FY) 2017 spending debate as it pertains to social science research, check out COSSA’s state of play analysis.
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Posted in Issue 18 (September 20), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Sam Farr, Ranking Member on House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Announces Retirement

Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) announced his retirement from Congress at the end of his term after 22 years in the House. Farr is the Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. As Ranking Member, Farr has been a vocal advocate for agricultural science and statistics, memorably speaking out on the House floor against a proposed amendment to cut funding for the Economic Research Service (ERS) in 2014. It remains to be seen who will fill Farr’s spot. Currently, only three other Democrats serve on the Subcommittee.

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

Outcome of Midterm Elections May Not Offer Clarity over FY 2015 Endgame

The remaining weeks of 2014 could see an effort to pass a sweeping omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2015, should the Republicans gain control of the Senate after the midterm Congressional elections tomorrow. Even though the Democrats would still control the Senate until January, Republican leaders have stated that under such a scenario they would work during the lame duck session to pass an omnibus, allowing the 114th Congress to start in January with a clean slate. However, such a feat has proven impossible in recent history. For example, the FY 2014 appropriations process was not completed until January of this year, and the stalemate over the FY 2013 appropriations bills led to the 16-day federal government shutdown; the FY 2013 appropriations process finally concluded six months into the fiscal year.

The federal government in currently operating under a continuing resolution (CR) until December 11 (see the September 22, 2014 COSSA Washington Update). Though the midterm elections will take place tomorrow, given the closeness of a handful of key Senate races that could result in runoffs, it may not be immediately clear which party will control the Senate in 2015. It also leaves the outlook for completion of the FY 2015 appropriations bills unclear.

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Posted in Issue 20 (November 3), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

Funding Bills Punted Until After Midterm Elections

The House and Senate easily passed a continuing resolution (CR), or temporary spending measure, last week to keep the federal government operating through December 11. With fiscal year (FY) 2015 approaching on October 1, Congress was not able to complete its work on the FY 2015 appropriations bills before adjourning again to campaign for November’s midterm elections. The CR (H.J. Res. 124) totals $1.012 trillion and extends current year (FY 2014) funding and policy directives into the first 10 weeks of FY 2015. In addition, the bill includes an across-the-board cut of 0.0554 percent to keep spending within the discretionary budget caps set in late 2013. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 22), Update, Volume 33 (2014)


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