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COSSA Calls for Congress to Complete FY 2017 Appropriations Process

In a letter to House and Senate appropriators on the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Subcommittees, COSSA called for speedy completion of the FY 2017 appropriations process. The letter also urges strong appropriations for the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and Census Bureau. The letter is available on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 7), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

COSSA Letter to Conferees Advocates Funding for NSF, NIJ, BJS, and Census

As Congress returns to complete the business of funding the government for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2017, COSSA is advocating for strong funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and Census Bureau. In a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS), COSSA highlights the important work of these agencies and asks that conferees support the “highest possible funding levels.” The full letter is available on the COSSA website. COSSA has weighed-in in support of other federal agency budgets through our many coalition efforts.

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Posted in Issue 22 (November 15), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

State of Play: FY 2017 Funding for Social Science Research

Congress has adjourned for a seven-week recess and will not be returning to work until after Labor Day. Despite promises for a return to “regular order” in the annual appropriations process, we find ourselves in familiar territory with none of the 12 annual spending bills expected to be enacted into law before the new fiscal year begins October 1. In fact, none of the bills that fund research agencies and programs (the Commerce, Justice Science bill and the Labor, HHS, Education bill) have yet to make it to the House or Senate floors for debate.

Upon returning to work in September, Congress will be faced with a full plate of must-pass legislation and a limited number of days before breaking again for the fall elections. Among the countless unknowns surrounding a possible endgame strategy for appropriations is one certainty – the need to pass a stopgap funding measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to avoid a government shutdown come October 1. The length of the impending CR, though, is still up for debate. Scenarios range from a CR of a couple of months with final action completed in the December timeframe (forcing a lame duck session of Congress after the November elections), to a six-month-long CR that would delay action until after the new Administration and Congress are sworn in, to possibly a year-long continuing resolution that would fund agencies at the FY 2016 level through the end of next fiscal year. These details will need to be sorted out over the next several weeks, and consensus remains far-off. However, all parties appear equally committed to avoiding a government shutdown.

COSSA has been reporting on the status of the FY 2017 appropriations bills over the last several months. Read on for a recap of progress made to date as it relates to social and behavioral science research. Congress will pick up where it left off when Members return to work in September. Full details on the various bills considered so far can be viewed on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 26), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

House Bill Includes Flat Funding for NSF, Boosts for NIJ, BJS, and Census

On May 24, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill. This 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 countless other federal departments and agencies. The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced its version of the CJS bill on April 21.

The House bill would provide NSF with a total budget of $7.4 billion in FY 2017, slightly below the FY 2016 level of $7.46 billion. Most notably, the bill does not include language targeting social science accounts for cuts, as we saw last year. In addition, the House bill would provide NIJ and BJS with $40 million (+11%) and $48 billion (+17%), respectively, and $1.47 billion for the Census Bureau, an increase of 7.3 percent over the FY 2016 level, but 10 percent below the amount requested by the President.

Read on for COSSA’s full analysis.

You can keep up-to-date on the status of FY 2017 funding for social science research agencies on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 31), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

COSSA Submits FY 2017 CJS Testimony

COSSA has submitted its annual Outside Witness Testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). COSSA’s testimony for fiscal year (FY) 2017 addresses the need for strong funding of the National Science Foundation, Census Bureau, National Institute of Justice, and Bureau of Justice Statistics. Click here to read testimony submitted to the House, and here for the Senate.

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 5), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

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)

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)

Senate Committee Advances NSF, Census, Justice Spending Bill

On June 10, the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee marked up its version of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 CJS bill. The full Senate Appropriations Committee followed suit on June 11, advancing the bill to the Senate floor. The CJS bill provides annual funding to the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and the Census Bureau and other federal statistical agencies. Like the House bill passed on June 4, the Senate CJS bill keeps within discretionary spending caps, translating to very small (if any) increases for agencies and programs of interest to the COSSA community. In fact, under the Senate proposal, NSF would see a fractional reduction below FY 2015; NIJ and the Bureau of Justice Statistics would be flat-funded; and the Census Bureau would be funded at levels much lower than the amounts requested for FY 2016.

Read COSSA’s full analysis of the Senate CJS bill here.

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Posted in Issue 11 (June 16), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

House FY 2016 CJS Bill Advances to the Floor

On May 20, the House Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations bill by voice vote.  Amendments to increase funding for the National Science Foundation and make other improvements to the bill were either defeated or withdrawn.  The bill now heads to the House floor.

The CJS bill totals $51.4 billion, which is a 2.5 percent increase over the FY 2015 CJS bill. CJS Subcommittee chairman John Culberson (R-TX) noted during the May 14 Subcommittee markup that this amount “is sufficient to fund essential programs.” The bill keeps within the spending caps currently tamping down discretionary spending, making the FY 2016 appropriations bills even more challenging than usual. President Obama has threatened to veto any appropriations bill that adheres to these caps, making the House CJS bill a non-starter with the White House.

While the National Science Foundation would see a small increase in the House proposal, the real winner in the bill is NASA, which happens to be a favorite of the chairman. The heavy focus and emphasis on NASA is one of the visible changes we are seeing with the new chairman, who replaced Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), a long-time, staunch supporter of NSF, this year. NSF is largely downplayed in the House CJS bill when compared to recent years. As you will read in our analysis, the FY 2016 CJS bill differs from previous bills in several other ways as well.

In general, agencies and programs that support social and behavioral science research would fare quite poorly in the bill. Among the many challenging provisions, the bill seeks to limit support for social science research funding at NSF, would enable potentially deep cuts to the National Institute of Justice and Bureau of Justice Statistics, and would degrade the American Community Survey within the Census Bureau.

Read on for COSSA’s full analysis of the bill.

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Posted in Issue 10 (June 2), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

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