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Trump Administration to Release FY 2020 Budget Request Next Week

The Trump Administration is planning to release its fiscal year (FY) 2020 Budget Request in batches over the next couple of weeks. Due to the 35-day partial government shutdown and delayed ending to the FY 2019 appropriations process (see previous coverage), the President’s budget, which is supposed to be delivered to Congress in early February, is not expected until mid-March. Reports indicate that preliminary details will be released the week of March 11 with full details available the week of March 18.

The research community is expecting another tough year for federal science agencies and programs, especially as the President has hinted at his plans to increase defense spending at the expense of non-defense discretionary spending, which includes federal research funding. As always, COSSA will prepare an in-depth analysis of the proposals for agencies and programs important to our community.

It is important to note that the President’s budget is just that – a budget. Congress is not waiting for the President’s request to be delivered to begin their work on the annual appropriations bills. Oversight hearings are already beginning, and generally, the President’s request is expected to have little bearing on Congress’s funding deliberations.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 5), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Compromise on FY 2019 Funding Reached, Averting Second Shutdown; Read COSSA’s Analysis of the Omnibus

After the longest partial-government shutdown in U.S. history, Congress came to a compromise on February 14 on funding the entire federal government for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2019, which began on October 1, 2018. The omnibus spending package contains 7 individual appropriations bills, including the Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, Science; Interior and Environment; Homeland Security; Financial Services and General Government; State and Foreign Operations; and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bills. On February 15, President Trump signed the bill into law, closing a painful chapter and officially kicking off work on FY 2020 funding.

The final package includes necessary increases for many programs important to the social and behavioral sciences including the National Science Foundation and the Census Bureau.

The Trump Administration will soon release its budget request for FY 2020. While the budget will have very little bearing on the funding debates in Congress, it will provide valuable insight into the science policy and funding priorities of the Administration. At the end of the day, the Congress holds the power of the purse and decides the level of taxpayer support for research.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of final FY 2019 funding for the National Science Foundation, Census Bureau, Economic Research Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and National Institute of Justice.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 19), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

COSSA Endorses Census Idea Act

On February 8, COSSA endorsed the Census Improving Data and Enhanced Accuracy (IDEA) Act (S. 358) as introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI). The bill would prohibit the Department of Commerce from making any major change to the operational design of the decennial census that has not been “researched, studied, and tested” for at least three years. The Census Bureau routinely spends the years leading up to a decennial census carefully researching all proposed changes to its design and wording to ensure that they do not affect the quality of the responses received. This bill would formalize that longstanding practice and ensure that Census Bureau experts have the opportunity to fully evaluate the potential impacts of any major changes. The bill was crafted in response to the Trump Administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. COSSA released a statement in 2018 criticizing the inclusion of an untested citizenship question on the 2020 Census, outlining the potential impacts on the quality of Census data.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 19), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Pingree Reintroduces Bill to Block USDA Research Moves

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) has reintroduced a bill from the last Congress that would prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from moving the authority of any of the agencies within the USDA mission area of Research, Education, and Economics (REE) to elsewhere within the Department of Agriculture and from moving the headquarters of agencies within the REE mission area from outside of  the National Capitol Region. The bill, the Agriculture Research Integrity Act (ARIA) (H.R. 1221) would prevent the Administration’s controversial plans to move the Economic Research Service (ERS) to the Office of the Chief Economist and to physically move both ERS and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) outside of the Washington, DC region (see COSSA’s coverage). The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Annie Kuster (D-NH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), and Mark Pocan (D-WI).

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 19), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Government Reopens; Final Funding for FY 2019 Still Unclear

Following the longest partial-government shutdown in U.S. history and the passage of a short-term stopgap measure to reopen the government, the fate of fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations is still unclear. On January 25, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) to reopen all federal agencies until February 15, allowing more time to negotiate a compromise on border security—the policy issue at the center of the government funding debate. While the timing for finalizing FY 2019 spending remains uncertain, negotiations on all spending levels (except for Homeland Security) have been finalized. The end product for agencies awaiting their final appropriation is not likely to diverge much, if at all, from the levels that have already been reported. COSSA will release a full analysis reviewing the FY 2019 outcomes for programs and agencies important to the social and behavioral sciences once Congress and the White House come to a final agreement.

Prior to the reopening of the government, COSSA signed on to a letter to President Trump and Congressional leaders as a part of the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) expressing concern about the impact of government shutdowns on America’s research enterprise. The scientific community is bracing for another potential shutdown should agreement not be reached before the next deadline on February 15.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 5), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act Becomes Law

On January 14, President Trump signed the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 into law. Championed by former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the legislation represents a bipartisan recognition of the importance of science and data in helping to design and improve policies (see COSSA’s previous coverage for more details on the legislation). After the bill was signed, COSSA released a statement applauding the legislation. We will continue to report on details of the bill’s implementation as they become available.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 22), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Committees Begin to Announce Leadership, Membership as FY 2019 Funding Remains Uncertain

While some parts of the federal government, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of the Interior, and the Census Bureau, remain closed as part of the partial government shutdown, Congress is at work organizing committees, selecting leaders, and preparing for the work of the 116th Congress. Many Congressional leadership positions important to the social and behavioral sciences have been announced over the past few weeks.

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have both announced their subcommittee leadership, and while leadership on Senate subcommittees important to the social and behavioral sciences will remain unchanged from the last Congress, new House leadership has come along with the new House majority. Representative José Serrano (D-NY) will chair the subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) will lead the subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. Their Republican counterparts will be Representatives Robert Aderholt (R-AL) and Tom Cole (R-OK), respectively.

Many changes have come to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which is responsible for policy related to the National Science Foundation (NSF), among numerous other programs. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) will serve as the new Chair of the Committee for the 116th Congress and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will serve as the Ranking Member. The Senate Commerce Committee also announced a new subcommittee structure, with science policy now paired with fisheries, weather, and oceans; the newly-structured subcommittee will be chaired by Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO). Senator Gardner was one of the recipients of the 2017 COSSA Distinguished Service Award. As previously reported, the House Science Committee has also announced full committee leadership. Stay tuned to the COSSA Washington Update for more committee and leadership announcements in the coming weeks.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 22), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Chairwoman Johnson Introduces Gun Violence Research Act

On January 11, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, introduced the National Gun Violence Research Act. If enacted, the law would create a national gun violence research program overseen by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and carried out by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Justice. In a statement released after the bill was introduced, Rep. Johnson said that more research is needed on the impact of policies on gun violence and that investment in gun violence is needed to curb gun violence. More information can be found on the Science Committee website.

The National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research, a private research effort, recently announced a request for proposals on the causes and consequences of gun violence. More information can be found in COSSA’s previous coverage.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 22), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Government Shutdown Continues into Third Week, Leaving Uncertainty for FY 2019

The partial government shutdown has stretched into its third week, leaving many government agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of the Interior, and the Census Bureau, shuttered. Unlike government shutdowns of the recent past, this shutdown is not related to disputed funding levels, but rather policy disagreements and political maneuvering. This means that we already have an idea of what the final funding numbers will be once the policy impasse has cleared, as Congress has already negotiated most of its appropriations bills. Once funding is finalized, COSSA will release an analysis reviewing the fiscal year (FY) 2019 outcomes for programs and agencies important to the social and behavioral sciences.

On January 3, the new Democratic leadership in the House proposed, and easily passed, an omnibus spending bill for the unfunded agencies that also allowed another month of debate on border security funding. It seems unlikely that the Senate will vote on the proposal and even more unlikely to receive a signature from the President. Read more about the appropriations bills important to social and behavioral science and the already finalized FY 2019 appropriations on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 8), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Evidence-Based Policymaking Bill Awaiting President’s Signature

After languishing in the Senate for over a year, the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (H.R. 4174) was passed by both chambers in the last days of 2018 and is currently awaiting the President’s signature. The President has until January 14 to sign the bill into law. The legislation, which is intended to be a “down-payment” enacting some of the less complicated (and less controversial) recommendations of the report from the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking (see COSSA’s coverage and statement), contains some minor changes from the version passed by the House in November 2017 but generally conforms to the recommendations of the Commission. It contains four titles: (I) enhancing federal evidence-building activities; (II) enacting the OPEN Government Data Act introduced by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI); (III) reauthorizing and enhancing the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA); and (IV) general provisions to ensure that the directions in the bill comport with existing laws and requirements. The Bipartisan Policy Center has published a summary of the Act and a crosswalk between its provisions and the recommendations of the Commission.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 8), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

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