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Democrats Take Control of the House in Midterm Elections; Congress Returns for Lame Duck Session

Congress returns to Washington this week for the first time since early October. Lawmakers are returning to what many expected to be the outcome of the midterm elections, with Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives and Republicans maintaining control of the Senate.

The Senate margin currently stands at 51 Republicans and 46 Democrats, with a run-off election scheduled in Mississippi, a recount of votes in Florida, and a race in Arizona still too close to call. The contests in Florida and Arizona are considered toss-ups while the Mississippi race is expected to stay in Republican hands. As many expected, the Democrats will have a strong majority in the House of Representatives come January with a current majority of 227 members to the Republican’s 198, with nearly a dozen races still too close to call. At this time, the House Democrats have gained 32 seats and the House Republicans have lost the same amount. Notable losses include several Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee, including Representative John Culberson (R-TX), Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, and Science; Kevin Yoder (R-KS); David Young (R-IA); and Scott Taylor (R-VA). Several Republican members of the House Science Committee also lost their reelection bids, including Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Steve Knight (R-CA). Taken with the retirement of Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX), this will result in an overhaul of the Republican roster on the Science Committee in the coming Congress. It will be some time before committee assignments for the 116th Congress will be made.

At the top of the agenda for the next few weeks is finalizing the remaining fiscal year (FY) 2019 spending bills. About half of the spending bills have been signed into law, but funding for the National Science Foundation, Census Bureau, Department of Agriculture, and many other agencies is still not complete. The current continuing resolution ends on December 7 with Republicans anxious to complete the spending bills before Democrats take control of the House. Read about the state of play for FY 2019 appropriations here.

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Posted in Issue 22 (November 13), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Trump Signs Labor-HHS Bill/CR, Pushing Remaining FY19 Spending to Dec 7

On September 28, President Trump signed into law a fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding package containing two of twelve appropriations bills, the Defense Appropriations bill and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations bill. The bill had been passed earlier in the week by the House of Representatives. Of particular interest to the social science community, the Labor-HHS bill contains next year’s final appropriation for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Education (ED), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), among other federal departments and agencies. The passage of the Labor-HHS bill marks the first time in more than 20 years that this bill, which tends to be one of the most divisive among Republicans and Democrats, will be signed into law on time.

The package also includes a continuing resolution (CR) that will keep the rest of the government operating until December 7 (the new fiscal year begins next week on October 1). Congress will return after the November midterm elections and attempt to complete its work on next year’s spending bills. Notably, still pending is the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, which is responsible for funding the National Science Foundation and the Census Bureau, among other programs; neither the House or Senate have taken up the bill outside of committee.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the final FY 2019 funding levels for the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Department of Education.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 2), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Congress Makes Progress on Appropriations as Fiscal Year Comes to a Close

Fiscal year (FY) 2019 is coming quickly to an end on September 30, and while Congress has made more progress on appropriations than in recent years, much of the government is likely to be funded under a continuing resolution (CR) after October 1. At the time of this writing, 6 bills have been passed by the full House of Representatives and 9 bills have been passed by the Senate. The 9 Senate-passed bills are now in the process of having differences resolved in conference committees with the House. Notably, neither chamber has passed the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, which is responsible for funding the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Census Bureau, among other programs.

Congress is likely to pass three multi-bill packages in the coming weeks, containing some combination of the 9 bills in conference, but likely not in time for the beginning of fiscal year 2019. One of the bill packages, a combination of the Republican-must-pass Defense spending bill and the Democratic-wish-list Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies spending bill includes a CR for the remaining unfunded portions of the government to fund them past the midterm elections. On September 13, the conference committee approved this package of bills, which included a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over their FY 2018 appropriation. Read complete COSSA coverage of FY 2019 appropriations here.

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Posted in Issue 18 (September 18), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

State of Play: FY 2019 Appropriations for Social Science Research

Both chambers of Congress are back in Washington after the Labor Day holiday and have only a few weeks to make progress on the fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations bills before adjourning again for the November midterm elections. At the time of this writing, 6 bills have been passed by the full House of Representatives and 9 by the Senate. None have been sent to the President for his signature. FY 2019 begins on October 1, 2018.

Upon returning to work in September, Congress faces a full plate of must-pass spending legislation, not to mention a Supreme Court nomination and several federal agency nominations. 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 partial government shutdown come October 1. The length of a likely CR, though, is still up for debate. With the leadership of the House and possibly the Senate up for grabs in the November elections, we could see a CR as short as a few weeks or a few months or stretching into next calendar year in the event either chamber changes partisan control.

COSSA has been reporting on the status of the FY 2019 appropriations bills over the last several months. Read on for a recap of where FY 2019 funding proposals currently stand for federal agencies important to the social science research community.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 4), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

House Committee Approves FY 2019 Labor-HHS-Education Funding

On July 11, the full House Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Bill; the Labor-HHS Subcommittee advanced the bill on June 15. This bill contains annual funding proposals for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Education (ED), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), among other federal departments and agencies.

The Senate Appropriations Committee reported its version of the bill on June 28 (more here).

At a Glance…

  • The House bill includes a total of $38.334 billion for NIH in FY 2019, a $1.25 billion or 3.4 percent increase over the FY 2018 level. This amount is 10.8 percent over the President’s request, but nearly 2 percent below the Senate bill.
  • The bill would allocate $7.58 billion to the CDC, a cut of $422.9 million compared to FY 2018 and about $230 million less than the amount proposed by the Senate bill.
  • The House bill includes $334 million for AHRQ, flat with the FY 2018 enacted level and the same as the amount proposed by the Senate. The bill does not accept the Administration’s proposed consolidation of AHRQ as a new institute within the NIH.
  • The House bill would provide flat funding for BLS at $612 million, $3 million less than the amount proposed by the Senate, but still more than the amount requested by the Administration.
  • Within the Department of Education, the bill would provide $613.5 million to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), which would be flat with its FY 2018 appropriation and 17.6 percent above the FY 2019 funding request from the Administration.

At time of publication, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have reported out 23 of the 24-fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations bills, twelve bills each for the House and Senate. This represents significant progress in appropriations compared to the last few fiscal years, likely thanks to a top-line spending deal struck earlier this year. However, the House of Representatives will leave D.C. for August recess starting July 30, giving them only 14 working days to approve spending bills and reconcile differences with the Senate before the government shuts down on October 1. The Senate will stay in session for much of the month of August to complete work on approving presidential nominees and vote on some of the remaining spending bills. So far, the full House has approved five of the twelve spending bills, while the Senate has only approved three. Keep up with COSSA’s coverage of FY 2019 appropriations here.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the House Appropriations Committee’s proposals for the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Department of Education.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 24), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Senate Appropriations Committee Passes FY 2019 Labor, Health Human Services, Education Bill

On June 28, the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Bill; the Labor-HHS Subcommittee advanced the bill on June 26. This bill contains annual funding proposals for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Education (ED), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), among other federal departments and agencies.

The House Labor-HHS Subcommittee marked up its version of the bill on June 15 and released the bill text and accompanying report soon after; however, the full House Appropriations Committee has postponed its markup of the bill indefinitely due to reported disagreements on a number of policy issues in the bill. Therefore, this report simply summarizes the Senate’s Labor-HHS proposals and does not make comparisons to the House levels.

At a Glance…

  • The Senate bill includes a total of $39.084 billion for NIH in FY 2019, a $2 billion increase over the FY 2018 level. If enacted, NIH will have received a total of $9 billion in increases over the last four years, a 30 percent increase over that period.
  • The bill would allocate $7.8 billion to the CDC, a cut of about $193 million compared to FY 2018, but more than $2 billion above the amount proposed by the Administration.
  • The Senate bill includes $334 million for AHRQ, flat with the FY 2018 enacted level. The bill “does not support” the Administration’s proposed consolidation of AHRQ as a new institute within the NIH.
  • Within the Department of Education, the Senate bill would provide $615.5 million to IES, which would be a 0.3 percent increase in funding compared to its FY 2018 appropriation and 18 percent above the FY 2019 funding request from the Administration.

The next step for the bill is consideration by the full Senate. It remains to be seen whether or how Senate leadership will proceed with the individual appropriations bills this year. Given the fast-approaching November midterm elections and other legislative priorities, not to mention the need to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice, it is increasingly likely that FY 2019 will begin under a continuing resolution (CR) on October 1, 2018.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s proposals for the National Institutes of Health, Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 10), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science Bill

On June 14, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill; the bill was marked up in subcommittee on June 12. The CJS 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 many other federal departments and agencies. The House Appropriations Committee passed its bill on May 17. Read COSSA’s full analysis of the House bill here.

At a Glance…

  • The Senate CJS bill includes $8.1 billion for NSF in FY 2019, which is 3.9 percent above the FY 2018 enacted level and 8 percent above the President’s request, but about 1 percent below the House’s proposal.
  • The Senate bill would provide NIJ with $42 million and BJS with $48 million, flat with the FY 2018 enacted level and 17 percent above the President’s request for both agencies.
  • The Senate bill would provide the Census Bureau with a total of $3.82 billion for FY 2019, which is slightly higher than the Administration’s request (+$21 million) but nearly $1 billion below the House’s proposal.

The next step for the bill is consideration by the full Senate. It remains to be seen whether/how Senate leadership will proceed with the individual appropriations bills this year, but with most of the Senate’s August recess cancelled, more time is available for considering the spending bills. However, the entire House is up for reelection and other priorities remain to be considered, so it is still likely that FY 2019 will begin under a continuing resolution (CR) on October 1, 2018.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s proposals for the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Census Bureau.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 26), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Congress Moves Forward on FY 2019 Spending

With a little less than four months remaining in fiscal year (FY) 2018, Congress is behind schedule but well underway in their work to consider the spending bills for FY 2019. The House Appropriations Committee has approved seven of the twelve annual appropriations bills, including two important to social and behavioral science research. On June 8, the full House of Representatives approved a three-bill package of historically uncontroversial bills, kick-starting what is expected to be a busy summer of votes.

On the other side of the Capitol, Senate appropriators have been slower to consider the FY 2019 appropriations bills, having only passed four bills out of committee. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) has been hesitant to comment on when he expects to see spending bills considered in the full Senate. To provide more time to consider appropriations bills and presidential nominations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has cancelled most of the Senate’s annual August recess, signaling that completing government spending for FY 2019 remains a priority. Read COSSA’s analysis of FY 2019 spending so far and stay tuned for updates on appropriations impacting social and behavioral science research.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 12), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

House Panel Passes FY 2019 Funding for NSF, Census, NIJ

On May 17, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill; the bill was marked up in subcommittee on May 9. The CJS 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 many other federal departments and agencies. The Senate has not yet released the details of its CJS bill.

At a Glance…

  • The House CJS bill includes $8.2 billion for NSF in FY 2019, which is 5.2 percent above the FY 2018 enacted level and 9.4 percent above the President’s request.
  • The House bill would provide NIJ with $44 million and BJS with $50 million, which is 4.8 and 4.2 percent, respectively, above the FY 2018 enacted level and 22 percent above the President’s request.
  • The House bill would provide the Census Bureau with $4.8 billion in discretionary funding for FY 2019. That amount is an increase of $2 billion compared to FY 2018 and $1 billion more than the amount requested by the Administration.
  • The House bill includes $99 million for the Economics and Statistics Administration, which houses BEA, flat with FY 2018 and $2 million below the President’s request.

The next step for the bill is consideration by the full House. However, with the August recess quickly approaching, and this being an election year, floor time is extremely limited. It remains to be seen whether/how House leadership will proceed with the individual appropriations bills this year. It is all but certain that FY 2019 will being on October 1, 2018 under a continuing resolution (CR).

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the House Appropriations Committee’s proposals for the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Census Bureau.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 29), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

House and Senate Committees Approve FY 2019 Agriculture Funding

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved their fiscal year (FY) 2019 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bills. This bill contains funding for the two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistical agencies, the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), as well as the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which funds competitive research projects. The House bill (H.R. 5961) was approved by the subcommittee on May 9 and by the full committee on May 16. The Senate version of the bill, which does not yet have a bill number, was passed by the subcommittee on May 22 and by the full committee on May 24.

At a Glance…

  •  Both the House and Senate bills would maintain flat funding for ERS at $86.8 million, rejecting the nearly 50 percent cut proposed in the President’s request.
  • Both the House and Senate propose decreases for the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) as it ramps down from the 2017 Census of Agriculture; the House proposal of $173.7 million is $1.1 million below the Senate’s proposed $174.8 million. However, both levels are higher than the amount proposed in the President’s request.
  • The House bill would provide $1.45 billion for NIFA, which is 2.8 percent above FY 2018. The Senate bill includes $1.42 billion, an increase of 1.1 percent. Both chambers propose increases for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, with the House proposing a larger increase than the Senate.

The next step for both bills is consideration by their respective chambers. Both the House and Senate leadership have expressed a commitment to trying to pass at least some of the FY 2019 appropriations bills before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1. However, with August recess and the peak of campaign season quickly approaching, it remains to be seen which bills will be passed and when.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees’ proposals for the Economic Research Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, and National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 29), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

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