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Budget Deal Signed; Congress Leaves for Summer Recess with FY 2020 Outcome Unknown

On August 2, President Trump signed a two-year budget agreement that provides federal programs relief from automatic spending cuts set to take effect in fiscal years (FY) 2020 and 2021 as well as raises the debt ceiling for two years. The deal allows Congress to appropriate spending increases for defense and non-defense discretionary programs, including for research, healthcare, and the upcoming 2020 Census. The passage of the budget deal clears the way for Congress to pass FY 2020 funding bills when it returns in September from its annual summer recess, but it will have to act quickly to avert a government shutdown on October 1. As COSSA has reported, the House of Representatives has nearly completed its work on FY 2020 appropriations, but the Senate delayed considering any spending bills until a deal was reached to address the limits discretionary spending. The Senate is now expected to start working in haste to draft spending bills after it returns from recess.

COSSA has also released an Action Alert for COSSA Members to communicate directly with their Senators to urge them to support social science research funding.

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Posted in Issue 16 (August 6), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Congress and White House Strike Budget Deal Before Congress Leaves for Recess

As Congress prepares to leave for its annual August recess, Congressional leaders have struck a deal with the White House to raise the budget caps and debt ceiling for the coming fiscal years. The deal will allow for an increase in defense and non-defense discretionary spending, and provide relief from the final two years of automatic budget cuts put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011. This deal means that increases are now possible for programs across the government, including research, healthcare, and the upcoming 2020 Census. As COSSA has reported, the House of Representatives is nearly done working on fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations, but the Senate was delaying any spending decisions until a deal was reached to address the limits discretionary spending. The Senate is now expected to start working in haste to draft spending bills after they return from recess. Congress has until the end of September to finish work on FY 2020, pass a continuing resolution, or risk another government shutdown.

COSSA has also released an Action Alert for COSSA Members to communicate directly with their Senators to urge them to support social science research.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 23), 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 Passes First of FY 2020 Bills

The House of Representatives passed the first set of fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills on June 21, including the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill, which is responsible for funding the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Education, among other agencies. The House next turned to consideration of another package of bills, including the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies bill (CJS), which funds the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Census Bureau, among other agencies. At the time of publication, the House is still considering the CJS bill package, but is expected to pass nearly all twelve appropriations bills before Congress leaves for Independence Day recess.

While the House has nearly completed its appropriations work, the Senate Appropriations Committee is waiting for top-level discretionary funding (known within the Beltway as “302a allocations”) to be finalized before proceeding on their versions of the FY 2020 appropriations bills. As COSSA has reported, discretionary budget caps must be raised if federal agencies and programs are to realize any funding increases in FY 2020.

Follow COSSA’s reporting on FY 2020 appropriations here and take action on social science funding and spending caps here.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 25), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

COSSA Submits Testimony to Senate in Support of Funding for NIH, CDC, ED, BLS

As it does each year, COSSA submitted outside witness testimony to the Congressional Appropriations subcommittees responsible for funding federal agencies important to the social sciences. On June 3, COSSA submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies calling for increased fiscal year (FY) 2020 funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 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 11), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

FY 2020 Agriculture Bill Advances in House

The House Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2020 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill on June 4. 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 bill was marked up in subcommittee on May 23.

At a Glance…

  • The bill contains language prohibiting the move of ERS and NIFA outside of the National Capital Region. The House Agriculture Committee is also investigating this issue and held a hearing on June 5 on “Examining the Impacts of Relocating USDA Research Agencies on Agriculture Research.”
  • The House bill would provide ERS with $87.8 million, a 1.2 percent increase from FY 2019 and a rejection of the steep cuts proposed by the Administration.
  • The bill would provide NASS with $180.8 million, an increase of $6.3 million and $17.8 million above the Administration’s request.
  • The House mark would provide NIFA with a total of $1.6 million in discretionary funds, a $142.8 million increase for the agency compared to FY 2019 and $222.4 million above the Administration’s request.

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

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 11), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

House Panel Approves FY 2020 Funding for NSF, Census, BJS, and NIJ

On May 22, the House Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill; the CJS Subcommittee advanced the bill on May 17. This bill contains annual funding proposals for the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Census Bureau, among other federal departments and agencies. Overall, the House bill is favorable to agencies important to the COSSA community, with increases proposed across the bill’s jurisdiction.

At a glance…

  • The House CJS bill includes $8.6 billion for the National Science Foundation in FY 2020, which, if appropriated, would be a significant increase of more than $561 million or 7 percent over FY 2019.
  • The House bill would provide the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) with $37 million and $43 million, respectively. This would represent flat funding for NIJ and BJS compared to their FY 2019 funding levels.
  • The House’s proposal would provide the Census Bureau with a total of $8.45 billion for FY 2020, which is $2.3 billion above the amount requested by the Administration and in line with the amount sought by the Census stakeholder community.

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 Census Bureau.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 28), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

COSSA Submits FY 2020 Testimony to Senate Appropriations Committee in Support of Social Science Funding for NSF, Census, NIJ, and BJS

As it does each year, COSSA submitted outside witness testimony to the Congressional Appropriations subcommittees responsible for funding federal agencies important to the social sciences. COSSA submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies calling for increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Census Bureau in fiscal year (FY) 2020. All of COSSA’s FY 2020 testimony is posted on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 14), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

House Science Committee Holds Hearing on NSF Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request

On May 8, the Research and Technology Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing to discuss the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2020. Witnesses included NSF Director Dr. France Córdova and National Science Board Chair Dr. Diane Souvaine.

Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) presided over the hearing and used her opening statement to highlight the accomplishments of NSF and its important role as the only federal agency that supports basic research across all disciplines of science. She also drew attention to the fact that NSF serves as the primary source of federal research funds for some disciplines, including social science. Stevens further expressed appreciation for NSF’s commitment to the Ten Big Ideas Initiative but noted concern about the balance between supporting the Big Ideas and NSF’s core research portfolio.

Drs. Córdova and Souvaine highlighted the Ten Big Ideas and the importance of convergent research in their testimony. Additional topics discussed by members of the subcommittee and NSF leadership included social and behavioral dimensions of artificial intelligence research, preventing sexual harassment in science, and effective partnerships with the private sector.

Unlike in NSF budget hearings of the past few years, Republicans and Democrats joined together to applaud NSF’s support of basic research and to raise concern about the Administration’s proposal to decrease the NSF’s budget by nearly a billion dollars. The full hearing can be viewed on the Committee’s website.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 14), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

COSSA Issues Statement Calling for Budget Deal

On April 25, COSSA issued a statement calling on Congress to reach a deal that will prevent the budget cuts scheduled to take effect during fiscal years (FY) 2020 and 2021. The statement highlights the potential impact of these cuts on federal research agencies, particularly those that fund social science research or produce data used by social scientists: “Almost every national priority—health, defense, agriculture and conservation, hazards and natural disasters—relies on science and engineering; the social and behavioral sciences play an important role in helping to address the complex human-centered challenges our nation faces. If America is to continue its global leadership in science and innovation and keep pace with other nations that are doubling-down on their investments in research, we cannot afford to let arbitrary, across-the-board cuts to science and research agencies—including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and data-producing statistical agencies—hinder scientific progress.” The full statement is available on COSSA’s website.

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Posted in Issue 9 (April 30), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

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