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COSSA Releases Analysis of FY 2021 Appropriations for Science Agencies

As previously reported, before adjourning for the year Congress passed a combined appropriations and coronavirus aid package that provides much needed pandemic relief and will fund the government through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2021 (September 30, 2021). Following several days of uncertainty, President Trump signed the package into law on December 27.

COSSA’s full analysis of the final FY 2021 funding bills for federal agencies and programs important to the social and behavioral science research community is now available here.

Attention now turns to the 117th Congress which convened on January 3. Lawmakers have begun the process of organizing and making Committee assignments ahead of President-Elect Biden’s inauguration on January 20, even as control of the Senate is not yet decided. Stay tuned to COSSA’s coverage for the latest developments.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 5), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

Congress Passes Final FY 2021 Funding, COVID Relief, Closing the Books on an Extraordinary Year

After weeks of tense negotiations, Congressional leaders reached an agreement on a coronavirus aid package and legislation to fund the government through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2021. The appropriations agreement largely provides flat funding or modest increases to social science agencies, unsurprising given the strains placed on the federal budget by the pandemic. COSSA will release a full analysis of the funding bills for social science agencies later this week. In the meantime, top-line funding for agencies important to the social and behavioral sciences are provided in the chart below. COSSA’s complete coverage of FY 2021 funding can be found here.

FY 2021 appropriations snapshot

The $900 billion COVID relief package includes direct payments for individuals meeting certain income thresholds, extension of unemployment benefits, support for small business through the Paycheck Protection Program, among many other priorities. Notable for the social science community is $22.7 billion for the Higher Education Relief Emergency fund to help universities defray the costs associated with the pandemic and provide financial assistance to students. In addition, the bill includes $28 million for use through FY 2022 to support pandemic-related costs related to administering the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). NAEP has been postponed amid the educational upheaval caused by the pandemic.

Within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the agreement provides $8.75 billion in supplemental funding for the CDC for use through FY 2024 to “plan, prepare for, promote, distribute, administer, monitor, and track coronavirus vaccines to ensure broad-based distribution, access, and vaccine coverage.” The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is to receive $1.25 billion for use through FY 2024 to support research and clinical trials related to the long-term effects of COVID-19, as well as continued support for expanding and improving COVID-19 testing.

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Posted in Issue 25 (December 22), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Senate Releases Appropriations Bills Ahead of Omnibus Negotiations

On November 10, the Senate Appropriations Committee released the text of all 12 fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills; this is for the fiscal year that officially began last month on October 1. As previously reported, the House of Representatives passed 10 of its bills in July. The release of the Senate bills signals that lawmakers plan to negotiate final FY 2021 spending during this post-election lame duck session. Senators are not expected to take up the bills on the Senate floor; rather, their bills are meant as a jumping off point for negotiations with the House on a final deal.

As a reminder, the federal government is currently operating under a continuing resolution (CR) until December 11, leaving just four weeks to complete the bills—likely through a large omnibus package. There are reports that a second CR may be needed to extend the deadline by another week, providing lawmakers additional time to complete their work on the FY 2021 bills.

Read on for COSSA’s full analysis of the Senate FY 2021 funding bills for federal agencies and programs important to the social and behavioral science research community. And take a moment to contact your lawmakers and urge their support for social science funding in the final FY 2021 appropriations bill.

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Posted in Issue 23 (November 24), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Senate Kicks Off Lame Duck Session by Releasing FY 2021 Spending Bills

The Senate Appropriations Committee released all 12 of its annual appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY) 2021, which would fund the government for the fiscal year that began on October 1, 2020. The government is currently operating under a continuing resolution that expires on December 11 (see COSSA’s previous coverage). The House released all of its annual appropriations bills in July and passed 10 of them (see COSSA’s analysis). The Senate Appropriations Committee is not planning to consider the bills; rather, they will be used as a starting point for negotiations with House appropriators as both chambers attempt to reach an agreement to fund the government ahead of the December 11 deadline.

COSSA members can expect to receive COSSA’s full analysis of the Senate’s funding proposals for social science agencies in their inboxes later this week. You can ensure you are receiving COSSA’s members-only emails by filling out this form.

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Posted in Issue 22 (November 10), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

FY 2021 Begins Under a CR; COVID Relief Negotiations Up in the Air

Federal fiscal year (FY) 2021 officially began on October 1. As previously reported, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) last month keeping the government operating past the November elections until December 11; the President has since signed the CR into law. What this means for FY 2021 science funding is unknown. The lame-duck Congress will return after the election and may attempt to finalize FY 2021 spending, or pass another CR kicking the responsibility to the next Congress that will be seated in January. The fate of funding largely lies in the outcome of the Congressional and Presidential elections and which party will hold the majority in Congress and the White House come January. You can follow COSSA’s coverage of FY 2021 science funding, including actions taken to date, on our website.

In other news, negotiations on the next round of COVID-19 relief have all but fallen apart, with the President calling on his surrogates to end negotiations with Congress until after the elections, and then reversing course and urging passage of a large relief package. Democrats and Republicans remain at odds over the amount of supplemental funding needed, signaling that a deal before the November elections is unlikely. You can follow COSSA’s COVID-19 coverage on our website.

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Posted in Issue 20 (October 13), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Congress Likely Averts Government Shutdown, CR through December 11

On September 22, the House of Representatives struck a deal to keep the government operating into the new fiscal year that begins on October 1. The Senate is expected to pass the measure this week, sending it to the President before fiscal year (FY) 2020 ends on September 30. None of the twelve appropriations bills for FY 2021 have been enacted to date, although as previously reported, the House passed its versions back in July (see COSSA’s coverage).

Congressional leaders are also attempting a last-ditch effort this week to find compromise on a COVID-19 relief package. House Democrats released a slimmed-down version of its Heroes Act to restart discussions; however, there remains little hope that agreement will be made before lawmakers leave for the campaign trail in the coming days.

Finally, 54 Members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy last week urging $3 billion in emergency relief for the National Science Foundation in the next COVID-19 package. The revised Heroes Act noted earlier does not currently include this funding.

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Posted in Issue 19 (September 29), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Fate of FY 2021 Funding and Coronavirus Relief in Limbo as Congress Returns

Lawmakers return from summer recess next week, leaving only 16 working days to act on funding legislation before fiscal year (FY) 2021 begins on October 1. As previously reported, the House passed its version of the FY 2021 appropriations bills in July, while the Senate has yet to release details of its bills. It is a near certainty that FY 2021 will begin under a continuing resolution (CR). Since it is an election year—one with major potential funding consequences—history suggests that a shorter CR will be enacted to keep the government running through the November elections. The next steps after that will depend heavily on the outcome of the election and which party will be controlling the House, Senate and White House beginning in January. Should there be a change in administration and/or party majority in one or both chambers of Congress, it is common for appropriations bills to be tabled until the new year to allow the new party in power to control the process.

What’s more likely to dominate attention in Congress over the next few weeks is the latest attempt to enact emergency funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Congressional leaders and White House negotiators made little-to-no progress over the summer, despite promises to broker a deal. As we head into the seventh month of the pandemic with the November election nearing, both parties are feeling the pressure to provide additional relief. Stay tuned to COSSA’s coverage over the coming weeks for the latest details on FY 2021 spending and COVID-19 relief and their impacts on social and behavioral science research.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 1), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

House Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2021 Funding Bills

During the week of July 13, the House Appropriations Committee completed its marathon markups of its 12 annual appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY) 2021, making way for consideration by the full House of Representatives; the relevant subcommittees advanced their respective measures the week prior.

Despite the semblance of “regular order,” the outlook for final FY 2021 spending bills is still very much up in the air as lawmakers continue to grapple with pandemic relief negotiations and as the November elections approach. In addition, the House bills—which were written by the Democrats—include several funding and policy provisions that will be non-starters for the Republican-controlled Senate. For example, one area of contention between the parties is whether to use the FY 2021 spending bills to provide additional coronavirus relief (as currently included in the House Labor, HHS, Education bill), or to negotiate such measures separately (which is the position of that subcommittee’s Ranking Republican). Also threatening final passage of the FY 2021 bills is the perennial fight over whether to fund the President’s border wall; the House Homeland Security bill contains no funding for the project.

Complicating things further are the budget caps to which appropriators were forced to adhere when writing the FY 2021 bills. As previously reported, a bipartisan budget agreement was passed in August 2019 providing much needed relief from tight budget caps on discretionary spending for FY 2020 and FY 2021. The deal allowed Congress to increase funding to federal agencies across the FY 2020 appropriations bills; however, for FY 2021, the deal raised the caps by only 0.4 percent, setting this year up at the outset to be a particularly challenging one.

Timing for consideration of the FY 2021 spending bills in the Senate remains unclear. The chamber returned from a two-week recess to face ongoing COVID-19 relief negotiations and must-pass defense authorization legislation.

Read on for COSSA’s full analysis of the House FY 2021 funding bills for federal agencies and programs important to the social and behavioral science research community.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 21), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Congress Looking to Move FY 2021 Funding Bills in Coming Weeks

While Congressional leaders continue to negotiate their next response to the COVID-19 pandemic and, now, renewed calls for policing reforms in the wake of the killings of unarmed Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement, lawmakers are also looking to make progress on the fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills. According to House leadership, the House of Representatives will work to pass its FY 2021 bills ahead of the month-long August recess. This leaves the House with less than two months to write, mark-up and bring to the floor all twelve annual spending bills. The Senate has not yet released plans for moving ahead on FY 2021 appropriations, though leaders have expressed hopes to begin in late June.

Advocates, including COSSA, are busy making their final pitches to Congress for next year’s funding. A major unknown this year is the impact that recently enacted supplemental funding to address the COVID-19 outbreak will have on regular appropriations. COSSA will report on the details of the annual spending bills for federal science agencies over the next several weeks. You can follow our coverage at: https://www.cossa.org/policy.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 9), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

COSSA Submits Testimony in Support of FY 2021 Funding for Health, Education Agencies

Each year, COSSA submits outside witness testimony to the Congressional Appropriations subcommittees responsible for funding federal agencies important to the social sciences. Earlier this month, COSSA submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies calling for robust funding for the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (including the National Center for Health Statistics), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, and the Department of Education’s International Education and Foreign Language programs. All of COSSA’s FY 2021 testimony is posted on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 26), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

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