Blog Archives

Biden Signs American Rescue Plan, with Funding for NSF, IES, Universities

On March 11, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319). As previously reported, the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill includes $600 million in funding to support research related to the pandemic at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and $100 million to support research related to K-12 learning loss at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The bill also includes $39.9 billion in funding to support colleges and universities. Now that this major piece of legislation has been enacted, lawmakers’ attention will turn to appropriations for the coming fiscal year. In addition, discussions will begin for another aid bill targeted for later in the spring that will be more broadly focused on recovery and infrastructure.

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Posted in Issue 6 (March 16), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

House Passes Funding for NSF, Higher Ed, and IES in $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill

The House of Representatives passed a massive relief bill on February 27 that aims to bring financial support to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (H.R. 1319, committee report) includes direct payments to individuals, expansion of unemployment assistance, and an increase to the national minimum wage, among many other provisions. It also includes several notable provisions of interest to the science community, including $39.9 billion in funding for colleges and universities, with half to be used for student aid, as laid out in the CARES Act (see COSSA’s previous coverage). The bill also includes $100 million for the Institute of Education Sciences for research related to addressing learning loss caused by the coronavirus among K-12 students.

In addition, the National Science Foundation would receive $600 million “to fund or extend new and existing research grants, cooperative agreements, scholarships, fellowships, and apprenticeships, and related administrative expenses to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” While not included in the original bill text, this funding was added as part of the manager’s amendment that was passed on the House floor. This funding, if enacted, could only be used for research about the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill does not provide any any relief for scientists whose research on other topics has been disrupted. The bipartisan RISE Act (see previous coverage), should it become law, would provide NSF with $3 billion to support non-COVID-related research impacted by the pandemic.

Senate leadership is now working on its own version of the legislation, which is expected to be voted on the coming days. While some of the larger provisions may change, such as the minimum wage increase, the research and higher education relief funding discussed above is expected to be maintained in the Senate bill. COSSA will continue to report on the progress of this legislation as it nears passage.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 2), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

IES Announces Changes, Requests Applications for Several of its Largest Grant Programs

On May 27, Mark Schneider, the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) within the Department of Education, issued an announcement of new Requests for Applications (RFA) for several of the Institute’s largest grant programs for fiscal year (FY) 2021 as well as updates to some of the Institute’s programs. The Requests for Applications are mainly in the Education Research and Training Grant Programs and in Special Education Research and Training Grant Programs. A full list of the RFAs are available on the IES website.

Some of the programmatic changes mentioned in the announcement include higher funding limits to meet growing demands for dissemination and the reorganization of the programs at the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) into fewer, broader program topics. According to the announcement, the changes were guided by the Institute’s Standards for Excellence in Education Research (SEER). Director Schneider’s announcement and more information are available on the IES website.

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

IES Director Seeks Input on Topic Areas, Announces Possible Request for Applications

Mark Schneider, the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the research, evaluation, and statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Education, announced in a blog post on August 13 that he is considering three new topic-specific requests for applications (RFAs) and seeking comment on the topics around which IES research is structured.

The three proposed off-cycle RFAs are “using state longitudinal data systems to measure long-term outcomes,” “using NAEP [National Assessment of Educational Progress] process data,” and “systematic evaluation of widely used math and reading programs.” The blog post includes more details about the proposed RFAs and a request that the community provide input into whether they are worthwhile and whether the challenges that come with these large questions are surmountable.

Additionally, Schneider is seeking input on the 13 topic areas within the National Center for Education Research (NCER) and the 12 topic areas within the National Center for Special Education Research. In particular, he is interested in whether any of the topic areas are no longer necessary to be funded, and if any other topic areas are missing from the two centers.

Input should be sent directly to the IES director at Mark.Schneider@ed.gov. The blog post can be read on the IES website.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 3), 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)

IES Requests Comment on Proposed Priorities

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the Department of Education, has released a request for comment on proposed priorities for IES. The Federal Register Notice explains that the request is part of the process required by the agency’s authorizing legislation to receive public comment on priorities the Director of IES recommends to the National Board for Education Sciences.

Proposed priorities fall into two categories: A Focus on Outcomes and Increasing Dissemination and Use. The Outcomes priority includes specific outcomes at the preschool, K-12, and postsecondary levels of education. The Dissemination and Use priority includes a renewed focus on enhancing the experience of What Works Clearinghouse users, increasing outreach to teachers, and investing in postsecondary programs that support education researchers.

Comments will close on May 28, 2019. More information can be found in the Federal Register.

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 2), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

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)

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)

Senators Join Together in Support of the Institute for Education Sciences

On April 11, 19 Senators submitted a letter to the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations subcommittee, in support of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). IES is the research and development agency of the Department of Education and also houses the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The letter calls for Congress to appropriate $670 million for IES, providing critical support for NCES as well as the National Center for Special Education Research, Regional Education Laboratories, and the National Center for Education Research.

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Posted in Issue 9 (May 2), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

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