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Bullet policy · Jul 19, 2021

Science Agencies Slated for Significant Increases in Spending Bills

The House Appropriations Committee has now advanced all twelve spending bills for fiscal year (FY) 2022, approving significant increases for most federal science agencies and programs. The spending bills will now be considered by the full House of Representatives.

The overall allocation for the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill, which includes funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), would increase by $9.5 billion compared to FY 2021 to $81 billion.

NSF would receive an increase of 13.5 percent under the spending bill, which is less than the 20 percent boost proposed by President Biden. The science agency would receive a total of $9.6 billion, $1.1 billion more than the FY 2021 enacted level, and $536 million less than the President’s request. The research account at NSF would be allocated $7.7 billion (+11 percent), which is significantly lower than the $8.1 billion (+18 percent) requested by the agency. The spending panel approved NSF’s proposal to create a new Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships within the Research and Related Activities account. Other science highlights from the CJS spending bill include:

  • NASA would receive a slightly larger budget compared to amount requested by the President. Overall, the agency is slated to receive $25 billion (+8 percent) under the House bill, with its science account receiving $8 billion (+9 percent), $38 million above the agency’s request.
  • NIST would receive $1.4 billion, a boost of 32 percent. The President proposed a 45 percent increase for the agency.
  • The panel approved a 19 percent increase for NOAA, to $6.5 billion in FY 2022, which is $508 million less than the amount requested by the agency.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is funded by the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education (LHHS) spending bill, would be allocated $49 billion, $6.5 billion more than the FY 2021 enacted level and $2.3 billion less than the amount requested by the President. Of the $6.5 billion in increased spending allocated for the agency, $3.5 billion would be targeted to basic biomedical research at existing NIH institutes and centers. $3 billion would go towards creating a new agency—the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), for which the President had requested $6.5 billion in his budget proposal. Included in the LHHS spending bill is $282 million (+10 percent) for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which supports public outreach programs at museums.

The Energy and Water Development spending bill includes $7.3 billion for the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, a 4 percent increase compared to FY 2021, and $120 million less than President Biden’s request. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is slated to receive $600 million, $173 million above FY 2021 and $100 million more than the level requested by the agency.

The House Appropriations Committee previously advanced the Interior-Environment and Agriculture appropriations bills, approving increases for research agencies and programs within the Department of the Interior and the US Department of Agriculture.

Markups of spending legislation has yet to begin in the Senate. Both chambers of Congress will need to pass all 12 appropriations bills or pass a stopgap measure before the end of the fiscal year on September 30 to avoid a government shutdown.

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