Before heading into their summer recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced three fiscal year (FY) 2022 spending legislation, namely the bills for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Energy and Water Development; and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies. The bills will now be considered by the full Senate.
The Agriculture spending bill includes an overall discretionary funding of $25.9 billion, which is an increase of $2.5 billion over FY 2021 enacted levels and slightly below the House allocation of $26.5 billion. Research funding at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would be augmented by $292 million over FY 2021 for a total of $3.6 billion. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) would operate at $1.72 billion, which is $193 million above FY 2021, $175 million below the President’s request, and $44 million below the level approved by the House. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) would receive $1.66 billion (+$87 million), which is almost $300 million below the budget request and in line with the House proposal. The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI)—USDA’s competitive grants program—would be funded at $445 million (+$10 million) under the Senate bill and at $450 million under the House bill. The President has requested $700 million for AFRI, an increase of 61 percent over FY 2021.
The Senate’s Energy-Water appropriations bill would increase the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science budget by 7 percent to $7.5 billion, exceeding the Administration’s request by $50 million and the House’s proposed level by $170 million. Biological and Environmental Research would receive a boost of 10 percent to $828 million, which is equal to the President’s request and $23 million more than the House bill. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is slated to receive $500 million (+17 percent) under the Senate bill, which is equal to the level requested by the agency and $100 million below the House’s proposed level.
The House previously cleared 9 out of the 12 appropriations bills for FY 2022, but is yet to pass the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) spending bill, which includes funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Debate over the CJS measure was put on hold as a result of disagreements over conditions for state and local law enforcement funding and will resume after lawmakers return from their recess in September. Both chambers will need to pass and the President will need to sign all 12 appropriations bills before the fiscal year ends on September 30 to avert a government shutdown.
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