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Bullet policy · Oct 25, 2021

Senate Releases Remaining FY 2022 Spending Bills

Science agencies are slated for significant funding increases in the nine fiscal year (FY) 2022 spending bills released by Senate Democrats last week. The bills were released after months of negotiations between Democratic and Republican appropriators failed to culminate in a deal on overall discretionary spending levels.

Science highlights from the bills include:

  • The National Science Foundation would receive a $1 billion or 12 percent increase to $9.5 billion in FY 2022. The level proposed in the Senate is $148 million below the amount proposed in the House and $700 million below the President’s request of $10.2 billion. The research account at NSF would receive $7.7 billion, $29 million below the House proposed level. Like the House bill, the Senate bill would approve NSF’s proposal to create a new technology directorate.
  • The National Institute of Health would receive $48 billion, an increase of 12 percent over FY 2021 and $1.5 billion less than the level approved by the House. Of the $5 billion funding increase, $2.4 billion would go towards the new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). The House has approved a $3 billion budget for the proposed agency.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology would receive a 35 percent boost to $1.39 billion in the Senate bill, slightly higher compared to the 32 percent increase proposed in the House bill.
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) would receive a 7 percent increase to $24.8 billion in FY 2022, with its science programs slated for an increase of $600 million to $7.9 billion.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) budget would grow by 15 percent to $6.3 billion, which is $182 million below the level proposed in the House and $690 million below the agency’s budget request.
  • The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) would receive $1.5 billion (+14 percent), with $326 million (+26 percent) directed to its Ecosystems Mission Area. The House has approved $1.64 billion (+25 percent) for the agency and $355 million (+37 percent) for the ecosystems account.
  • The National Park Service would be funded at $3.5 billion (+11 percent); the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would receive a boost of 17 percent to $1.8 billion; and the Bureau of Land Management is slated for an increase of 18 percent to $1.5 billion in the Senate bill.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is slated to receive $10.5 billion; a 14 percent increase relative to FY 2021. The House has approved 23 percent boost for the regulatory agency. EPA’s science and technology programs would get a 10 percent boost to $803 million.
  • The Smithsonian Institution would receive $1.1 billion (+7 percent), equal to levels proposed in the House and by the President.
  • Basic research funding at the Department of Defense would increase by 15 percent to $3 billion.

Republican senators have expressed opposition to these spending bills, demanding that Democrats agree to significant changes. Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) said that Chairman Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) “decision to unilaterally unveil partisan spending bills is a significant step in the wrong direction…Their bills are filled with poison pills and problematic authorizing provisions…If Democrats want full year appropriations bills, they must abandon their go-it-alone strategy and come to the table to negotiate.”

Government agencies are currently operating under a continuing resolution until December 3, 2021. The Senate Appropriations Committee previously advanced three appropriation bills, 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 House has already passed 10 out of the 12 appropriations bills for FY 2022. Lawmakers in the House and Senate are now looking to negotiate and pass an omnibus spending package before the current stopgap funding expires at end of the year.

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