Senate appropriations bills provide a boost to DOE’s office of Science and a cut to NSF in 2018

 

The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved two draft funding bills for fiscal 2018 that conflict with appropriation bills proposed by the House earlier this month.  The House Appropriations Committee proposed flat funding for the National Science Foundation research programs and Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The Senate, however, is seeking to provide a slight cut and increase, respectively. Under the budgets put forth by the Senate Appropriations Committee, the NSF would receive $7.3 billion and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science would receive $5.5 billion.

 

House (billion) Senate (billion)
National Science Foundation

(R&RA, EHR)

$6.91 (FY17 level)

 

$6.78 (↓ $133 million)
Department of Energy – Office of Science $5.39 (FY17 level) $5.55 (↑ $158 million)

 

The Trump administration proposed in May extensive cuts for the NSF and DOE Office of Science in FY18, but those plans were rejected by the House.  The Senate’s appropriations bill for energy and water increases the DOE office’s budget by $158 million, including a $21 million increase for the biological and environmental research program.

The NSF, however, is facing cuts in both chambers.  The House Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill proposed funding NSF’s major research programs at FY17 levels, with the majority of the cuts coming from the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction budget.  The Senate bill goes a step further and proposes $133 million in cuts to NSF’s research programs and other parts of the agency’s budget.

With both the House and Senate proposing very different funding levels, if both bills pass their respective chambers, Congress will need to go to conference and compromise.

In addition, during the markup of the Senate’s CJS appropriations bill, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., offered an amendment to increase CJS appropriations by $6.5 billion and add $3.37 billion to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics training and workforce programs as well as provide an increase of $538 million to NSF’s budget.  While that amendment failed to receive enough votes to be added to the draft bill, it is encouraging to see representatives actively trying to bolster the STEM workforce and research at the NSF.

A markup for the Senate’s Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies draft appropriations bill for FY18 has not been schedule yet; however, the House LHHS appropriations bill proposes increasing the National Institutes of Health’s budget by $1.1 billion.

We will continue to monitor the progress of appropriations for FY18 and update the Blotter with developments.

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