Update: The U.S. Senate passed the omnibus bill to fund the government until Sept. 30
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.3 trillion spending bill to fund the government for the remainder of the 2018 fiscal year. Included in the bill are substantial increases to the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy’s office of science. The bipartisan spending bill largely rejects the Trump administration’s proposed cuts for FY18 that totaled $57.3 billion. In the new budget deal, the NIH, NSF and DOE science office would receive $37 billion, $7.8 billion and $6.26 billion in appropriations, respectively.
|House||President Donald Trump’s proposal|
|National Institutes of Health||$37.0 billion (↑ $3 billion)||$26.9 billion (↓ $7.1 billion)|
|National Science Foundation (Research and Related Activities, and Education and Human Resources)||$7.23 billion (↑ $330 million)||$6.12 billion (↓ $133 million)
|Department of Energy – Office of Science||$6.26 billion (↑ $868 million)||$4.47 billion (↓ $920 million)|
In February, Congress passed a bipartisan budget deal that raised discretionary spending caps by $130 billion for FY18 and FY19. These increases provided the necessary room for legislators to propose the funding levels in the FY18 omnibus.
The bill avoids earmarking funds for specific research at the NSF and the DOE Office of Science. It does, however, include more than $1 billion in increased targeted funding at the NIH to support research on agency wide disease-focused initiatives and institutional development awards.
The next hurdle for the spending bill will be for it to make it through the Senate. Members of the Senate, however, have voiced discomfort with passing a 2,000-page spending bill without having enough time to thoroughly review it before a government shutdown.
The current continuing resolution keeping the government open is set to expire at midnight tomorrow (Friday, March 23), forcing the Senate to either vote on the omnibus without making major changes, push forward another short-term continuing resolution or allow the government to shut down again.
It’s encouraging to see that, despite a presidential administration that continuously proposes disastrous cuts to domestic research and development spending, Congress continues to come together in a bipartisan way to support the nation’s scientific enterprise.
If the omnibus is made into law, federal agencies will have until Sept. 30 to make awards with the increased funding. We will continue monitoring the bill’s passage as well as see if the increases for FY18 are kept up when Congress releases draft appropriations bills for FY19.