Center of Science, Policy and Society Programs: R&D Budget and Policy Program
R&D Budget and Policy Program
Status of Appropriations
Agency Sequestration Plans
A Brief Comparison of R&D Funding in the House, Senate, and Administration Budgets
The early stages of the FY 2014 appropriations cycle have been marked by an abiding, substantial gap in spending levels and priorities, with $91 billion in discretionary spending separating the President's budget and the House budget. To outline the current contours of the debate for R&D, AAAS has assembled estimates (PDF) of R&D funding for select agencies in FY 2014 under the three proposed budgets from the House, Senate, and the White House. These estimates, which emphasize the current gap between thre parties, are based on recommended spending levels by budget function from each proposal, and earlier AAAS estimates of R&D under the President's request, and include percentage changes from FY 2012 and, in the case of the Congressional budgets, from the President's request. These figures will be updated when the House and Senate Appropriations committees release their 302(b) allocations, which set spending limits for each appropriations bill (for a fuller explanation of these allocations and how they fit into the overall process, see this summary from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).
NIH Outlines Sequester Impacts
NIH yesterday announced their funding levels, impacts and policies related to FY 2013 spending cuts under sequestration. The agency expects to lose $1.6 billion or 5.5 percent this year under sequestration, matching prior AAAS estimates. According to this table (PDF) posted by Science Insider, NIH expects to fund more than 1,300 fewer grants this year, including 703 fewer new grants. According to Sally Rockey, NIH's Deputy Director for Extramural Research, continuing awards will likely be funded at reduced levels and inflationary adjustments will not be given, a continuation of an existing policy. NIH will also continue to focus on success rates for new investigators. Science Insider has more, including impacts on select individual institutes.
Meanwhile, Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and James Inhofe (R-OK), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, have asked the Defense Department for greater details on specific cuts the department is planning. DOD has already indicated the number of lost science and technology research grants could tally in the hundreds.
UPDATED: FY 2014 Budget Released
The White House has released its FY 2014 Budget Request. Links to individual agency budgets are listed below.
The President proposes a $3.8 trillion budget in FY 2014, projecting a $744 billion deficit. In R&D funding, the budget calls for $144.1 billion, including $69.7 billion for basic and applied research, a $4.5 billion (6.9 percent) increase from FY 2012, according to AAAS estimates (note: the President's budget refrains from making direct comparisons with FY 2013 funding levels due to the late timing of appropriations). Non-defense R&D spending would increase to $69.7 billion, a 9.2 percent increase from FY 2012 and an all-time high. Inflation between 2012 and 2014 is expected to reach 4 percent. Note also that AAAS estimates diverge somewhat from Administration figures, due to in part to differences in included accounts and in part to updated reporting from agencies.
It is important to note that the President's budget calls for a repeal of sequestration and a return to the pre-sequestration discretionary budget caps, which are roughly $90 billion higher than the caps currently in place. As such, the budget does not reflect the lower spending caps required by the Budget Control Act. Barring a deficit deal that returns spending to previous levels, Congress will have to find ways to fit the President's proposals into the current fiscal context.
The Administration proposes a combined 8.9 percent increase above FY 2012 for R&D at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology; a 1.6 percent increase for NIH; a 2.6 percent increase for NASA; and an 8.2 percent increase for USDA. Defense R&D spending would total $74.4 billion, a 5.5 percent decrease from FY 2012. DOD would receive $69.5 billion, $5.0 billion less, though the bulk of this reduction comes out of the Department's development programs. The budget includes $12.7 billion for DOD’s S&T program, and $2.9 billion for DARPA, a 1.8 percent increase from 2012.
Along with medical research, the President’s priorities include advanced manufacturing, clean energy, climate change, and STEM education. ARPA-E would receive $345 million for transformational energy R&D, and another $1.7 billion would go to DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The request proposes $2.7 billion (a 6 percent increase from FY 2012) for the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Federal investment in STEM education would receive a 6.7 percent increase, or $3.1 billion in total; however, the Administration also proposes a major reorganization of STEM education programs, which would include a 50 percent reduction in the number of existing programs.
AAAS will post additional updates and analyses.
Please note: the below data represent current estimates, and will undergo revision.
Agency Budget Links
White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (Overview)
AAAS Historical Data
Agency FY 2014 Budget Briefing ScheduleSchedule information will be added as it becomes available. Check back frequently for updates.
Office of Science and Technology Policy
Department of Energy
National Science Foundation
U.S. Geological Survey
Department of Agriculture
Department of Education
CBO: Discretionary Spending Will Continue Decline
In a response to a Congressional inquiry, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said it expects federal deficits to average 3.3 percent of GDP through 2023, slightly ahead of the historical average over the past 40 years. The deficit would decline to 2.4 percent of GDP in 2015 and increase thereafter. Both overall spending and revenues will remain slightly ahead of historical averages. Notably for R&D, CBO predicts that the major entitlement programs (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security) will continue to drive deficit growth, while discretionary spending – which contains virtually all federal R&D – will drop to 3.0 percent of GDP, after a historical average of 4.0 percent. Slides in our PowerPoint presentations for the House R&D Caucus from last December illustrate how the composition of federal outlays has changed over time, with discretionary spending accounting for an ever-shrinking share since the 1970s.
President's Budget to be Released April 10
Politico has confirmed the President's FY 2014 budget will be officially released on April 10, according to a White House spokesman. The budget is ordinarily due to the first week of February, but was delayed by two months in part due to sequestration.
We'll post an updated schedule for agency-by-agency budget briefings as the information comes available.
Congress Completes Appropriations: Nearly $10 Billion in Cuts In Store
Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 as expected, on a 318-109 vote. The vote comes a day after the Senate passed the bill on a 73-26 vote, and thereby completes the Congressional appropriations cycle for FY 2013, nearly six months after the start of the fiscal year.
According to intial AAAS estimates, federal R&D investment will amount to approximately $130.9 billion in FY 2013, a drop of $9.6 billion or 6.9 percent from FY 2012. Nearly all of this decline is due to sequestration, as Congress appeared to hold several R&D accounts nearly flat and trimming only $506.6 million from R&D expenditures in the final bill. However, there is some considerable variation agency-by-agency. For instance, on the defense side of the ledger, Congress trimmed Department of Defense (DOD) R&D by $1.3 billion below FY 2012 levels — though short of the Administration's goal to cut appropriations further. Coupled with sequestration, DOD R&D will likely fall by $7.0 billion, or nearly ten percent; it's hard to say at this time how these cuts will be allocated between the science & technology and weapons development accounts. On the other hand, Congress granted increases to the Department of Energy (DOE) atomic weapons and nonproliferation accounts within the National Nuclear Security Administration, leaving DOE's atomic defense R&D funding $313 million or 7.3 percent above FY 2012 levels. After sequestration, this funding will only experience a roughly 1.1 percent drop from FY 2012. Congress also restored funding for research in the Defense Health Program, as they have in years past.
Nondefense research agencies also are subject to some variation. For instance, the National Science Foundation received an overall R&D boost of $152 million or 2.7 percent, which would leave the agency's R&D budget only 2.4 percent below FY 2012 levels after including sequestration. NSF also saw the preservation of its political science research programs, but with some clear restrictions. Overall R&D budgets at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and, especially, the Department of Homeland Security were increased significantly — in near accord with the Administration's original budget request — likely leaving both agencies above FY 2012 levels even after sequestration is applied. At NASA, the Science and Space Technology directorates were boosted at the expense of the Exploration and Space Operations accounts, leaving the overall R&D budget $103.3 million or 1.1 percent above FY 2012 levels, and $371.8 million or 4.0 percent below FY 2012 after sequestration. The NIH Director's Office received a modest boost, but sequestration will still leave agency R&D funding roughly $1.4 billion or 4.8 percent below FY 2012 levels.
In historical terms, when adjusted for inflation, these figures put federal R&D investment at its lowest point since FY 2002, and more than $25 billion in constant dollars below the all-time peak in 2010. This represents a 17.1 percent decline in just three years.
This post will be updated as necessary. Please note, many of these figures will likely be updated with the release of the President's FY 2014 budget in April.
Revised Sequestration Figures
The below table updates our estimates for sequestration amounts under the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which passed Congress on January 1. The bill, which delayed sequestration until March 1, moderately reduced the size of the cuts in the current fiscal year (FY 2013), but future year cuts remain intact. The below figures have been adjusted based on the Office of Management and Budget's recent final report on agency funding under sequestration, available via the White House website (PDF). These figures do not, however, incorporate any potential figures from the full-year appropriations bills being considered by Congress this week.
OMB Tells Agencies to Intensify Sequester Planning
In a memo (PDF) released last week, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) told federal agencies to “intensify” their efforts towards planning for the March 1 sequestration. The memo urges agencies to reduce civilian workforce costs, review grants, and take other steps to reduce outlays while minimizing impacts to core missions. Initially, nondefense agencies had been preparing for an 8.2% cut to discretionary spending. The American Taxpayer Relief Act, passed earlier this month, trims those cuts somewhat – closer to 6% of their annual budget, roughly speaking – but also fits them into a smaller timeframe.
New OECD Data Show U.S. Research Intensity Slipped in 2011
Last week the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released updated science and technology indicator data. According to the data, U.S. research intensity – the measure of R&D expenditures as a share of the economy – fell to 2.77% in 2011, from 2.83% in 2010 and 2.91% in 2009. The U.S. was in 8th place in 2010, and will likely slide to 9th place in the 2011 data, pending additional reporting from other countries.
Tax Deal Leaves Spending Question On the Table
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 – passed on the first day of 2013 by a 257-167 vote in the House, after passing by an 89-8 vote in the Senate – makes substantial changes to the tax code, and likely lets the country avoid recession, but it does not address the fundamental question for research funding: how to avoid the across-the-board sequestration in the long-term. Thus, it is essentially a first step towards a more comprehensive fiscal fix, making some progress but leaving the future of science funding in limbo.
The bill raises roughly $620 billion in new revenues and will save more than $100 billion in federal interest payments, according to OMB. Instead of tackling the sequestration question head-on, it delays the cuts until March 1. It also reduces the cuts in FY 2013 by $24 billion, which means the total spending amount to be sequestered on March 1 stands at $85 billion rather than the original $109 billion in the current fiscal year; future years would remain at the higher figure. In exchange for this marginal reduction in sequestration, Congress agreed to cut base discretionary spending by $12 billion over the next two years: by $4 billion in FY 2013, and $8 billion in FY 2014. These cuts are to be distributed evenly between defense and nondefense accounts, and would effectively keep base spending flat at 2012 levels (contra the current Continuing Resolution, which provided a minor increase). The advantage, however, is that the Administration and Congress will have discretion in allocating this new round of cuts, rather than the across-the-board approach taken by the sequester – which leaves open the possibility that they’ll prioritize science and innovation funding.
While the tax portion of the fiscal cliff appears to have been averted, the spending portion thus remains in nearly full effect, only with a new deadline. This means the weight of uncertainty remains in place for federal science agencies and research institutions that rely on federal funding – especially given that full-year base appropriations for FY 2013 remain to be determined by Congress. It may also mean a more difficult crunch this summer, as still-sizeable cuts are crammed into a shortened time period. OMB had issued guidance before the holidays on how agencies should plan for sequestration, and that planning will now apparently continue beyond January. What this all means for the FY 2014 budget release – due in just a month – is another open question.
Further, while the nation’s long-term fiscal trajectory will no doubt improve due to the deal, it remains unsustainable. Tough choices will still need to be made on the debt ceiling neither branch of government has come close to an operable plan to address entitlements, while there may yet be another round of revenues as part of the next deal, as the President has said. It remains to be seen how balanced the next phase of deficit reduction will be, and where science funding fits in.
OMB Issues Sequestration Guidance as Fiscal Cliff Talks Fall Apart
According to a report from Federal News Radio, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued guidance to federal agencies and employee unions about what to expect should the sequestration take effect in January as scheduled. According to the report, OMB officials don't expect a major change in daily operations, and aren't expecting to receive detailed plans on how individual agencies are handling the cuts until January. It appears agencies will likely implement a gradual phase-in of reductions rather than a sharp set of cuts, with the goal of hitting reduced budget targets by the fiscal year's end. OMB's guidance memo, available here (PDF), has been distributed to employees at several agencies, including Defense, NASA, and Commerce. It has also been reported that the current situation has led OMB to delay in providing agency guidance for the FY 2014 budget request. The communication from OMB comes amid the widely-reported challenges that have emerged during the fiscal cliff negotiations.
White House Releases Report on the U.S. Research Enterprise
The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology today released a new report assessing the challenges facing the U.S. research system. The report identifies two major trends that are shifting the research landscape: industry's increasing focus on R&D for short-term needs in the face of increased international competition; and the globalization of science and technology, marked by increased foreign investments in research capacity - particularly in Asia. These trends, PCAST argues, offer the U.S. the opportunity to renew its commitment to the research and innovation enterprise, with universities taking up a prominent role alongside industry. The report's broad recommendations touch on several areas. Some highlights:
Congressional Briefing On Sequestration This Wednesday, Nov. 12
In light of the coming spending reductions under sequestration, AAAS will hold a briefing in conjunction with the House R&D Caucus to explore what these cuts could mean for federally-funded research. The briefing will take place from noon to 1:30pm in 2212 Rayburn, and we'll be joined by experts from Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Pennsylvania.
New Brief: Impacts of Sequestration on Science Budgets
Sequestration — the large, automatic, across-the-board reductions in federal funding established in last year's debt ceiling deal — is set to take effect in January 2013. With more than $100 billion in total spending cuts annually, every year through 2021, sequestration will no doubt place major strains on federal funding of science, research, and innovation. They cuts also come at a time when federal R&D has already declined by 10 percent in real dollars since FY 2010, and other nations are ramping up their own investments in science.
In a new brief, we attempt to illuminate the size of these potential cuts by estimating budget impacts for the federal R&D enterprise in the first five years of sequestration, through 2017. We examine budgets for most key science agencies, and took a look at the funding ramifications by state. Depending on the assumptions one uses, science agencies could be looking at cuts anywhere from 7.6 percent to 17.5 percent of their R&D budgets. Read More.
Congress Passes Continuing Resolution, Funding Government Through March 2013
As expected, the Senate over the weekend passed legislation by a 62-30 vote to keep government funded and operating through March 2013, after the House had passed the same resolution on September 13 by a 329-91 vote. With a few exceptions, the continuing resolution (CR) grants a very small (0.62 percent) increase to federal appropriations across-the-board, to bring funding up to the $1.047 trillion spending level agreed to in last year's debt ceiling agreement. The resolution does grant an outsized increase for atomic weapons R&D activities at the Department of Energy, essentially meeting the President's request in this category, and provides an additional $100 million for domestic uranium enrichment R&D. Additionally, the resolution makes provisions to ensure the Joint Polar Satellite System and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system remain on their planned launch schedules. These changes bring annualized R&D funding levels up to $141.7 billion, a 0.8 percent or $1.2 billion increase above FY 2012 levels, according to our estimates, compared to an expected inflation rate of 1.7 percent. See the below PDF for a full summary of current appropriations.
It is worth remembering that the CR does not affect the looming sequestration, which could reduce federal R&D by over $12 billion next year should it go forward as planned in January. Negotiations over sequestration and the tax elements of the fiscal cliff continue, but as Congress is now in recess until after the election, an agreement is unlikely until the post-election lame duck period, at the earliest.
OMB Releases Sequestration Report
On Friday, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a detailed report (PDF) outlining the funding impacts of sequestration. According to the report, which had been mandated by Congress, defense programs would decline by 9.4 percent, while nondefense programs would decline by 8.2 percent (both figures refer to discretionary spending only). This would amount to roughly $12.3 billion in R&D cuts: $7.4 billion on the defense side, and $5.0 billion on the nondefense side.
Congress to Tackle Continuing Resolution as OMB Misses Report Deadline
As Congress returns from August recess this week, a key order of business will be to tackle the continuing resolution that would fund the government through March 2013. The resolution, if successfully passed and signed into law, would avoid a government shutdown when the fiscal year ends September 30. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced, and the White House endorsed, an agreement on such a resolution just before the recess. The agreement appears to temporarily settle a running dispute between the parties over total FY 2013 spending, as it is expected to adopt the $1.047 trillion spending level agreed upon in last year’s debt ceiling deal. This is in contrast with the House budget resolution, which capped overall spending at a somewhat lower level, and some in the House will likely object to the higher spending limit in the continuing resolution.
Meanwhile, the White House has missed their deadline for issuing a much-anticipated report on how sequestration would be implemented in FY 2013, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will instead issue the report by the end of this week, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. The report was mandated by the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, signed into law on August 7.
Senate Appropriations Committee Passes Defense Spending Bill
Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the FY 2013 Defense Appropriations bill, after the full House passed its own version two weeks ago. According to AAAS estimates, the bill would reduce DOD R&D by $1.9 billion or 2.5 percent below FY 2012 levels, nearly equal to the overall cut proposed by the Administration. By contrast, the House version would reduce overall DOD R&D by about half as much. Basic research across all military departments and agencies would be funded at $2.1 billion under the Senate bill, roughly the same as the House and the Administration proposals. The only divergence between the Senate Committee and the Administration in basic research funding is an additional $10 million from the Senate committee for the Navy's Defense Research Sciences program.
Applied research funding in the Senate bill is more generous than either the Administration or the House proposals. The overall Defense S&T budget would be virtually the same as that in the House. As in prior years, and mirroring the House, the Senate Committee has restored substantial funding to the Defense Health Research program, which the Administration had targeted for a nearly 46.9 percent cut. The Senate bill would not go quite as far as the House version: while the Committee would keep the program's R&D budget above $1 billion, the program would still be cut from FY 2012 levels by $240 million or 18.9 percent, whereas the House voted to keep program funding virtually flat.
The bill is unlikely to reach the Senate floor anytime soon, given the recent agreement by Congressional leaders to adopt a continuing resolution funding the government through the first few months of 2013. The FY 2013 Interior/Environment spending bill is now the lone R&D-heavy spending legislation yet to be taken up by the Senate Committee.
Congressional Leaders Announce Agreement to Fund Government Through March 2013
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced yesterday that they have reached an agreement on a continuing resolution to fund the government through March 2013, avoiding a shutdown prior to the election while the appropriations process grinds to a halt for the time being. Such an agreement became necessary after Reid and an aide working for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said neither chamber were likely to act on further spending bills before the election. The White House has praised the initial agreement in a statement.
The agreement appears to temporarily settle a running dispute between the parties over total FY 2013 spending. Last year's debt ceiling agreement established a discretionary spending cap of $1.047 trillion. While the Administration and Senate Democrats have abided by this agreed limit, the House GOP passed a budget resolution that capped overall spending at $1.028 trillion. The lower cap has drawn the ire of Democrats, and the White House has consistently promised to veto any spending bill that abides by the lower cap. The agreement will reportedly follow the higher spending level, adding an additional $4 billion in discretionary spending above FY 2012 levels, a less than one percent increase overall. The resolution itself will be drafted, revealed, and voted on after the August Congressional recess.
How Congress will allocate this increase remains to be seen, but in general the impacts on R&D spending will likely be uneven depending on the agency, since it merely extends FY 2012 funding levels. Some R&D funders, like NIH, were already slated for a flat budget in FY 2013 by Congress and the Administration, and so the continuing resolution would have little effect on funding. Some agencies or programs slated for moderate or large increases - like the National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security - will lose out on these increases for the time being, while programs apparently headed for cuts - like NASA's Planetary Science program or R&D at EPA - may dodge these reductions for now. Programs targeted for zeroing-out - such as NSF's political science research and climate change education programs or NIH's economics research, all targeted by the House - also should get a temporary reprieve. The plan is for the resolution to be free of policy riders.
What the continuing resolution will likely not do, however, is resolve the sequestration, though bipartisan negotiations along these lines continue. Congress has passed the Sequestration Transparency Act (PDF), which would require the Administration to provide details on the implementation of sequestration within 30 days. Previously, the President had objected to detailing the sequestration cuts saying that the cuts were unlikely to take effect. He hoped that the threat of the unknown would force Congress to replace the sequester with a bipartisan debt reduction deal. Meanwhile, the Office of Management and Budget has announced (PDF) they will begin consultations with federal agencies to begin planning for the cuts.
House Subcommittee Approves NIH Funding with Strings Attached
The House Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education approved the draft spending bill that provides funding for the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, and other agencies last week. While the bill keeps NIH funding flat from FY2012 levels, in accord with the President’s request, it would keep funding for the National Center for Translational Sciences flat at FY 2012 levels, rather than providing the 11 percent increases sought by the Administration. It offsets this cut with 0.3 percent increases in most other institutes, with some exceptions. However, it also attaches several strings to overall NIH funding. Notably, it requires 90 percent of NIH research funding to go towards extramural research, and 55 percent for basic research. It would also reduce the maximum salary researchers could receive from NIH grants by 8 percent, from $179,700 to $165,300 - the second reduction to the NIH salary cap in recent months - and it would forbid NIH from funding economic research. Outside NIH, the bill takes a few steps intended to reverse implementation of the healthcare reform bill: it would eliminate the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; rescind $150 million in funding to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund; and forbid any funding for patient-centered research. It is not clear when the bill will move to the House floor, as the appropriations process appears set to grind to a halt until after the election.
The Senate Appropriations Committee previously approved its Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) funding bill (S. 3295) in June. According to AAAS estimates, the NIH budget under the committee's mark, plus select mandatory funding and transfers, would amount to $31 billion, $99 million over the President's request in total funding. The President’s budget had proposed keeping NIH funding flat from FY 2012 levels; the increase thus represents a 0.3 percent increase above both the request and FY 2012. Virtually every individual institute within NIH would receive a 0.3 percent increase under the Senate bill.
3,000 Public Interest Organizations Ask Congress to Avert Indiscriminate Spending Cuts
In recent years, nondefense discretionary spending (NDD) – a budget category that includes virtually all federal spending outside of defense and entitlements, and virtually all nondefense R&D – has been a particular target for severe budget cuts, most notably in the FY 2013 House Budget Resolution. Last week, approximately 3,000 organizations from across the public interest spectrum – including AAAS – sent a letter to Congress asking for a responsible deficit reduction approach that does not include further cuts to NDD. Over the past few years, NDD programs for science, environment, health, transportation, education, housing, public safety, and other areas have been cut by an average of 10 percent. Last year’s Budget Control Act is expected to cut NDD spending by a further 7 percent over the next decade, and the looming across-the-board sequestration will cut into these programs even further. Several proposals have emerged that would shift the onus of sequestration entirely onto nondefense discretionary spending, which would have severe consequences for the nation’s research enterprise, as prior AAAS assessments have found. The letter asks Congress to achieve a balanced approach to cutting the deficit, without subjecting science and other nondefense programs to even deeper cuts than have already taken place.
Reid: No Appropriations Bills on the Senate Floor Anytime Soon
Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said the full Senate will not consider any spending bills before the November elections, a position that drew quick criticism from House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and would all but guarantee the necessity of continuing resolutions by October 1. At the core of the dispute is the long-running disagreement between the parties over how much spending should be allowed in FY 2013. Last year's debt ceiling agreement established a discretionary spending cap of $1.047 trillion. The Administration and Senate Democrats have since abided by this agreed limit, but earlier this year the House GOP passed a budget resolution that capped overall spending at $1.028 trillion. The lower cap has drawn the ire of Democrats, and the White House has consistently promised to veto any spending bill that abides by the lower cap. To date, nine of the 12 annual spending bills have passed the Senate Appropriations Committee (all but Defense, Interior/Environment, and Legislative Branch funding), which appears to be as far as they'll go for the time being. The full House has already passed five out of 12 bills.
House Passes Transportation/HUD Spending Bill
On Friday, the full House voted 261-163 to approve the FY 2013 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development spending bill. According to AAAS estimates, the Department of Transportation would receive approximately $1 billion for R&D funding in FY 2013 under the bill, an increase of $70 million or 7.4 percent above FY 2012 levels, though this would represent an $85 million or 7.7 percent reduction below the President's request. The Federal Highway Administration would receive most of the R&D boost sought by the Administration, reaching $494 million, 20.2 percent higher than in FY 2012. This is partially offset by a 6.1 percent or $22 million reduction in Federal Aviation Administration R&D. Elsewhere, the House Appropriations Committee signaled approval of the Administration's plan to move the Research and Innovative Technology Administration into the Office of the Secretary, but the House did not provide funding. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the Transportation/HUD bill on April 19, following similar contours as the House bill for the most part.
House Appropriations Committee Passes Interior/Environment Spending Bill
On Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee approved its FY 2013 Interior/Environment appropriations bill, which now awaits floor action. The bill includes R&D funding for the Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Forest Service, and would cut research at all three agencies significantly. According to AAAS estimates, the bill would fund R&D at the Department of Interior at approximately $740 million, which is $122 million, or 14.2 percent, below the President’s budget request and $56 million, or 7.1 percent, below FY 2012 levels. The United States Geological Survey (USGS), which conducts most research within Interior, would receive R&D funding of $622 million, which is $105 million, or 14.4 percent, below the President’s request and $54 million, or 8.0 percent, below FY 2012 levels. All other R&D programs within the Department of Interior are also funded below the President’s request with the exception of the Bureau of Reclamation, which is funded 1.8 percent above the request.
The House bill would reduce total funding for the EPA by 16.5 percent. On R&D-specific funding, the bill includes $517 million, $59 million or 10.2 percent below the President’s request and $51 million or 8.9 percent below the FY 2012 appropriation. The cut is almost entirely for EPA Science and Technology, which is reduced by $51 million, or 9.4 percent, to $493 million. The committee also passed several amendments to limit EPA's ability to regulate green house gases emissions and other toxins. One amendment, offered by Rep. Austria (R-OH) and approved 26-18, prohibits use of funds to set emissions standards for cars with a model year after 2017. Another amendment, offered by Rep. Loomis (R-WY) and approved 27-18, prohibits use of funds to set emissions standards for new fossil energy plants. Other amendments prohibit EPA from applying asbestos emissions standards for housing complexes with less than five units, and the committee report included language to restrict the scope of EPA research on the effects of hydraulic fracturing on water quality, so that the funds are not used to study environmental justice impacts.
The appropriations bill also includes funding for the Forest Service, a part of the Department of Agriculture. The bill funds R&D at the Forest Service at $281 million, a decrease of $49 million, or 14.9 percent, from the budget request and $53 million, or 15.9 percent, from FY 2012 levels. The committee report highlights concerns about the long terms costs of the Forest and Rangeland Research program, pointing out that the fixed costs of the program’s research stations exceed 90 percent of their budgets.
House Appropriations Committee Passes Agriculture Spending Bill
On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee approved its FY 2013 Agriculture funding bill (HR. 5973). According to AAAS estimates, the bill would provide approximately $1.9 billion for R&D at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), $88 million or 4.5 percent below the President's request and $118 million or 5.9 percent below FY 2012 levels. These numbers include the department's Biomass R&D Initiative, which is mandatory funding allocated in the Farm Bill; it received $40 million for FY 2012, but is up for reauthorization for FY 2013 in the current Farm Bill, and thus would not receive an appropriation in the regular spending bill.
Within USDA, the House Committee would reduce Agricultural Research Service R&D by $22 million or 2.2 percent below FY 2012 levels, and reduce National Institute of Food and Agriculture R&D by $91 million or 12.2 percent below FY 2012 ($51 million or 7.3 percent if leaving out the Biomass R&D program). However, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) would receive a boost of $12 million or 4.6 percent above current year funding. Most other sources of R&D funding at USDA would receive small cuts from FY 2012. The bill generally falls short of both the President's request and the current Senate version of the bill (S. 2375), which passed committee April 26 and awaits floor action. Outside USDA, the bill also provides funding for the Food and Drug Administration, where R&D would be cut slightly by $2 million or 0.9 percent from FY 2012, to $263 million.
OSTP and OMB Release FY 2014 R&D Priorities
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) have released their joint guidance memo detailing the Administration's priorities for R&D in FY 2014, following an earlier OMB memo that directed agencies to find additional 5 percent cuts in FY 2014 based on the appropriations outcomes from FY 2013. The OSTP/OMB memo encourages agencies to focus on ambitious "grand challenges" requiring major advances, and directs agencies to prioritize research investments over development activities. Specific priority areas include advanced manufacturing; clean energy; climate change; R&D for informed management and ecosystem sustainability; IT; nanotechnology; the biological sciences; STEM education; and innovation and commercialization.
House Passes FY 2013 Homeland Security Spending Bill
Yesterday, the House approved its FY 2013 Homeland Security appropriations bill on a 234 - 182 vote, leaving the ball in the Senate's court. No R&D-relevant funding changes were made on the House floor, and thus the numbers out of Committee stand. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate, the major source of R&D within the department, would be granted a $162 million or 30.4 percent increase above FY 2012 funding, in accord with the President's budget request. Additionally, the Defense Nuclear Detection Office, another key R&D funder at DHS, would receive a $35 million increase in R&D funding, nearly double FY 2012. Total DHS R&D would increase by $189 million, or 30.6 percent. These numbers are virtually the same as those that have emerged in the Senate version of the bill, which passed committee on May 22 and awaits floor action. See Chapter 11 of the AAAS FY 2013 R&D budget report for more on R&D at DHS (PDF).
AAAS Summary: House FY 2013 Homeland Security Bill
House Passes FY 2013 Energy and Water Bill
Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved its version of the FY 2013 Energy and Water spending bill, which mainly deals with Department of Energy (DOE) funding along with a handful of other agencies, on a 255-165 vote. According to AAAS estimates (PDF), the bill would provide approximately $11 billion for DOE R&D in FY 2013, essentially flat from FY 2012 and $856 million, or 7.2 percent, below the President's request. The funding mix will change somewhat: Atomic defense-related R&D would be increased by 8.4 percent, or $361 million, while Office of Science R&D would be cut by 1.6 percent, or $69 million. Overall R&D in the Department's energy technology programs would be slashed by 11.6 percent, or $264 million, though this is almost entirely due to funding cuts for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and low-carbon innovation. In very few cases would R&D funding in the House bill meet or exceed the President's request. Conversely, the Senate version of the bill, which was approved the Senate Appropriations Committee on April 26 and awaits floor action, grants several programs modest increases from FY 2012, getting somewhat closer to the President's request in many instances. Read more: AAAS Energy and Water summary.
AAAS Summary: House FY 2013 Energy and Water Bill (posted June 11)
House Passes Military Construction/Veterans Spending Bill
Yesterday, the House approved its FY 2013 Military Construction/Veterans appropriations bill (H.R. 5854) on a 407-12 vote. The bill meets the President's request to hold Department of Veterans Affairs R&D flat from FY 2012, at $1.2 billion in direct funding. None of the floor amendments change the topline R&D figures originally estimated from the Appropriations Committee bill, though one amendment (H. Amdt. 1158), introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and approved via voice vote, ensures that the VA dedicates at least $35 million to posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. R&D in the House bill also matches the Senate's version, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 22 and awaits action on the Senate floor. See Chapter 12 of the AAAS FY 2013 R&D budget report for more information on VA R&D (PDF).
OMB Releases FY 2014 Budget Guidance, Calls for Continued Cuts
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Jeffrey Zients sent a memo to department and agency heads late Friday, May 18 providing guidance on the preparation of the FY 2014 budget. The memo focuses squarely on controlling spending in light of the constraints set by the Budget Control Act of 2011, and asks agencies to cut lower-priority spending to allow for continued investment in "areas critical to economic growth and job creation, including education, innovation, infrastructure, and research and development." The guidance memo directs agencies to cut their bottom-line FY 2014 requests by 5 percent below the net discretionary spending levels appropriated for FY 2013. The memo also directs agencies to exclude the across-the-board sequestration from their requests.
In a second appended memo, OMB spotlights the importance of evidence for evaluation, cost-benefit analysis, budgeting, and policymaking. The memo asks agencies to demonstrate such approaches in their requests, and says there will be some funding available for initiatives that seek improved use of evidence or expanded evaluative capacity, including in the area of grant-making. The memo also highlights the Office of Science and Technology Policy's Science of Science Policy working group as one such entity seeking to apply evidence-based principles.
House Appropriations Committee Approves Homeland Security, Military Construction/Veterans Legislation
Yesterday, the full House Appropriations Committee approved spending bills for the departments of Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs, as well as funding for military construction. The Homeland Security bill cuts DHS funding by $484 million below FY 2012 levels and $393 million below the President's request, according to the committee. However, AAAS estimates that R&D at DHS would actually increase by 27 percent above FY 2012 levels under the House bill (PDF), mainly because the House committee granted nearly all of the funding increase sought by the Administration for the DHS Science & Technology Directorate, which is the primary funder of R&D at DHS. Specifically, the S&T Directorate's total budget would increase by 24 percent or $158 million above FY 2012 levels to $826 million under the House bill, essentially equal to the level sought by the Administration. See Chapter 11 of the AAAS FY 2013 R&D budget report for more on DHS (PDF).
The Military Constructions/Veterans bill contains $71.7 billion in discretionary funding, even with the FY 2012 appropriation, according to the committee. Within the VA, the committee keeps Medical and Prosthetics Research even with the Administration's request and slightly above FY 2012 levels, though a slight decline in Medical Services could yield a very small decline in total R&D funding at VA for FY 2013, according to the preliminary AAAS estimate. See Chapter 12 of the AAAS FY 2013 R&D budget report for more on the VA(PDF).
House Passes CJS Bill
Last week, the House of Representatives approved its version of the FY 2013 Commerce, Justice, Science spending bill – the first of the year – on a 247-163 vote. The bill, which covers funding for NSF, NASA, NOAA, NIST, and other agencies, is more generous in many areas than might have been expected, though R&D at most agencies would fall somewhat short of the President’s request. NSF R&D would receive a $221 million or 3.9 percent boost over FY 2012 levels, slightly less than the President’s request. The House also defeated a proposed floor amendment to further reduce NSF funding by more than $1 billion, though two amendments prohibiting funding for the Climate Change Education Program ($10 million) and for political science research at NSF ($11 million) both passed.
Like NSF, NASA R&D would receive a boost above FY 2012 levels, of 1 percent or $91 million, with cuts to space exploration more than offset by increases elsewhere. The largest increase in dollar terms was reserved for science, where the House notably provided planetary science with more than $200 million more than the request, in an attempt to offset the major cuts the Administration is seeking. Many of the increases the Administration has sought for R&D at the Department of Commerce also appear to be largely holding up. The National Institute of Standards and Technology would receive a substantial R&D boost of nearly 14 percent, while the NOAA increase comes in spite of the fact that the overall NOAA budget would be largely flat. According to the Administration’s figures, increases in NOAA’s requested FY 2013 R&D funding substantially outpaced its overall budget request. Elsewhere, the House passed amendments to end the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and to potentially allow federal agencies to purchase alternative fuels with higher emissions profiles than regular gasoline. The CJS bill now awaits floor action in the Senate, where a version has already been approved in committee.
National Science Foundation Funding Table
House, Senate Continue Appropriations Activities on Science, Energy, Ag
Last week, the full House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved spending bills impacting the budgets for several federal agencies. Both committees passed their respective Energy and Water appropriations bills, which provide funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Bureau of Reclamation, among other agencies. As previously reported, the House would trim the DOE Office of Science budget and keep funding for fossil and nuclear energy, while making more substantial cuts to effiency, renewables, and ARPA-E. The Senate version, as expected, is more generous on renewables, efficiency, ARPA-E, and the Office of Science than the House, though would not fund any of these agencies at the levels requested by the Administration; it would also substantially cut fossil energy R&D.
The Senate Appropriations Committee also approved the Agriculture spending bill, which would provide a small increase to USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, and a 3% increase to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, matching the President’s request. The bill would also boost the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) by 13%, though short of the 23% increase requested by the Administration. Lastly, the House Appropriations Committee approved the Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill, which provides funding for NASA, NSF, and the Department of Commerce. As previously reported, the bill would provide boosts to NIST, NSF, and NOAA, while trimming the NASA budget; it would also seek to restore some of the cuts to planetary science proposed by the Administration.
The House Appropriations Committee also approved its 302(b) allocations for FY 2013, which set the appropriations framework for the subcommittees. As expected, the Committee approved a total discretionary budget of $1.029 trillion, $19 billion below the spending level agreed to in the Budget Control Act and proposed by the Administration and the Senate. The lower House levels continue to set up a conflict with the President, who has said he would veto any bills that don’t abide by the higher spending level agreed to by both parties last year.
OMB: No Sequestration for Veterans Affairs
As expected, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has confirmed that the Department of Veterans Affairs would be exempt from the across-the-board cuts of between 8 and 10% scheduled to take effect under the sequestration in January 2013. VA was always intended to be excluded from these cuts, but some ambiguities in the statute language had led to concerns that it would have to shoulder some of the burden. VA has a $1.2 billion research budget for health and prosthetics R&D. However, even though VA would be exempt from direct cuts, it could still feel the effects of sequestration indirectly, as it receives an additional $500 million each year from other federal agencies for R&D.
Separately, OMB last week told the House Budget Committee that it is not yet developing contingency plans for the sequestration.
Senate Appropriations Committee Adopts Spending Limits While Markups Commence
Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee adopted their subcommittee spending limits, known as "302(b) allocations" in Congressional parlance. The spending limits set the appropriations framework for the appropriations subcommittees, and are normally based on the levels established in the budget resolution, though the Senate appears unlikely to pass the resolution at this time (for a brief primer on how this process works, see this Congressional Research Service report [PDF] from 2003). The committee accepted a total discretionary budget of $1.047 trillion, matching the discretionary spending cap established in last year's Budget Control Act, and $19 billion higher than the limit established by the House budget. It is not yet clear when the House Appropriations Committee will establish its own 302(b) allocations.
Meanwhile, Senate and House appropriators have also begun the process of marking up separate spending bills related to the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Departments of Commerce, Energy, and Transportation, among other agencies. Amid fears of major cuts in a tough fiscal environment, NSF, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and NASA appear to be fairing well initially in both chambers. Among other items, the Senate committee proposes moving key satellite programs from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to NASA; the House bill does not. Elsewhere, the House has proposed flat funding for the Department of Energy Office of Science, but substantial cuts of 20 percent or more for ARPA-E and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Visit the links below for more.
New Brief: Potential Impacts of the House Budget on Federal R&D
The recently passed House budget resolution would reduce discretionary spending dramatically, and many are concerned about the potential impacts of these cuts on federal R&D, especially in light of the looming across-the-board cuts known as the sequestration; yet it has not been clear exactly what the impacts might be. To try to answer this question, we've produced an estimate that gets at some actual dollar figures and percentage changes, organized by R&D category. The estimate is based on House (PDF) and Administration (PDF) spending proposals, analyses of the automatic spending cuts in the Budget Control Act, and current R&D spending patterns, and additionally relies on a couple reasonable assumptions.
What have we found? In short, the impacts of the House budget on the federal research enterprise could be substantial, especially when coupled with the sequester. The budget could reduce total baseline spending in key budget accounts by 15 percent below the President's budget request, amounting to a three percent cut in total R&D from FY 2012 and a five percent cut in nondefense R&D, without accounting for the sequestration. Factoring in these additional cuts, the House budget could yield reductions in total R&D of up to 12 percent below the current year, with nondefense R&D receiving a disproportionate share of the cuts. Over the next decade, the House budget could reduce nondefense R&D by up to 27 percent, or $161 billion, below the President's request. Read more.
House Budget Committee Releases FY 2013 Budget
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has unveiled the GOP's proposed FY 2013 budget, which if passed would serve as a budget blueprint for the House. Ryan proposes an overall discretionary spending limit of $1.028 trillion in FY 2013 - $19 billion below the spending caps established in the Budget Control Act, but $97 billion above the reduced spending levels sought by some in the House. Even as the budget proposes an overall spending decline, it would seek to increase defense spending to $554 billion, $8 billion above the FY 2013 cap. Over the next ten years, the budget would lead to $352 billion less in discretionary spending than the President's budget. How R&D would fare in all this remains to be determined by appropriators.
Research and Development in the President's Budget
According to AAAS analysis of data from the Office of Management and Budget and individual agencies, federal R&D investment would rise to $142.2 billion under the President's FY 2013 budget request. This would represent $1.7 billion increase, or 1.2%, above FY 2012 estimated funding levels, though less than the expected rate of inflation. Further, in constant dollars, the President's budget would leave federal R&D expenditures approximately 10% below the peak achieved in FY 2010.
The overall increase would largely be driven by gains in nondefense R&D, as defense R&D would decline by $1.5 billion, or 1.9%. Both basic and, especially, applied research would receive increases above FY 2012 levels, while development activities would be reduced by 1.7%; all three trends would represent a continuation of changes seen last year. Weapons development at the Department of Defense would continue to receive cuts, as would research.
In the nondefense realm, R&D at several agencies that fared well in last year's budget cycle - including the Department of Energy, NASA, NIST, and the National Science Foundation - would again receive increases under the President's budget to varying degrees. Conversely, NIH funding would fail to keep up with inflation for the second year in a row. The Department of Agriculture is subject to a mixed picture, with a flat overall R&D budget but increases in some key research-oriented offices and initiatives. See the below tables for further agency details.
Looking ahead to Congressional action, the funding picture remains murky. While many research agencies no doubt remain generally popular with appropriators, several specific components of the President's budget have been criticized for being too generous, or not generous enough. The constrained budget environment will likely force difficult funding choices, and appropriators will be keen to push agencies to explore efficiencies, eliminate waste and duplication, and find ways to further reduce spending.
Please note: the below data represent current estimates, and may undergo minor revision.
The President's FY 2013 Budget Released
The Administration has released its FY 2013 budget request. The main budget documents are available here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget. Visit agency budget pages (links provided in the schedule section below) for more detailed agency proposals.
The budget projects a $1.33 trillion deficit for 2012, but a $900 billion deficit for 2013. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Administration is pledging roughly $141 billion for R&D overall. Defense research activities would experience continued cuts compared to FY 2012, while non-defense R&D would actually increase by 5% according to OMB. Other items of interest emerging early from the FY 2013 request:
We'll post further updates and analyses as they come available.
Agency Budget Briefing Schedule FY 2013Schedule information will be added as it becomes available. Check back frequently for updates.
Office of Science and Technology Policy
National Science Foundation
Department of Energy - NOTE NEW TIME
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Agriculture
Department of Defense
U.S. Geological Survey
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Administration Delays FY 2013 Budget Release by One Week
Earlier this week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) notified reporters that the President's proposed budget would be released on Monday, Feb. 13, one week after the Feb. 6 date required by law. The reason for the delay is not yet clear, but according to one unnamed source, the delay is to allow the Administration to "finalize technical and programmatic decisions" related to the budget. The release of last year's budget was also delayed by one week. Both the Chairman of the House Budget Committee and the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee have criticized the decision.
About the R&D Budget and Policy Program
Since 1976, the R&D Budget and Policy Program has been providing timely, comprehensive, and independent analyses of R&D funding trends in the federal budget as a service to the science, engineering and policymaking communities.
Through its Web site and email list, the Program makes available continually updated coverage of R&D funding trends, ongoing budget debates in Congress and the Executive Branch, and potential impacts of budget legislation. The Web site also offers a guide to R&D funding data as well as downloadable copies of its printed reports.
Every spring, the Program hosts the annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy (formerly the AAAS Colloquium), the nation's premier conference devoted to S&T policy. The next Forum will be held May 13 - 14, 2010, in Washington, DC.