Center of Science, Policy and Society Programs: R&D Budget and Policy Program
R&D Budget and Policy Program
Status of Appropriations
Current Summary Table: AAAS Estimates of Congressional Action on R&D by Agency (as of August 6, 2013)
Funding Provisions in the Democrats' America COMPETES Proposal
Democrats on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee recently released a discussion draft of the 2013 America COMPETES Act reauthorization (also see an interview by Science Insider with Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, the ranking committee member). Congress has passed the America COMPETES Act twice before, in 2007 and 2010, with the goal of boosting American innovation. The first time around, the legislation was a result of growing interest and concerns over competitiveness, following the National Academies' Rising Above the Gathering Storm report and President Bush's American Competitiveness Initiative (see this 2009 Congressional Research Service report on the first COMPETES Act for in-depth background). While the 2007 version enjoyed strong support, the 2010 reauthorization was a bit more contentious. Congress is now due to again reauthorize the legislation, and the latest round could be the most contentious yet.
The bill is intended to achieve many things, but one important element of COMPETES has been funding authorizations for some key R&D agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy's Office of Science (DOE SC), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) within the Department of Commerce. Authorizations do not provide actual funding, but they do provide targets for appropriators. Over the past two iterations of COMPETES, those funding targets have become less ambitious as fiscal challenges and partisan polarization has grown (see below chart).
Click to enlarge.
Even as the spending targets between the 2007 and 2010 bills were lowered, actual appropriations slipped even further, as shown below (note the below charts includes the three agencies mentioned above plus ARPA-E, which is also included in the funding authorizations but did not exist as an agency prior to 2009). Over the three-year period the 2010 COMPETES authorizations were in effect, appropriations for these four agencies fell a combined $6.0 billion below the targets. Sequestration probably accounted for somewhat less than $1 billion of this total.
Click to enlarge.
Lastly, we can also see how the Democratic budget numbers stack up against GDP growth (see below; GDP figures and projections come from OMB). Federal R&D as a share of GDP has been declining for decades, and what's interesting here is that the Democratic proposal — unrealistic though it may be in these times of shutdown and sequester — is actually what may be necessary just to keep agency budgets steady as a share of the economy. The downward trend for R&D under the post-sequester spending caps is unsurprising, given CBO's conclusion that nondefense discretionary spending will be pushed to historical lows if the caps remain in place.
Shutdown Ended, Debt Ceiling Avoided as Next Round of Negotiations Await
Late last night the House of Representatives approved the deal, passed by the Senate earlier in the day, to end the shutdown and avoid a breach in the debt ceiling. The deal establishes a continuing resolution (CR) to keep government open until January 15, and raises the debt ceiling until February 7. Over that three-month period, the CR extends funding at FY 2013 levels totaling $986 billion. The bill also will finally lead to a budget conference committee, made up of Democrats and Republicans, which will endeavor to work out a broader budget deal and reconcile the major differences between the House- and Senate-passed budgets from earlier in the year. The conference committee's job will not be easy given these differences (see analyses from the Bipartisan Policy Center on the House and Senate budgets for more), and failure could mean another shutdown come January.
Other language, carried over from previous CR proposals, would ensure NOAA has the funds to keep the Joint Polar Satellite System and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system on schedule. Additionally, authority for the Department of Homeland Security to enter R&D agreements with external nontraditional partners would be extended, and funding is provided for the public health emergency-oriented Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.
For science funding, of course, one big question is still the overall level of discretionary spending in FY 2014. As we've explained elsewhere, while the CR extends FY 2013 funding levels temporarily, funding in FY 2014 must eventually come down by another 2 percent or so (primarily via cuts on the defense spending side), to arrive at the $967 billion post-sequester spending cap put in place by the Budget Control Act. The House has embraced this funding level, while Senate has adopted the pre-sequester funding level, about $91 billion higher. Because of this gap — with the House about nine percent below the Senate — R&D appropriations outcomes have been strikingly divergent (see our review for more).
Grappling with this discretionary spending limit will be an important element of the negotiations. Leaving discretionary spending capped where it is will likely drive that part of the budget to historical lows, per CBO; and since R&D tends to be a steady share of discretionary spending, it stands to reason that the current caps will also drive federal R&D to an all-time low as a share of the economy. Democrats and some Republicans want at least a partial rollback of the sequester cuts, but to take such a step will likely require some concessions on both sides. Some additional links:
Shutdown Enters Week 2: Roundup
With the shutdown now more than a week old, little has apparently changed in the House GOP position. While there had been some signs of a loosening position, in weekend interviews Speaker Boehner (R-OH) continued to warn that the country would risk default – thereby plunging into recession – if Democrats and the White House continue to refuse to give in to Republican demands. The GOP position has recently been attacked by business leaders, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Typically a Republican ally, the business organization has said they will defend Republicans who vote to end the shutdown and avoid default from conservative primary challenges.
Dissent has also emerged within the Speaker’s own party, to the extent that an apparent majority of the House of Representatives – including 195 Democrats and 22 moderate Republicans – now seems to favor a “clean” continuing resolution that would end the shutdown with no Obamacare-related strings attached. Meanwhile, Democrats are preparing a legislative strategy of their own, employing a previously-introduced bill that could serve as a vehicle to end the shutdown in the next week, though uncertainty is high. Some highlights in coverage from around the web:
Shutdown Appears Imminent, Barring Last-Minute Fix
Late last week the Senate, as expected, passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund government through November 15, stripping House language to defund health care reform in the process. But over the weekend the House passed another CR to delay health reform; the CR now moves back to the Senate for reconsideration. There is certainly still time for all involved parties to reach an agreement that keeps government agencies in operation, but that time is now measured in hours rather than days. Should the two chambers fail to reach an agreeable solution, the federal government will shut down at midnight, the start of the new fiscal year.
Annual appropriations typically extend to the end of the fiscal year, September 30, and normally Congress puts new appropriations in place to take effect starting October 1. A shutdown simply means that previously-appropriated budget authority has expired, and Congress has failed to provide new authority for the new fiscal year (which is what this summer's appropriations cycle should have resulted in), and so programs and employees that take their funding from this annual cycle are furloughed or cease operations.
A number of programs and employees are exempt from this disruption in funding. For instance, some agencies are funded through user fees or mandatory funding streams, which are not subjected to the annual appropriations cycle. A substantial portion of the work at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services falls into this category and will continue; ironically, much of this work is in support of health reform activities under the Affordable Care Act. Other employees and programs may be exempt in order to ensure the safety of human life or protection of property; this would include select NASA activities in support of the International Space Station (to protect the astronauts aboard) and other satellite missions currently in the operation phase (to protect the satellites and associated data as government property). Still others could receive an exemption to ensure an orderly shutdown of certain non-exempt activities.
Unfortunately for the federal science enterprise, the vast majority of staff and programs are in the "non-exempt" category, meaning they're directly affected by the expiration of budget authority. This doesn't necessarily mean all government-funded R&D will cease, however, as extramural researchers who do not require immediate intervention or oversight from civil servants, or are not waiting on disbursal of actual funding, may continue their work. It's a different story for most intramural research activities, of course, though select data management and infrastructure sustenance activities may also be exempt.
The White House Office of Management and Budget has collected most current agency contingency plans here, and direct links to a few key R&D agency plans are below.
House Passes First Attempt at Continuing Resolution
Today the U.S. House passed a continuing resolution (CR) to continue funding government at FY 2013 levels through December 15. The CR, which passed by a party-line 230-189 vote, would defund the President's health reform efforts. The Senate is likely to pass its own version of the CR that prevents this defunding, and the Senate version would then have to go back to the House for further consideration. It's not clear how the House would proceed at that point, though continued negotiations are likely. Failure to pass a CR would lead to a government shutdown October 1, the end of the fiscal year. As is typical, the CR prevents any new projects from being initiated by federal agencies that didn't receive funding for the project in FY 2013. Science-relevant provisions include language to keep NOAA's Joint Polar Satellite System and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system on their respective project schedules, and language to allow the transfer of funds to support the Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which deals with public health emergencies in the case of emerging diseases and pandemics.
CBO: Underlying Deficit Drivers Haven't Been Addressed
This week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its latest long-term budget outlook. According to CBO, a recovering economy and recent spending and tax policy changes will stabilize publicly-held federal debt for the next several years. Currently, the debt sits at an elevated 73 percent of GDP; CBO predicts this will decline to 71 percent of GDP in 2023, and resume growth until it hits 100 percent of GDP in 2038. The report makes an important point about what's driving federal deficits that runs counter to the logic behind sequestration. Two charts make this point.
Most important for R&D is the changing mix of spending that makes up the federal budget. R&D lives in the discretionary budget, and is a relatively static slice of that budget, around 11 or 12 percent of discretionary spending since the 1980s. For decades, overall discretionary spending has been declining as a share of the overall federal budget with the rise of mandatory spending (a.k.a. entitlements). Trends like that are what lead to trends like these, in which federal R&D is declining as a share of the total budget and of the economy.
According to CBO, discretionary spending will drop to 5.3 percent of GDP by 2023 (chart at right, from page 58 of the report). Compare this future spending level with a 40-year average for discretionary spending of 8.4 percent of GDP (though it's been mostly declining for years, as this chart shows). The clear drop we can see in the chart is due to the spending caps put in place by the Budget Control Act; under these caps, after the sharp cuts happening now due to sequestration, spending basically increases from post-sequester levels at the rate of inflation, plus a little bit more. This means the pool of federal funding from which R&D is drawn will be deeply constrained under historically low levels for the next decade, barring a change to current law.
Yet while this is happening to the discretionary budget, the mandatory budget will continue growing, since sequestration leaves this part of the budget mostly untouched. Most of the mandatory budget is shown in the second chart, below. The largest components of the mandatory budget are Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The chart also includes net interest (the "other noninterest spending" line includes both the discretionary and "other mandatory" spending categories, same as the above chart).
Bear in mind, overall spending is still expected to shoot well past historical averages by 2038, even with historically constrained discretionary spending. Comparing the trajectory of the mandatory programs — especially the health-related entitlements — with the trajectory of discretionary spending above makes pretty clear what's really driving the long-term fiscal challenge on the spending side. This is part of the reason sequestration has been bludgeoned as an idea: it doesn't actually effect the parts of the budget that are causing the biggest problems, and instead attacks things like R&D that have much larger returns on investment, and can even increase future revenues by contributing to future growth.
Where are revenues in all this? According to CBO, revenues as a share of GDP will rise a couple percentage points above the historical average in the next decade and stay there, reaching 19.7 percent of GDP in 2038 (compared to federal spending of 26.2 percent). This is a structural shortfall in revenues versus spending that has existed for many decades, and will continue to grow, unless Congress can bring revenues and expenditures in line (and they have rarely been able to do that).
These various criss-crossing trends are what will lead to continuing difficulties in national fiscal politics, and continuing constraints on the federal R&D budget. To counteract these constraints, R&D could grow as a share of the discretionary budget, or the discretionary budget could grow as a share of the overall budget, or both. To achieve the latter, mandatory spending will likely need to be brought under control, though due to the nature of entitlements and their place in the political system, there's only so much deficit reduction we could (and, perhaps, should) expect from these programs, and so additional revenues will also be necessary. This logic is what's behind the balanced deficit plans proposed by the Domenici-Rivlin and Bowles-Simpson task forces, and shared by a great many observers. This is what it will take to get the debt under control, though with an often-heard caveat that some of these steps shouldn't kick in until after the economy has moved further into recovery.
Short of this kind of broad thinking from political actors in the budget process, federal R&D will likely continue its long-term stagnation within the federal budget and the economy.
FY 2014 Appropriations So Far: A Roundup
With the Congressional session resuming next week, we’ve put together an overview of where appropriations stand so far, with an agency-by-agency summary for the largest federal R&D funders including a full set of charts and graphs. The full recap can be downloaded here (PDF). Early on in the appropriations cycle, the House targeted a few areas in particular for cuts or constraints, among them low-carbon energy and natural resources. At the same time, other areas like defense and agriculture would be spared deeper cuts. So far, this approach has been borne out in R&D funding. With the Senate continuing to ignore sequestration, the appropriations process has resulted in some areas of agreement, but other areas of clear divergence. Read More.Click to enlarge. Figures are adjusted for inflation.
OSTP and OMB Release FY 2015 R&D Priorities Memo
Last month the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) sent their annual budget preparation guidance memo on science and technology issues to the heads of executive branch departments and agencies. The memo describes the Administration's S&T priorities for agencies to incorporate in their preparation of the FY 2015 budget submissions, due to OMB later this year. OMB and OSTP encourage agencies to identify and pursue "Grand Challenges," described as "ambitious goals that require advances in science, technology and innovation to achieve, and to support high-risk, high-return research." Many of the listed priorities echo those seen in prior years, and include:
The memo also highlights the general need to improve federal support for innovation and commercialization of emerging technologies, with an eye towards small business and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Lastly, the memo prioritizes the need for R&D investment to improve decision-making throughout the mission agencies.
Research Funding in the Current FY 2014 Interior & Environment Bills
Last week, environment and natural resources R&D became a subject of conversation as both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees either introduced or marked up their respective FY14 Interior & Environment appropriations bills before heading into the August recess. In the House, the full Committee began marking up its Interior bill July 31 following subcommittee approval the week prior, though the full Committee did not finish the task. The Senate Committee unveiled its own bill August 1, though the relevant subcommittee has yet to take it up; it is the final bill the Senate Committee has on its docket, while the House Committee only has the Labor/HHS/Education bill left.
As in other areas, the bills are notable for their marked divergence, with the House version stirring significant controversy. This divergence was expected, as environmental spending was one of the main areas targeted for cuts by the House majority. The Department of the Interior (DOI), which includes the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), would receive $792 million in R&D in the House and $893 million in the Senate, compared to a request of $963 million. Before inflation, the House figure would represent a 3.3 percent cut below FY 2012 levels, and a 3.0 percent gain above FY13 post-sequester estimates; however, USGS would fall 1.9 percent below even sequester levels, and 17.1 percent short of the request, according to current estimates. While the Senate DOI figure is 7.2 percent below the request, it is nevertheless 9.0 percent above FY 2012 levels and a full 16.2 percent above sequester levels, with USGS gaining 9.7 percent above sequester estimates before inflation (see PDF).
While DOI’s main research endeavors would face moderate cuts under the House bill, much larger relative cuts would await the other major science agency in the bill, EPA. According to current estimates (PDF), EPA R&D under the House bill would decline by 19.0 percent below FY 2012 levels and 13.5 percent below FY 2013 post-sequester estimates. The Senate bill would essentially match the Administration’s request for EPA R&D, holding roughly steady at FY 2012 levels.
Lastly, R&D at the Forest Service, which is funded through the Interior bill but housed at USDA, would be cut nearly in half in the House bill, while the Senate bill would again match the request and provide a 4.7 percent above FY 2012 levels (PDF).
As always, it remains to be seen which, if any, of these funding outcomes will hold in the final summation, given the ongoing uncertainty over discretionary spending and sequestration.
Tables: Congressional Action on R&D in the Interior & Environment Bill
Senate Committee Approves FY 2014 Defense Spending Bill
On Wednesday, August 1, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2014 Defense appropriations bill on a 22-8 vote. For Department of Defense (DOD) R&D, the bill somewhat follows the contours of the version that passed the House July 24, in that it would make fairly minimal changes to the President's request for basic and applied research and early-stage technology development and prototypes, and reserve deeper cuts for downstream technology development in the 6.4 to 6.7 accounts under the DOD classification system.
According to AAAS estimates, the bill would provide $68.6 billion for R&D at the Department of Defense (DOD), compared to $69.3 billion in the House bill and a request of $69.6 billion; the Senate bill is 2.3 percent below the request and 8.3 percent below FY 2012 levels, and would about keep pace with FY 2013 R&D post-sequester. Basic and applied research would increase only slightly ahead of the request; the Senate would also follow the House in nearly doubling medical research funding, including assorted peer-review programs, within the Defense Health Program, restoring deep cuts proposed by the Administration.
The Defense bill is also the 11th appropriations bill to make it out of committee in the Senate this year, with the proposed Interior & Environment bill the lone remaining legislation. However, as with every other spending bill, it remains to be seen whether any numbers passed by either chamber will stand up, given the uncertainty surrounding appropriations this year.
Tables: Congressional Action on DOD R&D
House Leadership Pulls Transportation Bill, Citing Lack of Support
In a surprise move yesterday, the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill for FY 2014 was pulled from consideration on the House floor by House GOP leadership, due to a lack of votes for passage. The move is seen by some as a sign of wavering Republican support for lower sequestration-level spending. In a statement, Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers himself said, "I believe that the House has made its choice: Sequestration — and its unrealistic and ill-conceived discretionary cuts — must be brought to an end." The Senate version of the bill is currently under consideration on the Senate floor.
The move comes as both parties are gearing up for another showdown on deficits and spending to avoid a government shutdown on October 1, the start of a new fiscal year. While a long-term deal still appears remote, a short-term deal that rolls back at least a portion of sequestration in the next year or two still seems possible, though negotiations so far have yielded little. It's not clear how likely a shutdown actually is at this point, as even if Congress and the White House are unable to come up with a workable deal, they would still have the option of agreeing to a short-term continuing resolution to buy additional time, though again the duration and spending levels would remain to be determined.
UPDATE: Following the House activities, Senate Republicans have now successfully filibustered the Senate version of the Transportation bill, meaning that neither chamber will act on the bill before recess next week. The Senate bill was about $10 billion higher than the House bill.
House Approves FY 2014 Defense Appropriations
Yesterday, the House approved the FY 2014 Defense appropriations bill (H.R. 2397) on a 315-109 vote. As previously reported, the $513 billion bill comes in roughly $15 billion above the $498 billion cap for discetionary defense spending set forth by the Budget Control Act; the cap also includes defense activities within the Department of Energy, which is an additional $17 billion or above the cap but not included in the Defense bill. The bill advances the broader House strategy to shift spending from nondefense to defense activities.
In terms of R&D, the House bill would provide $69.3 billion for R&D at the Department of Defense (DOD), 0.4 below the request, 1.9 percent above FY 2013 post-sequester estimates, and 6.9 percent below FY 2012 (not accounting for inflation). Basic and applied research funding would rise to $6.8 billion, 0.9 percent above the request, with additional boosts for research at the Defense Health Program; downstream technology and weapons development activities would continue their sharp declines from recent years.
A handful of floor amendments would have a direct impact on DOD R&D activities. Most of these were incremental increases of $10 million or less for Defense Health Program research on prostate cancer, brain injury, and other areas, adding up to over $50 million. The Administration regularly targets the medical research program for significant cuts, and each year Congress restores them. This year's House bill is a renewal of that pattern, with medical research reaching $1.4 billion, $661 million above the request and near an all-time high. Additionally amendments were approved to stop DOD furloughs, and to provide $15 million for R&D on a domestic version of Israel's Iron Dome missile defense program.
In historical terms, the House bill would continue the recent decline in DOD R&D overall, though it would keep pace with inflation from current sequester levels and continue recent gains for Science & Technology budget, which includes basic and applied research, and the medical research program.
Tables: Congressional Action on DHS R&D
Senate on Same Page as House in FY 2014 Homeland Security Appropriations
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by a 21-9 vote on July 18. In a year of major differences in appropriations outcomes, the Senate DHS bill is notable for its similarities to the House version, passed June 6. The Senate version would provide $1.1 billion for DHS R&D, only $5 million less than the House version. Like the House version, the Senate bill would grant roughly half of the requested funding for construction of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), a BioSafety Level 4 site in Kansas. Apart from this, both committees have met the Administration's request for most R&D accounts.
In historical terms, the Senate and House bills would allow the DHS R&D budget to continue its recovery from major cuts in recent years. Total DHS R&D would reach its highest point since FY 2009, adjusting for inflation.
Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). As recapped in the House entry below, S&T has in recent years come under scrutiny, and cuts have prompted a shift in focus to more off-the-shelf technology solutions, while still maintaining some capacity in more disruptive innovation. In the Senate bill, S&T would receive $970 million for R&D, substantially above funding levels from the prior two years and nearly even with the House version, though short of the President’s request. The Committee expressed particular concern over DHS outreach to industry, and echoed concerns heard in the House over R&D management practices.
As mentioned above, NBAF construction would receive nearly half of the proposed funding — specifically, $404 million as opposed to a request of $714 million. The Committee also provided $29.3 million to upgrade the current Plum Island research facility on Long Island, which NBAF is set to replace. The Committee argues such upgrades are necessary to allow work at Plum Island to continue while awaiting NBAF completion, which will take years. The Committee also provided a slight boost to S&T university programs.
Lastly, the Committee effectively met the Administration's request for R&D at the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, only trimming a few hundred thousand dollars from each account. The Transformational R&D account receives $75 million in the Senate bill, $291,000 below the request.
House, Senate Committees Approve NSF, NASA, Commerce R&D Funding
Last week, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees passed their respective Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bills, which include funding for NASA and NSF, and Department of Commerce agencies NOAA and NIST. The House version passed by voice vote, while the Senate version (S. 1329) passed by a 21-9 vote. There was a roughly $5.5 billion difference in CJS spending in the parties’ adopted spending plans, and as a result, R&D funding in the House version is generally below the Senate version for most offices and accounts. As in other bills, this discrepancy is largely due to the fact that the Senate would roll spending back to pre-sequester levels in FY 2014, while the House would keep the sequestration cuts intact.
National Science Foundation (NSF). According to current AAAS estimates (PDF), NSF would receive $5.7 billion for R&D under the House version and $6.1 billion under the Senate version, compared to a budget request of $6.2 billion and FY 2013 sequester funding of $5.5 billion. While neither version would provide NSF funding equal to the request, the House version essentially provides an inflation adjustment from sequester spending plus a small additional amount. By contrast, the Senate version would leave NSF R&D at an all-time high.
NASA. According to current AAAS estimates (PDF), the House version would fund NASA R&D at $10.8 billion in FY 2014, while the Senate version would fund NASA R&D at $11.9 billion. The House version would represent modest gains above sequester levels but a shortfall from both FY 2012 pre-sequester spending and the request, while the Senate version would represent a substantial increase above sequester levels, and would surpass both FY 2012 and the request. The Space Technology and Exploration missions would tend to fare relatively better under both accounts – albeit with very different topline funding figures – while the Science missions would remain essentially flat at sequester levels in the House and return to pre-sequester levels in the Senate. Notably, both chambers would restore proposed cuts to the Planetary Science program. The Aeronautics mission would effectively return to pre-sequester funding levels under both bills.
Department of Commerce. Commerce houses two R&D agencies, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The same patterns for other agencies held steady here, with the House generally coming in below the Senate (PDF). One relative surprise was a moderate increase for NIST R&D above sequester levels in the House, though the committee declined to fund an Administration proposal for an industry-led manufacturing technology consortia program. The Senate provided the requested amount plus additional funding for this program.
Given the wildly different approaches to appropriations this year, it's not clear if or how some of these differences will be rectified in conference. Both bills await floor action in their respective chambers.
Tables: Congressional Action on CJS R&D
Senate Committee Nearly Meets Administration Request for NIH
On July 11, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY 2014 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill, which funds the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Department of Education, and other agencies with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), on a 16-14 vote. As in other Senate appropriations bills, the Senate bill proposes rolling back sequestration, funding NIH at $31.1 billion, including mandatory funding of $150 million for diabetes research. Not included in this total is a legislatively mandated annual transfer of funding from the Hazardous Substance Superfund program to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. This sum typically amounts to around $75 million, and would push the NIH total to $31.2 billion and R&D to roughly $30.3 billion.
FY 2014 R&D expenditures of $30.3 billion would represent a one percent increase above FY 2012 levels, a nearly $2 billion or 6.8 percent increase above FY 2013 post-sequester levels, and a $190 million or 0.6 percent shortfall from the request, not accounting for inflation. Factoring in an inflation rate of 4.0 percent between FY 2012 and FY 2014, the Senate figure would represent about a 2.9 percent decline in R&D funding from pre-sequester spending. It would also continue the long-term decline in NIH R&D funding, which peaked at $33.1 billion in FY 2003 and has declined by about 10.2 percent since.
However, such a funding level would likely only stand up if sequestration is replaced, given that the Senate is working from a discretionary spending limit $91 billion above that allowable by the post-sequester caps; the House appropriation for NIH also remains to be seen at the time of this writing. Without a revision to the post-sequester FY 2014 spending caps, the NIH research budget would likely remain closer to $28 billion, similar to last year.
Within NIH, the largest increase is reserved for the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, which would receive an $87 million or 15.1 percent boost above FY 2012 levels, largely due to a major increase for the Cures Acceleration Network. The National Institute for Aging would also receive a 5.8 percent boost above FY 2012 levels, in accord with the Administration’s plans to increase Alzheimer’s research funding. The Committee would also provide the $40 million requested by the Administration for the BRAIN Initiative. NIH had intended to eliminate the Science Education and Partnership program, shifting it instead to the Department of Education as part of the Administration’s STEM education reorganization, but the Committee directs NIH to continue funding the program in FY 2014 over concerns about the reorganization.
Elsewhere in HHS, the Committee provides a $540 million boost for discretionary spending at CDC above the President's request, and a $378 million or 5.7 percent increase for total program-level funding. The Committee provides $10 million as requested for gun violence research. Multiple research programs at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, including for health IT, patient safety, and investigator-initiated grants, would also receive increases.
Department of Education (ED). Notably, the Committee declines to provide funding for the Administration STEM education reorganization, dubbed the STEM Innovation initiative, and instead provides funding under the existing appropriations structure. The two primary R&D funders within ED include the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The Committee granted discretionary programs within OSERS' rehab and disability research programs a $42.6 million or 12 percent boost above the President's request. IES received an $18.1 million or 2.7 percent reduction below the request, with the reductions scattered throughout most institute programs except for special education research and evaluation.
Tables: Congressional Action on R&D at HHS | NIH
House Passes FY 2014 Energy & Water Bill Over Veto Threat
The House of Representatives Wednesday passed its FY 2014 Energy & Water bill, funding the Department of Energy (DOE) and other agencies, with limited modifications to the version passed by the Appropriations Committee, and in spite of President Obama’s veto threat.
Amendments included a $15 million shift from solar energy R&D programs to the Bureau of Reclamation, sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD); a $9.6 million shift from energy efficiency and renewables R&D to environmental cleanup, sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA); a $20 million shift from fossil energy to the Corps of Engineers, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA); and $20 million boost to the ARPA-E budget, sponsored by Adam Schiff (D-CA). Several other proposed amendments that would have increased funding for clean energy R&D, ARPA-E, and Office of Science failed. The bill passed by a 227-198 party-line vote.
Per current AAAS estimates, the previously-reported contours of the bill remain largely in place, with most low-carbon energy technology R&D programs slated for hefty cuts, moderate cuts at the Office of Science, and National Nuclear Administration R&D programs slated for increases. The Fossil Energy R&D program would receive a somewhat smaller but still large increase of 39 percent above FY 2012 levels. In spite of the ARPA-E increase, the agency’s budget would still be slashed by 75 percent below FY 2012. Overall DOE R&D would amount to $10.3 billion, 6.9 percent below FY 2012 levels, 21.3 percent below the President's request, and about even with sequester levels. It is also 16.2 percent below the current Senate figure of $12.3 billion.
Floor action on the Senate version awaits; the committee passed its bill on June 27. As previously noted, the Senate bill is approximately $4 billion higher than the House version and, as with the other bills in play on the Senate side, violates the $967 billion spending cap established under sequestration, whereas the House versions meet this cap. With prospects for a budget conference still dim, it’s unclear how the two parties intend to rectify these differences.
NOTE: We have recently revised our FY13 estimates based on new DOE reporting.
News Roundup: Mid-Session Review; Veto Threat; IMF; NSF
Monday the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its mid-session review of the budget for 2013. OMB estimates the FY 2013 deficit will drop to $759 million, compared to the $973 million deficit predicted in April, dropping from 6.0 percent to 4.7 percent of GDP. The bulk of the deficit reduction was achieved through revenue increases, sequestration, and higher dividends from Fannie and Freddie. The long-run picture out to 2023 is a little worse than predicted.
While the immediate deficit picture looks a little better, the International Monetary Fund has lowered its growth forecasts globally and for the United States. This year's U.S. growth rate was lowered to 1.7 percent, due in part to the across-the-board sequester cuts serving as a drag on economic growth.
President Obama has reiterated has threat to veto any appropriations bills that adhere to the lower post-sequester spending limit, adopted by the House but ignored by the Senate. This time the President's threat is focused on the FY 2014 Energy & Water bill; the Administration is also sharply critical of several of the deep cuts to clean energy R&D proposed in the bill (see PDF).
Lastly, the National Science Foundation has posted its FY 2013 operating plan, reflecting enacted appropriations and sequestration. Most accounts are fairly close to what we'd initially estimated (PDF). NSF's FY 2014 budget is getting marked up by the relevant House subcommittee this morning, and the initial figures appear to keep it essentially flat from sequester levels when adjusting for inflation.
Senate Committee Approves FY 2014 Energy & Water Spending Bill
Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee passed their FY 2014 Energy & Water spending bill on a 24-6 vote. The bill (S. 1245) marks a clear divergence from the House version as most clean energy R&D programs would see at least a moderate increase above FY 2012 levels, though many would fall short of the request. Overall the bill would provide $12.3 billion in R&D in FY 2014, 11.0 percent above FY 2012, 17.1 percent above FY 2013 post-sequester estimates, and 6.1 percent below the request.
The Committee fully met the request for R&D funding at the Office of Science, though some funding was shifted from Basic Energy Sciences to High-Energy Physics and the Advanced Scientific Computing Research program. The Committee also fully met the requested R&D funding levels in the Fossil and Nuclear Energy programs and at ARPA-E. The Committee fell short of the President's request for R&D at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), but was still far more generous than the House Committee, funding EERE R&D at $1.4 billion versus only $558 million in the House. And the Committee would increase R&D at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) by 1.7 percent above the request, compared to a House cut of 4.4 percent below the request. However, it's unlikely that these Senate amounts will stand up unless Congress addresses the FY 2014 spending caps, given that the Senate and White House are working from the pre-sequester cap of $1.058 trillion while the House has adopted the post-sequester $967 billion level.
In historical terms, DOE R&D would reach its highest point ever in inflation-adjusted dollars under the Senate bill.
Office of Science. The Senate Committee makes only limited changes to the Administration's request for the Office of Science budget, which would approach its all-time high under the Senate bill. The Energy Frontier Research Center program would receive $100 million, short of the $169 million requested but ahead of the $60 million provided by the House Committee. High-Energy Physics would receive a $30.1 million increase above the request for research and facilities construction. The Committee also would boost exascale computing to $150 million, divided between the Office of Science and NNSA. The Alcator C-Mod fusion facility at MIT would be shut down under the Administration and Senate funding levels, while the House provided funding to avoid shutdown.
Energy Programs. Within EERE, only the Hydrogen program would see a small decline from FY 2012 levels under the Senate bill. Other programs would receive increases ranging from 1.6 percent for Water Power to a near-doubling of the Advanced Manufacturing budget, though the Committee has recommended de-funding the Energy Efficient Buildings Innovation Hub. As in the House, the Senate Committee expresses concern that DOE "is interpreting biomass too narrowly and failing to consider promising noncellulosic forms of biomass energy technology projects," including algae biofuels. Also like the House, the Senate Committee would not fund the Electricity Systems Innovation Hub for grid research. The Committee shows strong support for ARPA-E, and requests a report by March 2014 evaluating the first round of three-year projects. Changes to the Nuclear and Fossil Energy accounts are minimal.
Committees Approve Transportation Appropriations Bills
Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved their Transportation / HUD spending bills yesterday. The House bill passed on a 28-20 vote, and makes some targeted cuts to the Department of Transportation's R&D agenda for FY 2014. Overall departmental R&D would decline to $832.9 million under the House bill, 9.4 percent below FY 2012, 2.8 percent below current FY 2013 post-sequester estimates, and 11.3 percent below the request. At the agency level, the Federal Highway Administration appears to have made it through committee unscathed, with the Committee fully meeting the Administration's request for highway R&D, intelligent systems, and other work.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) fares less well, receiving an 18.1 percent cut below FY 2012, 13.8 percent below current FY 2013 post-sequester estimates, and 11.9 percent below the request. While the agency's advanced technology prototyping program received the request funding levels, various facility investment accounts received small reductions, and the budget for the Center for Advanced Aviation System Development received a 21.4 percent cut below the request. A variety of programs supporting NextGen — FAA's technology program to modernize the nation's air travel system — were also trimmed. The Committee also mostly matched the Administration's request for R&D at the Federal Railroad Administration, but declined to provide funding for the new Railroad Research, Development and Technology Program. The program would primarily focus on high-performance rail R&D through upgrades to the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, CO, and also would fund university-based research centers among other activities, but the new program has not been authorized by Congress.
On the Senate side, the Appropriations Committee approved the bill (S. 1243) by a 22-8 vote, and generally remained closer to the President's request. Under current estimates DOT R&D would reach $888.7 million under the Senate version of the bill, 3.3 percent below FY 2012, 3.7 percent above FY 2013 post-sequester estimates, and 5.4 percent below the President's request. The Senate Committee made relatively small reductions to assorted select FAA programs, though most R&D programs were funded at or near the request, and the Committee managed to increase funding for alternative fuel and environmental research associated with NextGen. As in the House, the Senate Committee declined to fund the Railroad Research, Development and Technology Program.
In historical terms, the House bill would drop DOT R&D to roughly FY 2004 levels, while the Senate bill would drop DOT R&D to roughly FY 2007 levels.
House Committee Approves FY 2014 Energy & Water Spending Bill
Yesterday the House Appropriations Committee passed their FY 2014 Energy & Water spending bill on a 28-21 vote. The bill is perhaps most notable for rather staggering cuts to low-carbon energy R&D funding across multiple offices, agencies and accounts. AAAS has previously reported on the House’s apparent interest in targeting these programs, including in the budget resolution; those threats appear to have been carried out so far. According to current AAAS estimates, Department of Energy (DOE) applied energy technology programs would be cut by 34.4 percent below FY 2012 levels, 31.3 percent below estimated FY 2013 post-sequester levels, and 55.9 percent of the President’s request.
Office of Science R&D would fare somewhat better but would still lose ground relative to recent history, falling 4.0 percent below FY 2012 levels and 9.7 percent below the President’s request, while increasing 1.1 percent above the AAAS FY 2013 post-sequester estimate. The third category of DOE R&D, atomic defense-related R&D at the National Nuclear Security Administration, fares best in the House bill by far. Total atomic defense R&D would increase by 9.7 percent above FY 2012 levels and 14.1 percent above FY 2013 post-sequester estimates, though it would fall 4.4 percent short of the President’s request, mainly due to cuts in naval propulsion R&D. These figures do not account for inflation, which will reach 4.0 percent between FY 2012 and FY 2014.
In historical terms, DOE R&D would fall to its lowest point since FY 2007. Office of Science would fall to FY 2008 levels, while other offices would fall somewhat further relative to their historical funding levels. NNSA would continue its recent growth, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), with a $50 million funding level, faces what can only be called an existential threat.
The Committee has expressed concern with the proliferation of research centers throughout DOE. The Committee directs the Department to provide additional detail about the variety of research centers receiving funding with identifiable goals and termination dates, and to consider closing less-effective programs in the portfolio. The bill also includes legislative text to require the Secretary of Energy to notify the Appropriations Committee of any million-dollar grants awarded; and it would require most energy research programs to forward-fund most multiyear R&D awards, essentially meaning that the entirety of project funding must come from the current-year budget rather than future budget years.
Office of Science. The Office of Science would receive $4.3 billion for R&D, a $460 million cut below the request. Within the Office of Science, the only program that would increase ahead of inflation is the Fusion Energy Sciences program, which would receive a 28.8 percent increase above FY 2012 and 10.4 percent above the President’s request. The program’s domestic research component, slated for a cut by the Administration, fares particularly well in the bill. Included in this funding is $22.3 million for the Alcator C-Mod facility at MIT, which had been scheduled for shutdown by the Administration. The Basic Energy Sciences program would be cut by 3.7 percent below FY 2012, and the Energy Frontier Research Centers program would not receive the increase requested by the Administration. The largest relative reduction is reserved for the Biological and Environmental Research program, though the BioEnergy Research Centers would receive full funding.
Energy Programs. As stated above, most low-carbon energy technology programs would receive hefty reductions in the House bill. Only the Fossil Energy program would receive a boost above the request, of 7.0 percent, though it would remain below FY 2012 levels. Every program within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would receive cuts of at least 35.9 percent, though some – including programs for solar, wind, building efficiency, and geothermal energy – would receive far larger relative cuts below FY 2012. ARPA-E’s $50 million appropriation would represent an 81.8 percent reduction below FY 2012 and 86.8 percent below the request, representing a potential death blow to the agency should it come to pass. The Committee also declines to fund the proposed Electricity Systems Energy Innovation Hub.
Atomic Defense. In contrast to the developments elsewhere, NNSA would do relatively well under the House bill. While nonproliferation R&D would stagnate, the Committee would match the request in several other accounts, and would provide $329 million for the beleaguered National Ignition Facility, a major increase above the request.
Senate Committee Approves FY 2014 Agriculture Spending Bill
The Senate Appropriations Committee last week approved the FY 2012 Agriculture appropriations bill on a 23-6 vote. According to the committee, the bill provides $1.1 billion for the Agricultural Research Service, about even with FY 2012 levels, 6.9 percent above sequester estimates, and 13.8 percent below the request. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture would receive $1.3 billion, 6.3 percent above FY 2012, more than 10 percent above FY 2013 sequester estimates, and 0.8 percent below the request. These numbers are somewhat above the House figures, described below. We'll post additional details soon.
Senate Appropriations Committee Passes Milcon / Veterans Bill
On June 25, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2014 Miltary Construction / Veterans Affairs appropriations bill on a 23-6 vote. The bill largely matches both the House appropriation and the the Administration's request for R&D funding at both the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and for R&D activities within the Department of Defense military construction account. FY 2014 VA-funded research would amount to $1.2 billion, matching the President's request and the House figures and representing a 0.9 percent increase—but behind the rate of inflation—above FY 2012. This figure does not include additional contributions for research from other agencies or from outside government, which usually amount to more than half a billion additional dollars. The major prosthetics research account within VA would receive $585.7 million, the same as the request and the House appropriation. The Committee has granted an extra $3 million for the Department's National Centers for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, in part to establish a brain tissue bank for PTSD researchers. The Committee also encourages VA to adopt policies to ensure greater public access to research results, and urges creation of a subprogram to tackle Alzheimer's research.
The bill now awaits consideration on the Senate floor.
Senate Approves Spending Allocations, Sequester Rollback
Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee approved spending allocations, known as "302(b) allocations," for the 12 spending bills that Congress must pass to fund the government. Like the President's request (PDF), the Senate proposes returning discretionary spending to pre-sequester levels. The total spending limit under the Senate plan is $1.058 trillion, compared to the $967 billion limit adopted by the House (see below). The allocations were adopted via a 15-14 vote, and make generally marginal changes to the President's request.
The allocations do, however, contrast sharply with the House plan (PDF), perhaps unsurprisingly, given the markedly different overall spending limits adopted. Cumulatively, the five spending bills with the largest sums for nondefense R&D would be reduced by 19.6 percent in the House plan relative to the President's request. Most individual bills would receive a double-digit percentage cut from the President's requested spending levels, with the largest relative reductions reserved for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) bill and the Interior and Environment bill. Most of these cuts, illustrated below, would leave nondefense spending below even sequester levels. Conversely, the Senate would actually marginally increase appropriations for every bill except for Labor/HHS, which would receive a small reduction.
See this short AAAS overview of the budget process (PDF) for more on how 302(b) allocations fit in.
House Committee Approves FY 2014 Agriculture Spending Bill
The House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2014 Agriculture appropriations bill on Thursday, June 13, via voice vote. According to current AAAS estimates, the bill would provide $1.9 billion for USDA R&D, though this does not include rangeland research at the Forest Service, which is appropriated in a different bill. The non-Forest Service components of the R&D budget would decline by $107 million, or 5.3 percent, below FY 2012 levels — though they would increase somewhat above post-sequestration FY 2013 estimates, by 2.6 percent. Factoring in inflation, overall USDA R&D would remain nearly flat from sequester levels. Basic and applied research funding, excluding the Forest Service, would decline by 5.8 percent from FY 2012 levels, and would represent a very small real-dollar decline from FY 2013 post-sequester estimates when adjusting for inflation. Total R&D would also fall well short of the President's request, by $284 million or 13 percent.
In historical terms, USDA R&D would continue its precipitous long-term decline under the House Committee bill. Removing the Forest Service, the bill would leave USDA R&D roughly 20.2 percent below funding levels from a decade ago in FY 2004.
One key bright spot in the bill is funding for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), particularly for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the department's lead office for competitive extramural research. Following a relatively successful FY 2013 appropriations outcome, AFRI would receive $291 million in the House Committee bill, significantly below the President's request of $383 million but still 10.1 percent above program funding in FY 2012.
While the Committee would generally trim funding for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the department's intramural research arm, the largest point of departure from the President's request is in the building and facilities account. ARS had intended to begin designing and constructing the long-gestating Biocontainment Laboratory and Consolidated Poultry Research Facility in Athens, GA, and requested $155 million for the project in FY 2014; it has sporadically received amounts of less than $3 million in prior years, as far back as 2005. The project is intended to upgrade the existing Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, adjacent to the Richard Russell Agricultural Research Center, both in Athens. These Biosafety Level-2 and -3 facilities, along with the related Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory in East Lansing, MI, perform poultry-related research in emerging diseases, viruses, and food safety. According to a facilities review ordered by Congress and the Secretary of Agriculture, the Athens facilities are among those in need of modernization, and have been prioritized. The House Committee declined to grant the requested funding due to the tough fiscal environment.
House Committee Approves FY 2014 Defense Spending Bill
On Wednesday, June 12, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2014 Defense appropriations bill on a voice vote, sending the bill to the House floor. The $513 billion bill has created headlines by allocating a greater amount for defense spending than allowed by the current caps under the Budget Control Act, violating the cap by $15 billion. This move fits in with the overall House budget strategy of boosting defense spending above sequester levels, while cutting nondefense spending even further.
In terms of R&D, the current bill would provide $69.3 billion for R&D at the Department of Defense (DOD), slightly below the request, 1.8 percent above FY 2013 post-sequester estimates, and 6.9 percent below FY 2012 (not accounting for inflation of 4 percent). Total research funding, including basic and applied, would rise to $6.8 billion, 0.9 percent above the request, due to a handful of programmatic increases. Downstream technology development would receive even larger cuts than those envisioned by the Administration. The largest divergence with the President’s request is in research funding within the Defense Health Program. The Administration has targeted the program, a major funder of cancer and brain injury research, for significant cuts in FY 2014, but the Committee would restore these cuts and add an additional $63 million above FY 2012 levels for a 5 percent increase.
In historical terms, the House bill would continue the recent decline in DOD R&D, leaving department R&D funding at its lowest point since FY 2002. Science & Technology funding would reach its highest point since FY 2010.
DOD Science & Technology. There is only limited divergence from the President’s request for most science and technology funding accounts, which consist of basic research (“6.1” in the DOD nomenclature), applied research (“6.2”), and early-stage technology development (“6.3”), as well as medical research. The 6.1 to 6.3 accounts would cumulatively increase by 2.9 percent, or $333 million, above the President’s request, and 2.1 percent ahead of FY 2012 levels; however, inflation would render this a 1.9 percent decline in real dollars.
These numbers are buoyed by a positive outlook for basic research, which the Administration has sought to boost to an all-time high in FY 2014. The Committee matched the Administration’s programmatic basic research request almost exactly; the only change is an additional $5 million for historically black colleges and minority institutions, reflecting the Committee’s concerns over DOD’s access to minority talent in science and engineering fields. The result would be a 7.9 percent or $160 million boost above FY 2012 levels for DOD basic research, while the other two accounts would fail to keep pace with inflation.
Also excepted is the aforementioned Defense Health Program research. The largest research funding accounts include $125 million for brain injury and psychological health, $120 million for breast cancer, $80 million for prostate cancer, and $45 million for the Joint Warfighter Medical Research program, which seeks to enhance combat readiness and military medicine.
Lastly, the Committee has taken a particular interest in several individual programs, including malaria vaccine development; Navy’s pursuit of ocean energy technology; collaborative strategic metals research by the Air Force Research Lab and the Metals Affordability Initiative Consortium; and DARPA’s cyber-enabled manufacturing program, which engages the nation's high school students.
The bill awaits House floor action.
Tables: Congressional Action on DOD R&D
House Passes FY 2014 Military Construction / Veterans Spending Bill
On June 4, the full House passed the FY 2014 Miltary Construction / Veterans Affairs appropriations bill (HR 2216) on a near-unanimous 421-4 vote. The bill largely meets the Administration's request for R&D funding at both the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and for R&D activities counted within the Department of Defense military construction account (the remainder of Defense Department R&D is appropriated separately in the Defense bill). FY 2014 VA-funded research would amount to $1.2 billion, matching the request and representing a 0.8 percent increase—behind the rate of inflation—above FY 2012. This figure does not include additional contributions for research from other agencies or from outside government, which usually amount to more than half a billion additional dollars. The major prosthetics research account within VA would receive $585.7 million, the same as the request and again slightly behind the rate of inflation from FY 2012. The House Committee has encouraged VA to pursue R&D on "the intersection between bioengineering, neuroscience, and rehabilitation to support intelligent prostheses" while continuing research on traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other maladies afflicting the nation's veterans. The bill now awaits consideration in the Senate.
House Passes Homeland Security Spending Bill
The House's FY 2014 Homeland Security spending bill (HR 2217) passed June 6 on a largely party-line 245-182 vote and in spite of the President's overarching veto threat. The bill would make little change to the President’s request for R&D (PDF) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), save for one key area: it would cut funding in half for the planned National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility. Otherwise, funding levels throughout DHS’s two main R&D agencies – the Science and Technology Directorate and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office – would remain largely as the Administration has requested.
In historical terms, the House bill would allow the DHS R&D budget to continue its recovery from major cuts in recent years. Total DHS R&D would reach its highest point since FY 2009, adjusting for inflation.
Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). S&T performs R&D to develop, test, evaluate, and deploy advanced technologies that enhance federal, state, and local enforcement capabilities. The office in recent years has come under fire by appropriators and others for management, strategy, and effectiveness reasons. The resulting funding cuts have prompted the agency to focus more on near-term, off-the-shelf technological solutions, while still maintaining some capacity in more revolutionary, far-reaching technological innovation. In the House bill, S&T would receive $977 million for R&D, substantially above funding levels from the prior two years, though not meeting the President’s request. The House Appropriations Committee continues to echo its concerns over S&T R&D management, and urges permanent mechanisms and reforms to improve it.
The shortfall from the President's request is entirely due to a reduction in funding for the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF), proposed for construction in Kansas. The facility, an advanced Biosafety Level 4 site, will research emerging foreign animal diseases that pose a threat to the nation’s health and food supply, including diseases that may move between species, and will replace the current Plum Island facility on Long Island. The Administration had requested $714 million for construction; the House would grant $404 million, which it deems sufficient to allow construction to continue on schedule.
Beyond NBAF construction, the House grants $467 million for Research, Development and Innovation, matching the request, and $40 million for university programs, exceeding the request. The House Appropriations Committee directs S&T to allocate $5 million for competitive university research programs for “rapidly developing and delivering models, prototypes and products and facilitating the commercial adoption of S&T-sponsored technologies.”
Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). DNDO is the lead federal agency responsible for nuclear counterterrorism, including the development and acquisition of nuclear and radiological detection technologies and ensuring effective response. DNDO also oversees the Global Nuclear Detection Architecture, a global network to monitor attempts to transport nuclear devices or fissile materials. The House has fully met the Administration’s request for DNDO R&D, including $75.3 million for the Transformational R&D program.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to unveil its version of the bill.
News Roundup: House Pledges Major Cuts, While President Threatens Veto; Ag and Defense Bills Introduced
Late last month, the House appropriations committee adopted 302(b) subcommittee allocations (PDF), which govern spending levels for each of the twelve appropriations bills. As this chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities makes clear, several spending areas would suffer major reductions under the House plan, below even sequestration levels. Specifically, the Energy and Water bill, which governs the Department of Energy Office of Science, would receive a 10 percent reduction below sequester levels; the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill, which governs National Institutes of Health funding, would receive an 18.6 percent reduction below sequester levels; and the Interior and Environment bill, which governs EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey, among other agencies, would receive a 14 percent cut. The allocations are much friendly to defense-related spending, and fall along similar lines as the House budget resolution (prior AAAS estimates here). Indeed, the House allocations would allow defense spending to rebound above sequester levels.
The House has also formally adopted the GOP budget to guide appropriations decisions, effectively locking in sequestration-level spending for the lower chamber, and further ensuring a challenging appropriations environment later in the year, when House and Senate members will have to resolve differences in spending bill-by-bill. Roughly $90 billion separates the two parties, and Republicans have resisted a conference committee to resolve the differences between the House and Senate budgets. The President has threatened to veto any spending bills that abide by the lower House-adopted spending levels, reprising his threat from last year.
Finally, House appropriators have released their draft FY 2014 Defense and Agriculture spending bills. In very general terms the Defense bill would cut Department of Defense R&D below the President's request but increase it above sequester levels, while many Agriculture programs would remain at post-sequester spending.
News Roundup: Homeland Security Bill Moves; CBO on the Deficit
Yesterday the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2014 Homeland Security appropriations bill, after approving the Military Construction / Veterans bill the day before. Both bills passed on a voice vote. In the Homeland Security bill, the committee proposes $1.2 billion for the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate, a decrease of $302 million below the request. The President’s request (PDF) included $714 million for construction of the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility, while the current House bill provides $404 million.
According to a recent update, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected the FY 2013 deficit at $642 billion, $200 billion below the CBO’s previous estimate and the smallest federal deficit since FY 2008. In spite of this new estimate, however, the odds for the two parties reaching a broad agreement remain slim, prompting a new warning from Standard & Poor’s, the credit rating agency that downgraded the U.S. credit rating in 2011.
R&D Budget and Policy Program Director Matt Hourihan recently appeared on the Healthcare Policy Podcast, to discuss R&D funding at NIH and elsewhere, international competitiveness in biomedical research funding, and sequestration. Listen here.
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.