All twelve annual spending bills have been approved by the House Appropriations Committee and nine by the full House, while Senate Democrats have proposed a full slate of their own. Here is a brief review of R&D estimates with functional highlights, topical spotlights on climate science and STEM education, and international comparisons. Download the report.
Our current updated estimates for aggregate R&D in House appropriations, including floor amendments for spending legislation adopted by the full chamber, is $169.4 billion, an increase of $11.2 billion or 7.1% above FY 2021 estimated levels. For the Senate Democrats’ slate of proposed legislation, we estimate a slightly higher total of $171.1 billion, an increase of $12.9 billion or 8.2% above FY 2021 estimates. More detail on FY 2022 appropriations can be found in our interactive dashboard.
Both the House and Senate R&D estimates are somewhat lower than the White House R&D request. They also suggest R&D appropriations may grow more slowly than overall discretionary spending, which was slated for an 8.6% increase in the White House budget and the FY 2022 budget resolution.
Should final R&D appropriations end up within the range described, it would represent one of the larger increases of the past decade in both dollars and percentage increase, though not unprecedented. Historical R&D budget authority data has indicated similar or larger increases in FY 2016 and FY 2018. Federal R&D also saw larger growth in FY 2020, though much of that increase was driven by emergency COVID-19 R&D.
However, focusing on nondefense R&D alone, the funding growth could be historically large. An increase within the higher end of our House and Senate estimates would likely yield the largest nondefense R&D increase since the Space Race, again excluding emergency increases.
Under these growth estimates, we would expect federal R&D to reach 0.70% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in FY 2022. This would represent a slight decline from FY 2021 levels due to strong economic growth projected by the Congressional Budget Office, but also a modest improvement from recent pre-COVID levels (see the graph below).
For more, download the report.