Policy Implications of the CJS Appropriations Bills

Accompanying the Senate FY 2015 CJS appropriations bill is report language that provides additional guidance to federal agencies under its jurisdiction.  Although it does not have the force of law, agencies generally follow the guidance quite closely. For example, within the section for the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is language on open access that notes that the Senate committee had been updated on the status of federal agencies’ development of policies to expand public access to federally funded research results. The Committee expects agencies to finalize policies by December 2014 and begin implementation by early 2015. In addition, the Committee requests that OSTP, in conjunction with NIH, create an interagency Medical Imaging Subcommittee with a goal of establishing a coordinated medical imaging R&D roadmap. 

For NSF, among other items, the Committee displays a number of concerns regarding the inclusion of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in a range of NSF programs. It states that “NSF has developed some research experience programs through its Education and Human Resources directorate. However, NSF’s primary research directorates have a far more anemic track record in this support—a reality that the Committee believes must change if the Nation is to take advantage of the country’s growing diversity to enhance America’s economic competitiveness.” The Committee directs NSF “to use up to $7,500,000 within existing programs targeting broadening participation, particularly at HBCUs, to create effective models of intervention to nurture students from elementary school through under graduate studies with an emphasis on life sciences.”

Finally, the Committee expressed concerns over waste and abuse of federal spending and requests that agencies submit a report to the Senate Appropriations Committee when a program’s costs exceed 10 percent of its budget.  In addition, it requires federal agencies to submit reports to the Inspector General on any conference that exceeds $100,000.