Federal Science Partners Periodic Update

Senate Appropriations Committee Moves Ahead on FY20 Appropriations Bills – Funding Deadline Looms – Last week the House passed a stopgap spending measure – the continuing resolution or CR – by the vote of 301-123. The measure would keep the Federal Government operating at the FY 2019 level until November 21. The measure is now in the Senate where observers expect it will soon be passed and signed into law. If that happens this would avoid a government shutdown. In the meantime, the Senate Appropriations Committee marked up and reported out three more FY 2020 appropriations bills including: Agriculture, Financial Services, and Transportation-HUD.

This week, the Committee is scheduled to take up the Commerce-Justice-Science bill, which includes funding for NSF, NOAA, NASA, NIST, and OSTP; and Interior/EPA, which includes funding for the USGS and EPA. The Senate Appropriations Committee has already acted on the Defense and Energy & Water Appropriations bills. The Labor-HHS-Education bill, which carries funding for NIH, was scheduled to be marked up but was postponed at the last minute.

Senate Appropriations Committee Looking to Provide Record Support for Science and Technology -- The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously advanced spending legislation for the Department of Energy that includes increases for energy research. The DOE Office of Science, the largest federal funder of fundamental physical science, would see its current budget increase 10% to $7.2 billion. The House has proposed a 4% boost. Funding for DOE’s applied energy programs would also rise under the Senate proposal, with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy slated for an 18% boost to $2.8 billion. The Senate has also matched the House proposal to fund the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy at $428 million, a 17% boost. Meanwhile, DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s weapons research, development, test, and evaluation programs would receive a 21% budget increase to $2.4 billion.

While not yet marked up, the Senate Appropriations Committee has released a draft of its recommendations for the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee. In the draft report the Committee recommends the National Institutes of Health be funded at $42.1 billion, an increase of $3 billion, or 7.7 percent, above FY2019. The bill includes $500 million for the BRAIN initiative; $500 million for precision medicine; $801 million for research on opioid addiction, development of opioids alternatives, pan management, and addiction treatment; and more than $100 million to support the renovation of building and research facilities on the NIH Campus in Bethesda consistent with the recent report by the National Academies.

In the FY 2020 DOD Appropriations bill, the Committee recommends $105.1 billion, an increase of $9.0 billion above the FY2019 enacted level and an increase of $821.6 million above the budget request. Overall, the bill provides an additional $1.64 billion in the science and technology budget activities; and supports the request for basic and university research and recommends an additional $307.8 million, as follows: $122.0 million in Army basic and university research; $76.5 million in Navy basic and university research; $50.0 million in Air Force basic and university research; and $59.3 million in Defense-Wide basic and university research.

House Resources Committee Marks Up Sea Grant and IOOS Reauthorization Bills and other Legislation – Last week the House Natural Resources Committee marked up and reported out a number of bills important to the ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes community. Legislation marked up included:

  • H.R. 2405 (Rep. Huffman), To reauthorize and amend the National Sea Grant College Program Act, and for other purposes. “National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2019.”

  • H.R. 737 (Rep. Sablan), To prohibit the sale of shark fins, and for other purposes. “Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2019.”

  • H.R. 1023 (Rep. Quigley), To authorize the Director of the United States Geological Survey to conduct monitoring, assessment, science, and research, in support of the binational fisheries within the Great Lakes Basin, and for other purposes. “Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization Act of 2019.”

  • H.R. 1218 (Rep. Young), To establish the American Fisheries Advisory Committee to assist in the awarding of fisheries research and development grants, and for other purposes. “American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act.”

  • H.R. 1314 (Rep. Young), To reauthorize the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009, and for other purposes. “Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act Amendments of 2019.

On Wednesday, September 25, the Resources Committee is scheduled for another full Committee mark up. Legislation on the agenda for that mark up include:

  • H.R. 1747 (Rep. Wittman), To encourage partnerships among public agencies and other interested persons to promote fish conservation. “National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act.”

  • H.R. 3115 (Rep. Pallone), To direct the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make grants to State and local governments and nongovernmental organizations for purposes of carrying out climate-resilient living shoreline projects that protect coastal communities by supporting ecosystem functions and habitats with the use of natural materials and systems, and for other purposes. “Living Shorelines Act of 2019.”

  • H.R. 3541 (Rep. Carbajal), To amend the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 to require the Secretary of Commerce to establish a coastal climate change adaptation preparedness and response program, and for other purposes. “Coastal State Climate Preparedness Act of 2019.”

  • H.R. 3596 (Rep. Pingree), To amend the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 to establish a Working Waterfront Task Force and a working waterfronts grant program, and for other purposes. “Keep America's Waterfronts Working Act.”