A draft version of the fiscal year 2018 budget outline for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposes a 17 percent cut in funding for the weather and climate agency. NOAA research would face a 26 percent cut, while satellites and data would be cut 22 percent.
The House and Senate have announced who will lead the appropriations subcommittees for the 115th Congress, and there are a few new faces atop the four subcommittees that oversee the lion’s share of federal R&D spending.
At a meeting of the American Physical Society, two physicist-congressmen and a former top federal science official discussed challenges the science community may face in the coming years and sketched out ways to respond.
The president’s budget and House and Senate appropriations proposals for fiscal year 2017 included multiple funding and programmatic changes for the federal science agencies, but these changes are in limbo after lawmakers extended the federal government’s spending on a continuing resolution through April 28.
Congress has passed a sweeping biomedical innovation bill that President Obama has said he will sign. The bill provides the National Institutes of Health with $4.8 billion in extra money over 10 years to support three of the Obama administration’s biomedical research initiatives, although this funding has to be approved annually.
Congressional leaders have said that passage of a “21st Century Cures Act” is a top priority for the remainder of the current Congress. This bill could provide a multi-billion dollar funding boost to the National Institutes of Health outside of the regular appropriations process.
With Republicans winning one-party control of the federal government in last Tuesday’s election, the party now has more latitude to advance its priorities. Implications for science will begin to unfold in the “lame duck” session of Congress that opened yesterday.
Today, the president signed a stopgap spending bill that extends current fiscal year funding for the federal government through Dec. 9. With Congress recessing at the end of this week to campaign for the general election, major science-related legislation will not see further movement earlier than mid-November.
A group of industry, higher education, and scientific organizations has reissued a statement calling for Congress to increase federal support of basic research, streamline research regulations, and reaffirm merit-based review, among other actions.
With all 12 appropriations bills now drafted, the outcome of funding for the federal science agencies in fiscal year 2017 is coming into focus, with appropriations on track in many cases to diverge from the president’s discretionary funding requests.