Budget and Appropriations

Following a month of intense activity in Congress, lawmakers have passed bipartisan semiconductor funding and innovation policy measures that have been in the works since the Trump administration. Meanwhile, Democrats also revived the fortunes of a partisan spending bill that includes funding for climate change mitigation as well as a significant boost for some science budgets.

At a House Science Committee hearing last week, Electron-Ion Collider Project Director Jim Yeck reported that without a higher budget he anticipates personnel crucial to the project will need to be laid off. Meanwhile, Fermilab Director Lia Merminga said that the flagship neutrino project LBNF/DUNE is progressing smoothly following a period of cost growth and schedule delays.

The funding increase that Congress provided to Defense Department R&D programs in fiscal year 2022 outpaced those of most nondefense science agencies. The Biden administration is seeking significant budget increases for some priorities in fiscal year 2023, but its proposals still leave early-stage R&D facing significant cuts.

Most STEM education programs across federal agencies received steady funding or moderate increases from Congress for fiscal year 2022, and this year the Biden administration is seeking to rapidly scale up initiatives aimed at diversifying the STEM workforce.

Funding for the Department of Energy’s applied energy R&D programs is increasing by roughly 10% this year, well short of the administration’s request, though the infrastructure law is providing billions in additional funding for clean energy technology development. The administration is once again seeking significant boosts for several applied energy programs.

The latest appropriation for the U.S. Geological Survey falls well short of the Biden administration’s target, but Congress also provided a major one-time supplement for critical minerals mapping through the infrastructure law. This year, the administration is seeking to deepen the agency’s role in providing climate science and decision-support services.

The House Science Committee is pressing the Biden administration to seek significantly higher budgets for the Department of Energy Office of Science, arguing in particular that funding levels requested for science facility construction projects would cause them to fall behind schedule and incur additional costs.

Congress followed the Biden administration's lead in delivering a moderate budget increase to the Department of Energy's Office of Science in the current fiscal year, but some lawmakers believe the office needs much more money than is being asked for to advance facilities projects and core research programs.

The National Nuclear Security Administration’s budget is increasing steadily in support of work to reconstitute plutonium production capabilities and other key infrastructure supporting the nuclear weapons stockpile, though funding for some science programs is under pressure.

The National Institutes of Health received a $2 billion base-budget increase for fiscal 2022 as well as $1 billion to launch ARPA–H, a new agency designed to accelerate biomedical innovation. In fiscal year 2023, the Biden administration is seeking to ramp up funding for ARPA–H to $5 billion while leaving budgets for many other parts of NIH near their current levels.