House and Senate Appropriations Committee

Senate Democrats have announced a legislative push that resuscitates and expands on provisions omitted from last year’s CHIPS and Science Act that address the U.S.–China rivalry. They expect their effort will include proposals for targeted R&D funding and new controls aimed at preventing China from exploiting U.S. technological advances.

With NASA’s cost estimates for the Mars Sample Return mission rising, criticism is building in the scientific community and among members of Congress that it is siphoning money from other projects.

House appropriators for the Department of Energy previewed their priorities at a hearing on DOE’s budget request for fiscal year 2024, the first since Republicans won control of the House.

The new Congress has shuffled the leadership of many key committees that draft policy and budgets for federal science agencies.

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.

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.

Appropriators in the House and Senate both propose to boost funding for the National Institutes of Health by more than 10% in fiscal year 2022. They also endorse the creation of an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, though they would provide less than half the initial funding the administration requested for it.

House and Senate proposals for NASA’s fiscal year 2022 science budget mostly track the administration’s request, providing particularly significant funding increases for the Planetary Science and Earth Science Divisions. Appropriators have sent mixed signals about the fate of the airborne SOFIA telescope, which NASA has proposed to terminate.

House and Senate spending proposals for fiscal year 2022 have put energy R&D and technology demonstration programs in line for major budget increases, while the bipartisan infrastructure package that the Senate passed earlier this month could provide billions of additional dollars in funding.

The House and Senate both propose to increase funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science in fiscal year 2022. While the proposed funding levels are similar to the amount requested by the administration, they fall well short of those recommended in recent House-passed legislation and could result in slower progress on certain projects.