Washington Update

Inside (the Beltway) Scoop

By: Benjamin Krinsky
Thursday, February 28, 2019

Congress Finishes Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations; Administration to Demand Spending Cuts; Droegemeier Sworn In as Head of OSTP

On February 15, the President signed H.J.Res.31 into law, finalizing government appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2019. Along with the passage of H.R.6157 and H.R. 5895 back in September, a number of federal science agencies received funding boosts this fiscal year:

[wp_table id=6054/]

Looking ahead to FY 2020, Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russ Vought penned an op-ed this week announcing that the President’s budget request would include a 5 percent cut in non-defense discretionary spending, while increasing defense spending through the Overseas Contingency Operations fund. The distribution of the proposed cuts is not clear; Vought wrote that “agencies will still be able to provide investments in key national priorities.” More details will be revealed when the administration releases its FY 2020 budget request in March.

On Capitol Hill, House and Senate Appropriations Committees are expected to soon begin their work drafting FY 2020 spending bills. If past is prologue, appropriators are unlikely to adhere to the administration’s budget. In a January Bloomberg Government article, Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt (R-MO) said the administration’s budget “seldom matters very much when it gets here.”

In other news, Kelvin Droegemeier was officially sworn-in as the new director of the White House Office and Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on February 11. Dr. Droegemeier recently outlined his vision for OSTP at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, and further elaborated in an interview with Science.