Washington Update

Inside (the Beltway) Scoop

By: Ellen Kuo
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Congress Pushes to Pass FY 2023 Omnibus Before Leaving Town

The government is operating on a continuing resolution (P.L. 117-229) that ends at midnight on December 23. Over the weekend, appropriations staff made sure there were no errors in the $1.7 billion fiscal year (FY) omnibus that was released early Tuesday morning with $773 billion in nondefense funding and $858 billion for defense.

The legislative vehicle for the omnibus is HR 2617. In an unusual maneuver, the Senate is expected to take the first vote on the package to use the upcoming Christmas holiday to force the House to obtain the votes it needs to pass the omnibus. Otherwise, the government will be without funding. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) notified House members that they will be asked to return and stay in D.C. for at least two legislative days. The House planned to meet on Wednesday evening for votes as they await Senate passage of the omnibus.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) received $47.5 billion, which is a $2.5 billion increase or 5.6 percent over the FY 2022 enacted program level, including no less than a 3.8 percent increase for every institute and center. The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) is also funded at $1.5 billion to remain available through September 30, 2025. It is strongly encouraged that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services help ARPA-H develop foundational policies and staff training for its employees with quarterly briefings to the Congress on the status of its establishment and scientific progress and priorities. The bill also established the agency within the NIH and states it should not be on any part of the NIH campus and must have offices in no less than three geographical areas. It should have no more than eight program offices with no fewer than two-thirds of the program offices exclusively dedicated to supporting research and development activities.

The National Science Foundation is provided $9.9 billion or $1.03 billion more than the FY 2022 enacted level, a 12 percent increase. The increase consists of $9.54 billion in the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations (CJS) bill and another $335 million in supplemental funding. It is the largest dollar increase for NSF of all time and the largest percentage increase for the NSF in more than two decades.  

The omnibus provides $1.8 billion in new funding to implement the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. This includes $820 million in the CJS bill and another $980 million in supplemental funding to jumpstart the initiative according to Senate appropriators.

The Department of Energy Office of Science is provided $8.1 billion or $620 million more than FY 2022 enacted, a 8.2 percent increase.

The agreement also provides $455 million to the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) and requests that AFRI prioritize funding for agro-acoustics in its basic and applied research program. Language is also included encouraging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase the number of organic research projects funded under AFRI. This FY 2023 funding amount is $10 million more or 2.2 percent increase over FY 22 enacted.

Veterans Administration Medical and Prosthetic Research is provided $916 million with language to ensure that there is adequate funding for prosthetic research specifically for female veterans and for toxic exposures research. This amounts to a $34 million increase or 3.9 percent over the FY 2022 enacted level. 

Looking forward, on January 3 the 118th Congress will be sworn in. Please visit this link to find your representatives and senators for the 118th Congress and subscribe to their newsletters You can also find the 2023 House calendar here and the Senate here