Washington Update

Inside (the Beltway) Scoop

By: Ellen Kuo
Thursday, July 22, 2021

House Appropriators Lay Out Their Vision for Fiscal Year 2022 Science Agency Funding

On July 11 the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee  (LHHS) posted its fiscal year (FY) 2022 spending bill. The accompanying summary provides a total of $49 billion for National Institutes of Health (NIH). This is $6.5 billion more in total for NIH compared to the FY 2021 enacted amount. The President’s priority item for a new agency formed within the NIH, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), received a specific funding level of $3 billion included in the NIH total. This money is to be available for use until September 30, 2024, if the agency is created. This number is short of the $6.5 billion that the President had requested in his budget released earlier this year (see the previous Washington Update article on the President’s FY 2022 budget figures). During the subcommittee markup on July 12, no amendments were offered and the bill was approved. However, during the markup Republicans raised serious concerns that the LHHS bill total of $253.8 billion, or a 28 percent increase above 2021, was too high and objected to the removal of the Hyde amendment (a long-standing provision that prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions, except to save the life of the woman or if a pregnancy arises from incest or rape) from the bill. Republicans noted that the Hyde amendment needs to be added to the bill in order to gain their votes for final passage.

For the National Science Foundation (NSF), which is under the jurisdiction of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce Justice, Science and Related Agencies  (CJS), the funding allocation is $9.6 billion, an increase of $1.2 billion above the FY 2021 enacted level. This amount is below FASEB’s requested amount of at least $10 billion, which was also supported by the Coalition for National Science Funding. Within the total for NSF, research and related activities are funded at $7.7 billion, an increase of $786 million above the FY 2021 enacted level. The subcommittee approved its bill by voice vote on July 12 with no amendments. A draft of the FY 2022 CJS bill is here.

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science funding allocation in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies bill for FY 2022 (E&W) was $7.32 billion, an increase of $294 million above FY 2021. However, this is below the  Energy Sciences Coalition’s request of $7.7 billion for FY 2022. (FASEB is a member of the Coalition.) This number contrasts with the ambitious goal of $8.7 billion beginning in FY 2022 for the Department of Energy Science for the Future Act, a separate bill introduced by the House Science Committee,  which provides comprehensive policy guidance and funding authorization for the major research programs stewarded by the Office of Science. The Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies approved by voice vote its FY 2022 bill on July 12 with no amendments.

On July 15, the LHHS and CJS bills are expected to be marked up at full committee, followed by the E&W bill on July 16.

In addition to decisions on how to fund the federal government for FY 2022 starting on October 1, other items such as raising the debt ceiling, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and the Democrat-led bill to fund items not included in the infrastructure package will be on the House’s busy legislative agenda before the August recess. As of this writing, the Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to set its schedule of subcommittee appropriations bills markups.