Washington Update

Inside (the Beltway) Scoop

By: Ellen Kuo
Thursday, March 31, 2022
President Releases His Budget for Fiscal Year 2023 

On March 28, President Biden released his budget request with detailed budget estimates by agency for fiscal year (FY) 2023, with the stated intent to reduce the federal deficit by more than $1.3 trillion this year and to deliver the largest one-year reduction in the deficit in U.S. history. His budget provides $5 billion for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The $5 billion is an increase of $4 billion above the FY 2022 enacted level of $1 billion that was appropriated until September 30, 2024, in the recent omnibus for FY 2022 specifically for this new initiative to drive breakthrough innovation for cancer and other diseases such as diabetes and dementia. The proposed ARPA-H would use a nontraditional NIH model of high-risk proposals with time-driven milestones. However, for the NIH base budget, that would result in only $44 billion for a total of $49 billion overall under the Health and Human Service Budget justifications This funding level is far short of the FASEB Board’s recommendation for FY 2023 of at least $50 billion for NIH, exclusive of ARPA-H.

For the National Science Foundation, the budget provides $10.5 billion in discretionary funding, a 1.7 billion or 19 percent increase from the 2022 enacted level. This figure is slightly below FASEB and the larger advocacy community’s recommendation of at least $11 billion. These funds would spur climate research, strengthen U.S. leadership in emerging technologies, advance racial equity in science and engineering, and foster scientific and technological advances. Within the total amount for NSF is $880 million for the Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) to help translate research into practical applications. TIP was newly formed in H.R. 2471, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, but was not given any funds within that law.

TIP will work with programs across the agency and with other federal and nonfederal entities to expedite technology development in emerging areas that are crucial for U.S. technological leadership, including trustworthy artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, disaster response and resilience, quantum information systems, robotics, advanced communications technologies, biotechnology, cybersecurity, advanced energy technologies, and materials science. 

The president also requested an investment of $7.8 billion for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE SC), the largest federal supporter of basic research in the physical sciences with two main thrusts: to support scientific research and to construct and operate open-access scientific user facilities. This is approximately $300 million above the FY 2022 enacted level for DOE SC. U.S. leadership would also be promoted under this area for the industries of the future, including biotechnology and biomanufacturing, and to support the Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Other areas of interest include the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which provides leadership and funding for programs that advance agriculture-related sciences. Under the budget, NIFA will invest an additional $129 million over current funding across all Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) programs, including interagency investments, for a total of $564 million for America's flagship competitive grants program for food and agricultural sciences. AFRI funds support the president's priorities of addressing climate smart agriculture and forestry practices, mitigation of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, nutrition security, and promotion of prosperity in America’s historically underserved communities.

The Veterans Administration’s Medical and Prosthetic Research program receives $916 million to remain available until September 30, 2024. This funding level is $34 million or 3.9 percent above the FY 2022 enacted amount ($882 million). The budget also requires the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to ensure that sufficient amounts appropriated are available for prosthetic research specifically for female veterans and for toxic exposure research.