Science Sees Increases in FY 14 Funding Bill
At long last, the appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) were signed into law on January 17, 2014. When signing the bill, President Obama noted, “[W]e now have a bill that will … make sure that we are doing everything we need to do to advance our research agenda in this country and innovate.”
The House and Senate overwhelming approved the FY14 funding bill that provides increases for most science agencies over FY13 levels. The legislation follows the framework set in December’s Bipartisan Budget Act that capped discretionary spending at $1.012 trillion, $45 billion above the sequestration levels. While the news of an increase is welcome, many programs are still below FY12 spending levels, particularly when inflation is considered. Preliminary analysis, including comparisons with FY13 sequester level funding, is below.
- Department of Energy
The DOE Office of Science will receive $5.071 billion, a nearly 10 percent increase over FY13. ARPA-E is funded at $280 million, approximately $28 million above FY13. DOE's Office of Fossil Energy will receive $562 million, more than either the House or Senate proposed in their initial spending bills.
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA will receive $17.6 billion in the bill, an increase of $781 million above FY13. Science and Aeronautics will each see approximately 6 percent increases.
- National Science Foundation
NSF will receive $7.1 billion, an increase of nearly $300 million over FY13 and a slight increase over FY12.
- U.S. Geological Survey
The USGS will receive $1.032 billion, $20 million more than FY13 but still below FY11 and 12 levels.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NOAA will receive $5.3 billion, an 8.6% increase over FY13. The legislation provides the full requested increased amounts for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) program.
The legislation takes issue with the proposed reorganization of STEM education programs in last year’s budget requests: “While the Congress is supportive of attempts to improve efficiency and effectiveness in Federal STEM education programs, the proposed reorganization of these programs contained in the budget request was incomplete and lacked sufficient detail. The proposal contained no clearly defined implementation plan, had no buy-in from the education community and failed to sufficiently recognize or support a number of proven, successful programs. Accordingly, the agreement does not adopt the reorganization; all STEM activities are funded in their existing programmatic structures unless explicitly noted otherwise elsewhere ... OSTP shall reexamine other possible reorganizations of Federal STEM programs for consideration in a future fiscal year after engaging in an inclusive development process (involving the interagency community and major external stakeholders).”
The legislation also codifies restrictions on federal conferences and travel. It states that no more than 50 employees from a federal department or agency can attend an international conference and sets reporting requirements for agency conferences.
As agencies begin to work out how they will allocate their appropriation for the remaining 8 months of the fiscal year, planning for FY2015 will soon begin with the release of the Administration’s FY2015 budget request.
— Kasey White
GSA Director for Geoscience Policy