From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Consortium for Ocean Leadership Staff
What It Was
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies held a markup titled, “Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill.” Additionally, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, and Related Agencies held a hearing to review the FY 2019 budget request for the U.S. Department of Commerce.”
Why It Matters
Scientific research and the agencies that support it are vital to Americans. Federal funding to advance innovation and discovery is important, as is maintaining and improving services the U.S. relies on, including weather forecasting, climate resiliency, and food security. The Commerce, Justice, Science, appropriations bill funds several science agencies that do just that, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It allocates federal dollars for a broad range of activities, including fisheries management, satellite programs, science education, weather research, and space exploration.
The House subcommittee passed the $62.5 billion ($2.9 billion above 2018 omnibus) draft spending bill by voice vote along party lines. Democrats expressed some disappointment with portions of the legislation, including a 40 percent decrease in NOAA’s climate research funds, and voiced a desire to make changes during the full committee markup.
The legislation provides proposed appropriations for a few budget lines; details of funding to specific programs are not expected to be made available until the full committee markup. Compared to FY 2018, NSF and NASA would see increases of $408 million and $810 million ($700 million and $1.6 billion above the president’s request for FY 2019, respectively), while NOAA would receive a $751 million cut ($637 million increase over the president’s request).
NSF would receive $8.2 billion, of which $6.7 billion is designated for research (an increase of $317 million from FY 2018).
NASA’s $21.5 billion focuses on science programs and exploration of the moon and deep space.
The $5.2 billion for NOAA would maintain funding for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) and Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) programs to improve weather forecasting and is also targeted towards the reduction of harmful algal blooms, fisheries management, and ocean exploration. Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (NY-17) and subcommittee Ranking Member José Serrano (NY-15) both drew attention to the proposed cuts to climate programs at the agency, including the coastal resilience grant program.
“This mark proposes to cut climate work at NOAA by nearly 40 percent; [we need to] find additional funding for these critical climate programs that will save lives and money.” – Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-17)
“[The bill] prioritizes national security and law enforcement and… It invests in scientific research that will help our nation be successful for generations to come.” – House Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11)
“[NOAA’s coastal resiliency grants] program should be bolstered, not eliminated.” – House Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (NY-17)
A markup of the draft legislation will occur at the full committee level. The Senate has not yet introduced their bill, and the committee is still accepting outside witness testimony.
Find Out More
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