CJS Appropriations Bill Supports Broad Increases to Science Funding

2019-05-23T13:52:58+00:00 May 21, 2019|
(Credit: Architect of the Capitol)

(Credit: Architect of the Capitol)

From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff 

What It Was:

The House Committee on Appropriations held a subcommittee markup of the draft fiscal year (FY) 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill. The CJS subcommittee provides funding for several federal agencies, including, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Why It Matters:

Scientific research and innovation remain vital to supporting healthy communities, strengthening the economy, and addressing issues posed by climate change and other stresses on our natural world. Facing these challenges requires robust funding for the federal agencies that conduct and support science and innovation and that engage the next generation of scientists and policymakers. FY 2020 CJS appropriations will allocate federal dollars to several agencies responsible for a broad range of activities addressing these initiatives.

Key Points:

Subcommittee members from both parties expressed general satisfaction with the FY 2020 CJS draft bill, which would fund various federal programs advancing scientific research and innovation while also providing support for the decadal United States Census. The House bill funds most of its agencies at or above FY 2019 levels, including many programs prosed for termination in the administration’s budget request. Several members stressed the importance of supporting science and innovation to mitigate the effects of climate change and extreme weather events and also highlighted the need to promote U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

NOAA

The bill appropriates $5.48 billion to NOAA, which exceeds FY 2019 enacted funding by $54.3 million and the administration’s request by over $1 billion. This includes a 17 percent increase for NOAA climate research activities in the form of coastal zone management grants, national coastal resiliency fund grants, and coastal science and assessment programs. In their opening statements, several members addressed the need to mitigate climate change and extreme weather events. Subcommittee Chairman José Serrano (NY-15) stated, “The president’s request proposed drastic cuts to climate change research and mitigation programs. This bill rejects those proposals and instead adds investments to ensure that the United States is a leader in addressing climate change.” Representative Charles Crist (FL-13) touted the bill’s ability to address issues, such as “harmful [algal] blooms, weather forecasting, fishery management, and coastal resiliency.”

NSF

NSF would see $8.64 billion, which is $561.1 million over the FY 2019 enacted level and $1.6 billion above the president’s budget request. The committee stressed the importance of growing the education component of science agencies, such as NSF. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-8) indicated the record-high allocation would help ensure the United States remains a global leader in scientific research.

NASA

The $22.32 billion that would be appropriated to NASA represents an $815 million increase over the FY 2019 enacted level and $1.3 billion above the initial president’s request. This includes funds for the Science Mission Directorate ($7.16 billion) and STEM engagement programs ($123 million). Within the Science Mission Directorate, over $2 billion is included for NASA Earth Science, also an increase from the FY 2019 level.

Other Agencies

The legislation requires the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to better coordinate data across the government “in an effort to create more forward-looking building standards that are resistant to climate change and extreme weather events.” It also funds the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy at the President’s budget request of $5 million, with a direction to develop a strategic approach to addressing similar measures.

This morning, the committee released their committee report. You can read more details here.

Quotable:

“To combat climate change, the bill would invest in NOAA climate research activities and coastal resiliency, to ensure the public and our shorelines are better protected when disaster strikes.” – Chairwoman Nita Lowey (NY-20)

“To ensure our nation’s science agencies have the resources needed to ensure our continued leadership and innovation, this bill adds significant funding to NASA, the National Science Foundation, and NIST.” – Subcommittee Chairman José Serrano (NY-15)

“…a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on overall spending caps is needed for us to make real progress.” – Ranking Member Kay Granger (TX-12)

Next Steps:

The House CJS subcommittee approved its FY 2020 bill by voice vote. The full committee markup will be held on Wednesday, May 22.

Find Out More

Watch the full hearing

Read the detailed bill summary

Related coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership    

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