DC Digest – Budget Update: January 19, 2014

In Today’s Issue:

  • Congress Passes FY14 Funding Package
  • Related: Spending Bill Includes Open Access Legislation

CONGRESS PASSES FY14 FUNDING PACKAGE
Both the House and the Senate approved the $1.012 trillion omnibus spending bill late last week that will keep the government funded through September. Federal programs that support university-based research and education received considerable relief from the FY13 sequester in the FY14 omnibus appropriations bill, with significant variation among agencies and programs.

While some agencies—such as the Department of Energy Office of Science and NASA Science—received  more FY14 funding then their pre-sequester FY13 levels, some other agencies—such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation—were funded below their FY13 pre-sequester levels.

Key provisions of interest to higher education are below:

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The bill provides $29.9 billion for NIH, which is $827.4 million, or 2.8 percent, above the FY13 post-sequester level.  However, in comparison to the FY13 level after transfers, NIH funding was increased by $1 billion, or 3.5 percent, but, again, remained below the FY13 pre-sequester level.

Within that total, the FY14 bill provides:

$100 million for Alzheimer’s research,  which is $20 million above the President’s request;
$30 million for the new BRAIN Initiative; and
$273.3 million for the Institutional Development Award, an increase of $11.7 million above the FY13 post-sequester level.
$474.7 million for Clinical and Translational Science Awards; and
The bill retains the NIH salary cap at Executive Level II.

In addition:

·       The omnibus calls for the NIH Director to assemble a working group on reducing administrative burden. The group must include “coordination and participation of universities, not-for-profits, and institutes” that receive NIH funds.

·       Relative to the Administration’s STEM education consolidation proposal, the bill directs NIH to continue funding the Office of Science Education (OSE) and Science Education Partnership Awards (SEPA) in FY14. Given that the OSE has already been eliminated and the SEPA program has expired, it is unclear how the agency will implement this directive.

·       The Appropriations Committees have also asked NIH to conduct an agency-wide priority-setting review, emphasizing both committees’ support for the peer review process. Within 180 days of enactment of the bill, NIH is required to submit a report on the post-peer review priority-setting process and how it “provides decision makers with answers to key questions,” including how funded research affects human health, basic biomedical science, and the overall NIH research portfolio.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
NSF would receive $7.172 billion in FY14, an increase of $288 million above the FY13 post-sequester level, but below the pre-sequester level.  Within that total, the measure allocates $5.8 billion for Research and Related Activities and $846 million for Education.

The omnibus bill does NOT include language restricting NSF funding of political science research that was first inserted in the FY13 continuing resolution last March at the behest of Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK).  That language prohibited NSF from funding political science research unless the NSF Director certified that the project promoted “national security or the economic interests of the United States.”  Because of the difficulty of implementing the provision, NSF has not been funding new political science studies.

Department of Defense (DOD)
Overall research and development at the DOD is cut by nearly $7 billion from the FY13 post-sequester level, but support for basic research increases.  Funding for 6.1 basic research would be $2.167 billion, or $64 million above the FY13 post-sequester level. Funding for 6.2 applied research is $4.643 billion, or $40 million below the FY13 post-sequester level.

Department of Energy (DOE)
The DOE Office of Science will receive about $5 billion, which is a $450-million increase above the FY13 post-sequester level.  Likewise, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) would receive $280 million, which is $29 million above the FY13 post-sequester level.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
NASA receives $17.65 billion overall, an increase of $781 million above the FY13 post-sequester level.  Within that total, $5.151 billion goes to the Science Mission Directorate,  $566 million goes to the Aeronautics Research Directorate, Space Technology would receive $576 million, and education would receive $117 million (including $40 million for the Space Grant program).

The measure also prevents NASA or the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from participating in bilateral activities with China, unless authorized by Congress.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
The total for NEH is $146 million, which is $7 million above the FY13 post-sequester level and the same as the FY13 pre-sequester level.

Department of Education
The FY14 omnibus bill maintains level funding for the Pell Grant program at $22.8 billion which, when combined with mandatory funding, would provide an estimated Pell Grant maximum award of $5,730, an increase of $85.

The campus-based aid programs are allocated the following amounts:

·     Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, $733 million;
·     Federal Work Study, $975 million;
·     TRIO Programs, $838 million; and
·     GEAR UP, $302 million.

The bill includes $75 million for the Administration’s First in the World Initiative, which will provide grants to colleges to implement innovative and effective strategies that improve student outcomes and reduce the net price paid by students.

The measure also provides $29.2 million for Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN), with language allowing GAANN funds to be used to support continuation costs for the Javits Fellowship program.  International Education and Foreign Language Studies would receive $72 million.

In addition, the bill includes $1 million for a National Research Council study authorized in the Higher Education Opportunity Act to study the effect of regulations and reporting requirements on colleges.

Lastly, the bill requires the Department of Education to report within four months on enrollment, graduation, and default rates for Pell Grant recipients, disaggregated by institution. The Department also will have to develop a plan to minimize the Pell reporting burden on institutions, provide suggestions on how to improve the tracking of transfer and nontraditional students, and develop strategies to boost Pell Grant graduation rates.

Read More:
AAU FY14 Funding Priorities Table (pdf)

 

RELATED: SPENDING BILL INCLUDES OPEN ACCESS LEGISLATION
Tucked away on page 1,020 of the 1,582-page spending bill winding its way through Congress, Section 527 of the ‘‘Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014’’ would make taxpayer funded research publicly available within 12 months of publication.

According to the bill, federal agencies must develop public access policies that provide a “machine-readable version of the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journal.”

Read More:
Omnibus Appropriations Bill Codifies White House Directive (sparc.arl.org)
Spending Bill Includes Open Access Legislation (InsideHigherEd)