Overview of Fiscal Year 2011 Appropriations
Choose an agency on the bar below to view AGI's analysis of the President's request for key geoscience-related agencies as well as detailed program and account information. Each of the appropriations pages provides a summary table, an overview of the budget request, and congressional action on the agency or department.
As in years past, AGI will provide testimony to several subcommittees on programs of importance to the geoscience community.
You can also keep up-to-date with the Library of Congress Table on Current Status of FY 2011 Appropriations Bills and the AAAS Analysis of R&D in the FY 2011 Budget. As in years past, the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Project website has information on trends in federal research and development funding, including information on the president's request, congressional budget resolution, 302(b) allocations, and each science-related appropriations bill.
Congress Passes Budget for Fiscal Year 2011
Some of the known impacts include a reduction in research grants from the NSF, delays or terminations of satellite missions with concomitant data loss or data gaps at NASA and NOAA, and reductions in research programs within the Department of Energy and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Presidential Commission Fiscal Plan Fails
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) provides an analysis of how the plan might affect research and development. The plan calls for caps and cuts to discretionary spending that would affect funds for research, however, the plan specifically requests support for “high-value research”.
The 112th Congress will need to consider the FY 2011 budget as soon as the new session begins on January 5 and will need to balance their considerations with appropriations for FY 2012. Incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner has suggested that discretionary spending for FY2011 be cut by about $100 billion to FY 2008 levels, however, many legislators have publicly stated that such cuts are unlikely to gain passage.
The Senate had initiated FY 2011 omnibus appropriations with a target of $1.108 trillion for total spending as proposed by the McCain-McCaskill cap amendment. This level was $29 billion below the President's FY 2011 budget request. Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies would have received about $58 billion ($6.4 billion less than FY 2010), Energy and Water Development would have received $34.5 billion ($1.05 billion less than FY 2010) and Interior, Environment and Related Agencies would have reeceived $32.2 billion (equal to FY 2010). The omnibus negotiations template may serve as a blueprint for any potential omnibus for FY 2011 appropriations in the 112th Congress. A full year continuing resolution for FY 2011 is also a strong possibility.
Update on Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2011
The energy appropriations measure (S.3635) would provide $5.012 billion for the Office of Science where most basic research by the agency is conducted, $2.288 billion for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and $200 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy – all within the Department of Energy. The Senate committee supports slightly more spending for these programs than the House and both are about $1 billion less than the President’s request.
The science appropriations measure (S.3636) would provide about $5.5 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), $5.006 billion for science within NASA and $7.353 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF). All of these sums represent healthy increases for these programs and are similar to the President’s request and House levels, with the exception of less funding for education at NSF in the Senate appropriations.
U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Full Committee Markup on Subcommittee Spending Guidance and Agriculture Appropriations
The approved top line spending levels for each appropriation bill, called 302(b) allocations, would cut $14 billion from President Obama’s proposed budget for FY2011. Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) originally pushed for $8 billion in cuts, but with pressure from committee Republicans he agreed to cut another $6 billion from the Defense Department’s budget. It is rare for the Chairman to offer subcommittee discretionary spending levels below those approved by the Budget Committee, but the chairman cited the “severe economic difficulties facing the nation” as the reason for the cuts.
Voting on the $1,114.3 billion subcommittee spending guidance followed strict party lines, with the Committee’s 12 Republicans opposing and its 17 Democrats voting in favor on each of the day’s four votes. The unusual display of partisanship on the normally cohesive Committee came amid Republican calls for increased cuts in spending and the majority Democrats holding firm. “I don’t want to see [a] rift on the Committee,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), “I want to work with the other side.” Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R- MS) added that while “we generally have a different view in the two parties about how much we should be spending… this need not fracture the bi-partisan nature of this Committee.”
In the subcommittee spending guidance, the subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies was allocated $60.1 billion, $4.7 billion less than last year’s Senate bill and $400 million less than the president’s request for FY2011. The Agriculture subcommittee was allocated $22.8 billion, $30 million below Obama’s request and about $300 million less than FY2010. The Committee on Energy and Water Development was allocated $34.97 billion, $330 million below Obama’s request and about $130 million more than FY2010. The Committee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies was allocated $32.3 billion about $100 million more than the FY2010 allotment
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies were allocated $141.1 billion and $43.8 billion was allocated to Homeland Security. Homeland Security, which includes allocations for the Coast Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Science and Technology (for homeland security research and development), Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and more. The Committee allocated $169.6 billion to Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.
Within the Agriculture appropriations bill, there were increases in nutrition, farm support, and international food assistance and some decreases in research. The committee press release stated “The bill includes $2.818 billion for USDA research agencies. This is a decrease of $20 million below the fiscal year 2010 enacted level, and $24 million above the President's request. The primary agricultural research agencies, the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) receive $1.251 billion and $1.310 billion respectively. Within NIFA, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative receives an increase of nearly $48 million.”
Update on Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2011
In a flurry of activity on the last four days before the July 4th congressional recess, five House appropriation subcommittees convened to mark-up their appropriation bills. Bills were approved out of the subcommittees for the Legislative Branch, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, State and Foreign Operations, Agriculture and Commerce, Justice and Science.
For science agencies, the House subcommittee approved a budget of $7.424 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF) for fiscal year 2011. This is the same as the president’s request, however, the subcommittee moved some funding from the research account to the education account. For the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the subcommittee approved a budget of $19 billion. This is the same as the president’s request, however, the subcommittee reduced the budget for the Science programs by $300 million, so Science programs would receive $4.7 billion. For the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the subcommittee approved a budget of $5.543 billion, which is essentially the same as the president’s request.
The subcommittee-approved budgets for these science agencies would mean healthy increases compared to fiscal year 2010, however, these budgets still need to be approved by the full committee, the House and the Senate.
More information about the House Committee on Appropriations work on the fiscal year 2011 budget is available at the committee website.
Senate Approves Supplemental Funding
The Senate bill would provide $29 million for the Department of the Interior (DOI) to increase inspections and enforcements related to offshore drilling operations in the Gulf, $5 million for economic development assistance programs, $2 million to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study the environmental impacts of the spill, $10 million for the Justice Department to fund legal expenses, $2 million to the Food and Drug Administration for food safety related to the oil spill, $7 million to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for scientific studies of the oil spill, a $13 million contingency fund through NOAA to help fishermen and fishing businesses affected by the spill and $1 million for a National Academy of Sciences study of the impacts of the oil spill.
Of the $29 million for DOI, $20 million is likely for inspections and oversight of offshore drilling, $7 million for science and $2 million for other activities. Interior has already spent $8 million (as of May 27) and only about $4 million of that is refundable through the Oil Spill Pollution Act. The measure would also allow advances of as much as $100 million from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response.
Separate from the war and oil spill provisions, the Senate measure would provide $18.6 million to repair Mississippi River Corps of Engineers projects damaged by natural disasters, $173 million for various damaged navigational projects, $18.2 million for Department of Labor for mine safety, $18 million for forest restoration initiatives related to national disasters and several hundred million dollars for reimbursement and ongoing relief/response to the Haiti earthquake. Finally, while the Senate version is more conservative, it does include $5.1 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to address various natural disasters, which the House version does not contain.
Senate Committee Passes Budget Resolution
Congress Wrestles With Appropriations
Sources: CQ.com, Congressional Budget Office, House Budget Committee, THOMAS (Library of Congress)
The Budget Process
Below is a diagram of the congressional budget process that first appeared in Following the Budget Process that was published in the March 1996 issue of Geotimes. It is adapted from a diagram developed by the House Budget Committee. Click on the image to open a PDF version.
Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Institute of Physics, E&ENews Publications, House Committee on Appropriations, Library of Congress, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Washington Post, and the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributed by Linda Rowan, AGI Government Affairs
Last updated May 9, 2011