Congress Returns; Subcommittees Begin Marking Up Spending Legislation
After a two-week spring recess, Congress is back in session and is moving ahead on fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending. As COSSA has reported, many agency leaders have already testified in front of appropriations subcommittees, with more expected in the coming weeks. Additionally, agency leaders important to the social and behavioral science enterprise, including leaders from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are expected to testify in front of committees with authorization jurisdiction over their agencies in the next month.
Appropriations subcommittees are also moving quickly on drafting spending bills, with the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill scheduled to be considered in subcommittee on April 30. This bill, the largest of the non-defense appropriations bills, is responsible for funding the NIH, Department of Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics, among many other agencies. Less controversial bills, including those that fund the Legislative Branch and the Department of Veterans Affairs will be marked up soon after.
Although Congress is moving swiftly on FY 2020 funding, leaders have yet to reach a compromise on raising the discretionary spending caps put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011. These spending caps must be raised before FY 2020 spending can be finalized.
COSSA has issued an action alert urging members to write to their Members of Congress to tell them to prioritize a budget deal that gives fair treatment to vital non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs—including science and research agencies—which have disproportionately borne the brunt of federal spending cuts over the past several years.