House Science Committee Approves NSF Spending in Reconciliation Package
On September 9, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee met to pass a set of spending recommendations that allocate $45.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2022 spending as part of the House Democrats’ wide-reaching “Build Back Better” plan. The $3.5 trillion in total proposed spending (over 5-10 years) would be passed as part of the budget reconciliation process (which removes several procedural hurdles to passing such legislation) and would be in addition to regular FY 2022 appropriations (see COSSA’s analysis of the House’s FY 2022 appropriations bills here).
The Science Committee’s recommendations would provide the National Science Foundation (NSF) with a total of $11.03 billion in additional funding over 10 years. The total includes $3.43 billion for infrastructure, $7.55 billion for research and development, and $50 million for oversight. According to the Committee Print, the R&D funding could be used to:
“fund or extend new and existing research awards, scholarships, and fellowships across all science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and STEM education disciplines, to fund use-inspired and translational research and development awards, entrepreneurial education, and technology transfer activities, to extend existing research awards and scholarships and fellowships to aid in the recovery from COVID-19 related disruptions, and for related administrative expenses”
Within the total, $400 million would be reserved for climate change research, including relating to wildfires and $700 million would be set aside for research at minority-serving institutions. In addition, $25 million was allocated to support the Office of Research Security and Policy through an amendment proposed by Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL). A number of other proposed amendments related to NSF failed to pass during the markup, including to set aside funds specifically to assist with COVID-19 disruptions to research, to prohibit any funds from being spent to conduct research in China, and to earmark funds for a study on the economic impacts of inflation. The Committee Print was passed along party lines. Other committees in the House are working to pass their own sets of recommendations relating to their jurisdictions. House leaders have committed to bringing the package to the floor by September 27. The Senate is working on its own reconciliation package but has not yet released details.