By Morgan Disbrow-Monz, GSA Science Policy Fellow
On March 15, 2022, more than five months into the fiscal year, President Biden signed a $1.5 trillion fiscal year 2022 (FY222) omnibus spending deal into law. Since the October 1 start of the fiscal year, Congress has passed a series of continuing resolutions, which allowed the government to remain open and operational while financial priorities were debated, finally releasing the omnibus package containing all 12 appropriations bills on March 9.
The omnibus package provides an increase in funding for all science agencies; however, most spending increases fall short of levels proposed by the Biden administration and congressional appropriators. Additionally, budget increases will not go as far this year due to the highest inflation rates in 40 years and the return of earmarks, which direct funds to specific external projects. Overall, the omnibus bill provides a 6.7% increase for nondefense funding and a 5.6% increase for defense funding. The deal reached by Congress – after initial appropriations bills had been released — provided a greater increase for defense funding than that proposed by the Biden administration, without increasing the overall budget. Therefore, nondefense funding was scaled back in the final package, which is why overall increases for scientific agencies ended up being lower than initially anticipated.
The remainder of this post highlights a few agencies of particular interest to GSA members. It is important to note that these numbers do not include any money allocated through H.R.3684 The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was signed into law in November.
National Science Foundation
- The NSF budget will be $8.8 billion in FY22, which is a 4.1% increase from FY21, but well below the request from the Biden administration and the House and Senate marks. Existing programs will likely see smaller increases as some of the funding will go to a new directorate focused on Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP).
National Aeronautics Space Administration
- The NASA budget will be $24.0 billion, which is a 3.3% increase from FY21. The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) received a 4.3% increase, which included a 16% increase to Planetary Sciences, accommodating the full request for both the Mars Sample Return Mission as well as the Lunar Exploration Mission. NASA Earth Science received a 3.1% increase, in line with the overall budget increase, but well below the 12.5% increase requested from the Biden administration.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- The NOAA budget will be $5.9 billion, which is an 8% increase from FY21 and is significantly below the President’s request and the House and Senate proposals. Specifically, the NOAA budget for the Office of Atmospheric and Oceanic Research will be $648 million, which is only a 6% increase from FY21 and well below the 34% increase requested by the Biden administration. A significant amount of this funding will be allocated to climate research with a focus on climate laboratories, institutions, and adaptation and resilient infrastructure, all in an effort to manage climate hazard risk and facilitate coordinated research efforts.
United States Geological Survey
- The USGS budget will be set at $1.4 billion, which is a 6% increase from FY21. These funds will be divided among its Energy and Mineral Resources, Water Resources, Natural Hazards, and Ecosystems Mission Areas, with a focus on addressing climate change and research and development that supports economic growth. Notably, within the Natural Hazards Program, $90 million will be allotted to the Earthquake Hazards Program, $42 million for Coastal/Marine Hazards and Resources, and $33 million for the Volcano Hazards Program.
Department of Energy Office of Science
- The DOE Office of Science budget will receive $7.5 billion, which is a 6% increase from FY21 and slightly higher than the amount requested by the Biden administration. All of its six main research programs will receive increased funding, with Nuclear Physics and Biological and Environmental Research receiving the largest increase.
National Institute of Standards and Technology
- The NIST budget will be $1.2 billion, which is a 20% increase from FY21. While this seems like a large increase, if earmarks are excluded from the topline numbers, the increase is only 3%. Much of this funding will be allocated to artificial intelligence, building standards, cybersecurity, greenhouse gas measurements and forensic science.
The delay in FY22 appropriations has also pushed back the process for FY23. Typically, the budget season begins with the release of the president’s budget request in early February, but the FY23 budget has not yet been released. Congressional appropriators are already moving ahead, and GSA is submitting testimony on key agencies.