Welcome to Federal Policy Week, a blog that covers federal policy developments in education, research, science, agriculture, immigration, energy, environment, natural resources, and intellectual property. 

To subscribe for Federal Policy Week enter your email address under the “Follow” label at the upper left section of the page.  You will receive a verification email to confirm your subscription.  Thank you!

The President released his budget this week, approximately two months late.  The FY14 President’s Budget Request (PBR) takes a compromise approach to cutting spending for discretionary and entitlement programs and increasing taxes; as a result, the reviews are mixed and no one is completely satisfied.  All budget documents, including tables, summaries, descriptors, and historical information are available on the here on White House website.

This posting will focus on budget funding proposals for Departments, agencies, and programs that fund areas covered by Federal Policy Week. Future postings will discuss policy specifics as they emerge for discussion in DC. At the end of the posting, find links to articles on the budget and selected press releases.

Below is a compilation from various sources, including OSTP, AAU and the various agency budgets listed.

OSTP released a summary of federal R&D funding in the FY14 PBR, which amounts to s $142.8 billion (half defense) and of that total, the Federal research investment (comprising basic and applied research, or the “R” in “R&D”) totals $68.1 billion, up $4.8 billion or 7.5 percent compared to the 2012 enacted level.   A bit of the breakdown is as follows:

NIH: The NIH budget (as part of HHS) for FY14 is $31.3 billion for NIH, an increase of $471 million or 1.5 percent over the 2012 funding level. The 2014 Budget continues to support basic and applied biomedical research across a broad range of scientific and health opportunities, including delivering on the Administration’s commitment to enhanced investment in Alzheimer’s research. The Budget will increase focus on research that aims to increase understanding of the brain, improve the clinical trials network, and enhance the development of new therapeutics to treat diseases and disorders that affect millions of Americans.

NSF: The NSF budget request is $7,625.78 billion, of which $6.2 B is for research activities and $880 M is for educational activities and $210 M for facilities and construction.  There is also funding for the BRAIN Initiative. This is an increase over FY13 funding levels. Acting Director Marrett’s presentation discusses the budget and justifications for it’s funding.  The funding breaks down by directorate:

  • Biological Sciences (BIO): $761 M
  • Computer and Information Science & Engineering (CISE): $950 M
  • Engineering: $911 M
  • Geosciences (GEO): $1.394 B
  • Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS): $1.386 B
  • Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE): $272 M
  • International and Integrative Activities (ILA): $537 M
  • Arctic: $1.4 M

The budget creates a new program on undergraduate STEM education for $123 million.  Consolidating the STEM education programs across the federal government at NSF forms this new program.  The PBR also includes $325 million for graduate research fellowships.

Energy: The DOE budget request (see highlights if other is not online yet) for FY14 is $28.4 B, of which NNSA is $11.65B, Energy and Environment is $10.3 B, Science is $5.1 B, and ARPA-E is $379 M.  The R&D portfolio totals $12.7 billion, an increase of $1.9 billion or 18 percent over the 2012 enacted level. Deputy Secretary Poneman’s briefing provides highlights of the budget. Some additional details include:

Energy and Environment:

Defense: The PBR proposes $68.3 billion for DOD research, development, test and evaluation activities, including $12 billion for the science and technology program and $2.9 billion for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.  This is a $4.6 billion decrease from the 2012 funding level, from matured programs. Like NSF and NIH, DOD via DARPA plans to invest in the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative. The  budget provides support for basic research (“6.1”) at $2.1 billion, with a focus on high-priority areas such as cybersecurity, robotics, advanced learning, “big data,” cleaner and more efficient energy, advanced manufacturing, and biodefense.

Education: The ED budget request is for $71.2 billion, of which $22.8 billion is for discretionary Pell Grant funds (and another $7 billion in mandatory Pell Grant funding is also available).  The budget reflects the following Administration priorities: universal pre-K for low and moderate-income four-year-olds; K-12 “reforms” based on Race to the Top Initiative to focus on testing and assessments; STEM education; teacher improvement; school safety; college affordability; and, extra resources for communities of concentrated poverty.   The budget also includes other notable requests including:

  • $1 billion Race-to-the-Top competitive grants program for higher education reform.
  • $260 million First in the World fund to reduce college costs and boost graduation rates.
  • $73.5 M for International Education and Foreign Language Studies (IEFLS), an increase from $66.6 M to, with all the increase in the domestic program.
  • Funding for the goal of educating 100,000 effective STEM teachers over the next decade.

NASA: The NASA budget request is $17.715 billion, which is a decrease form previous years.  Administrator Bolden’s statement mentions the new initiative to “mission to identify, capture and relocate an asteroid.” The budget does not back down on incorporating climate change science as a mission, something that may be controversial when Congress reauthorizes the NASA Authorization Act.  The breakdown is as follows:

NEH:   The NEH budget request totals $154 M broken down as follows:

  • Endowment’s grant programs in support of excellent projects in the humanities, including $43,432,000 for the operations, projects, and programs of the 56 state and territorial humanities councils;
  • $9,000,000 to support NEH’s special initiative—Bridging Cultures—that will enhance Americans’ understanding of the nation’s rich cultural heritage, as well as the cultural complexity of the world in which we live;
  • $11,250,000 in federal matching funds, including funds for the NEH Challenge Grants program to help stimulate and match private donations in support of humanities institutions and organizations; and
  • $27,398,000 for salaries and expenses needed to operate the agency.

Interior: The Interior Budget totals $11.9 billion (documents by agency), with $963 million for R&D, an increase of $143 million over the 2012 enacted level, to invest in science to support activities related to decision-making for resource management and trust responsibilities.  The budget includes $771.6 million for conventional and renewable energy programs, an increase of $97.5 million above 2012 and $71.7 million for climate science programs. The budget contains policy proposals that impact leading of federal lands, recreational fees, and exploration and extraction fees.  Agencies that are part of under Interior have the following proposed budget levels:

EPA: The EPA budget totals $8.1 billion dollars, with R&D funding totaling $560 million. The high-priority research areas include: potential endocrine disrupting chemicals, green chemistry, green infrastructure, computational toxicology, and drinking water. Additional proposals include:

  • $14 million for collaborating with USGS and DOE on the impacts of using hydraulic fracturing.
  • $176.5 million for the agency’s work with partners and stakeholders to provide information and tools to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
  • $175 million to meet its court-ordered deadlines to develop, implement and review statutorily mandated ambient air quality standards and guidance and air toxics regulations.
  • EPA is requesting an increase of $15 million in Clean Water Act Section 106 Water Pollution Control grant funding to support states, interstate agencies and tribes that commit to strengthening their nutrient management efforts.

Commerce:  The Commerce budget proposal is $8.6 billion.  The proposed funding for key Commerce agencies is below:

  • PTO:  The budget proposal provides full spending authority for the $3.1 billion the PTO expects to receive in fees.
  • NOAA: The NOAA budget equals $5.4 billion in appropriations, including $733 million for R&D, strengthens support for critical weather satellite programs, Earth observations, and NOAA’s other core science and stewardship responsibilities. The budget provides $2.0 billion to continue the development of polar-orbiting and geostationary weather satellite systems, as well as satellite-borne measurements of sea level and potentially damaging solar storms.
  • NIST: The NIST budget is $928 million, with $754 million for NIST’s intramural laboratories, a 21 percent increase over the 2012 enacted level and $21 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia program, a public-private partnership that supports innovative approaches to addressing common manufacturing challenges faced by American businesses.
  • National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI):  The proposal includes $1 billion for the NNMI, which will allow Commerce to partner with businesses and communities to create manufacturing innovation institutes across the U.S. that invest in cutting-edge manufacturing technologies to boost the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing and support American workers.

USDA.  The Ag budget totals$145.8 billion, of which discretionary spending is $21.5 billion.  The total R&D increases $192 million to $2.5, including $383 million for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s key competitive research program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

Some other smaller agencies funding includes:

Selected Articles on the Budget:

  1. The Washington Post – Reactions to Education Policies and Funding.
  2. The NY Times – Budget Highlights.
  3. The Washington Post – Blog on Budget.
  4. Bloomberg – Budget and Climate.
  5. WSJ – Domestic Spending and Taxes.
  6. Salon – Budget Critics.
  7. SF Chronicle – Agency Summaries
  8. Politico – Agency Summaries.
  9. CS Monitor – Education.
  10. 10.  Chronicle of Higher Ed – Higher Ed Reactions.
  11. 11. – NASA budget Reactions.
  12. 12.  Live Science – Research and Science.
  13. 13.  Nature – Science Agencies.

What Selected groups are saying about the PBR:  Below are links to groups’ statements on the PBR for FY14.

  1. APLU – Priorities of higher education.
  2. AAU – Priorities of higher education (download from front page under “What’s New?”)
  3. ACE – Higher Education related statement.
  4. NEA – Education, Health Care, and seniors.
  5. EDF – “Race to the Top” Energy Proposal.
  6. Sustainable Agriculture: Agriculture, EPA & FDA.
  7. AAAS – Science and Engineering; Research; STEM education.
  8. Chamber of Commerce – Taxes and spending.
  9. NRDC – Environment, Climate.

10. Solar Energy – Renewables.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s