A Periodic Federal Science Update

Summary of Draft FY 2019 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Bill Released — The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill which is to be marked up tomorrow (Wednesday May 9 at 5PM). The bill funds the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the decennial census, and other related programs. The legislation contains $62.5 billion in total discretionary funding, an increase of $2.9 billion above the fiscal year 2018 level. The bill provides increases for federal law enforcement to crack down on illegal immigration, violent crime, gangs and opioid trafficking. The bill targets funding increases for national security – including countering cybercrime, terrorism and espionage. Funds are included to continue investments in space exploration, advance groundbreaking science, enhance school safety, and provide adequate resources for the upcoming decennial census.  Most of the detail on proposed funding for specific programs or activities in agencies (i.e. Sea Grant) is not expected to be available until the bill moves to the full Committee for mark up.  A date for full Committee mark up of the FY 2019 CJS Appropriations bill has not yet been announced.  Below is some summary information released by the Committee this evening.

National Science Foundation (NSF) -- The legislation funds NSF at $8.2 billion – $408 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $700 million more than requested by the Administration. Research and related activities are funded at $6.7 billion, $317 million above the current level and $550 million more than requested. These funds will foster innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness, including funding for research on advanced manufacturing, physics, mathematics, cybersecurity, neuroscience, and STEM education. The bill also invests in important scientific infrastructure such as modernization of Antarctica facilities along with telescopes and research vessels.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – The legislation contains $5.2 billion for NOAA, which is $751 million below the fiscal year 2018 level but $640 million more than requested by the Administration. Funding is targeted to the National Weather Service, the reduction of harmful algal blooms, fisheries management, weather research, and ocean exploration while reducing funds for lower-priority programs and one-time investments made in fiscal year 2018.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $21.5 billion, $810 million above the 2018 enacted level. This funding includes: $5.1 billion for Deep Space Exploration Systems – $294 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. This includes funding to continue the development of the Orion crew vehicle, Space Launch System, and related ground systems; The bill includes $6.7 billion for NASA Science programs – $459 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. This targets funding to planetary and other sciences to ensure the continuation of scientific missions. The bill funds the requested amounts for robotic and human exploration of the moon, including $504.2 million for the lunar orbital platform; $116.5 million for advanced lunar and surface capabilities; $218 million for planetary science, including rovers and science instruments; and $150 million for commercial low-earth orbit development.