House and Senate Appropriators are cranking out bills, but most haven’t reached the floor.
Although the House and/or Senate may approve some spending bills this month, experts predict that Congress is unlikely to clear many, or perhaps any, Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 appropriations bills before Election Day. For a bill to be “cleared” it must pass the House and Senate in the same form and be ready for the President’s signature. Before FY 2013 begins on Oct. 1, Congress will need to clear a stopgap funding measure called a continuing resolution (CR).
President Obama has vowed to veto any cleared spending bill that holds to the House-passed level of discretionary spending. The House agreed in its budget to a spending target of $1.028 trillion, or $19 billion below the agreement reached last summer between the House and Senate in the Budget Control Act. So the stage is set for a summer and fall of spending (or spending reduction) drama.
House Republican leaders have said that three spending bills may be considered during July: the Defense, Agriculture and Financial Services appropriations bills, with Defense being the most likely to reach the floor. While six other bills have passed in the House so far, none of the twelve spending bills has yet reached the Senate floor.
APA pays particular attention to the bills funding science agencies:
- The Commerce-Justice-Science bill, which includes the National Science Foundation (NSF), has passed the House and has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Although neither the House nor the Senate provided the President's request for NSF, $7.373 billion, both the House and the Senate recommended increased funding over the FY 2012 level. The House provided $7.332 billion, close to a $300 million boost over FY 2012. The Senate number was slightly lower at $7.272 billion.
- The Labor-Health and Human Services-Education bill has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee but the House Committee has not yet released a draft bill. For FY 2013, the Senate bill would provide $30.7 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $100 million over FY 2012 and the President's request. The Senate Committee provided $189.8 million for the Institute for Education Sciences (within the Dept. of Education), the same as in FY 2012, and $12.5 million below the President's request for education research, development, and national dissemination activities.
- The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved their respective FY 2013 spending bills for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In both bills the Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) account received substantial increases over FY 2012. The Senate Committee recommended $478 million, the same as the President's request, and the House Committee $405.6 million. The FY 2012 figure was $265.8 million. DHS funds research on Cyber-Security, Radicalization, and Counter-Terrorism, and includes a university-based programs account for Centers of Excellence.