Federal FY 2015 spending bill goes to president’s desk

So what’s in the 1600-plus pages for science and research?

The House and Senate have passed the bill that provides fiscal year 2015 funding to most of the government through Sept. 30, 2015. H. R. 83 , often called the “cromnibus,” includes a three-month continuing resolution, or “CR,” for the Homeland Security bill that funds immigration. The House majority, and new Senate majority, wanted an early opportunity to shape federal immigration policy, so a new Homeland Security bill will be one of the early actions when the 114th Congress convenes in January.

As a founding member of the Consortium of Social Science Associations, APA has access to COSSA's excellent analyses and products. We are glad to share with our readers this terrific summary of H.R. 83's science provisions and how behavioral and social science will fare for the remainder of fiscal year 2015. Thanks, COSSA!

OK, we know you are in a hurry and don't want to read the entire report (although you should) so here are some highlights:

  • H.R. 83 provides $30.1 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $150 million over the FY 2014 funding level. While the individual institutes and centers (ICs) received proportionate increases, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) received $25 million in additional funding for its Alzheimer's disease research initiative.
  • The bill language of the agreement provides $165 million for the NIH National Children's Study, “or research related to the Study's goals and mission, and any funds in excess of the estimated need shall be transferred to and merged with the accounts for the various Institutes and Centers to support activity related to the goals and objectives of the NCS.” You may have seen theannouncement (PDF, 761KB) that NIH Director Francis Collins cancelled the NCS on Dec. 12, 2014, so those funds remain in the director's office to be used for research.
  • H.R. 83 provides the National Science Foundation (NSF) with a total budget of $7.34 billion, which is an increase of 2.4 percent over the FY 2014 enacted level. Despite efforts by a select few in the House this year to single-out NSF's Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE), the final bill does not include language cutting SBE.
  • Within the U.S. Department of Education, the bill provides $573.9 million for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), a decrease of about $3 million or 0.5 percent below the FY 2014 level and $63 million less than the president's request. Each budget line under IES (i.e. research, statistics, special education studies, etc.) received flat budgets with the exception of the assessment line which was cut by 2.1 percent. (Following the 2013 sequester, assessments in United States history, civics and geography for 4th and 12th graders were indefinitely postponed and have not yet been rescheduled).

We wish happy holidays and a bright new year to our readers! The blog will be back in 2015.