Appropriators unveiled the FY2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill today. This legislation will provide discretionary funding for the entire federal government for the remainder of the current fiscal year. As drafted, the omnibus package fully respects the contours set in December but adds hundreds of pages in detail, spelling out where the dollars will actually go.
The omnibus contains all 12 regular appropriations bills for FY2014, with no area of the government functioning under a Continuing Resolution (CR). This allows every program to be weighed individually and prioritized. The release of this bill ends more than six weeks of negotiations within the appropriations committees. Leaders in both chambers hope to take quick action on the bill and send it to the President by this weekend.
Even though the omnibus legislation has been released, Congress will enact a short term CR to give both chambers time to take action on the measure. Tomorrow Congress will take action on a 3-day CR, moving the deadline from January 15th to January 18th.
The Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education portion of the omnibus includes $156.8 billion in discretionary funding, which is $100 million below the FY2013 enacted level, and approximately $9 billion below the President’s budget request for these programs. The bill halts any new funding for the Affordable Care Act.
The bill includes $29.9 billion for the NIH, $1 billion above the FY2013 level. This funding will continue support for basic bio-medical research and translational research through the programs like the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) and Institutional Development Award (IDeA) to support scientists as they conduct research to discover cures. Further, it provides full support for the NIH Office of Science Education and programs like the Science Education and Partnership Awards (SEPA) to support bio-medical research for the future.
The maximum Pell Grant award is increased to $5,730, funded by a combination of discretionary and mandatory funds.
The bill denies the Administration’s Preschool Development Grants and Race to the Top College Affordability programs. Instead, the bill makes targeted investments in an existing program for states to improve access to high-quality, early childhood education.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is funded at $17.6 billion in the bill, an increase of $120 million above the FY2013 enacted level. Within this total, $4.1 billion is provided for Exploration, including funding to keep NASA on schedule for upcoming Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Space Launch System flight program milestones.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is funded at $850 million, which is $41 million above the FY2013 enacted level. Within this total, important core research activities are funded to help advance U.S. competitiveness, innovation, and economic growth.
The legislation contains $5.3 billion for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is $310 million above the base FY2013 enacted level, excluding supplemental funding. This includes funding for the National Weather Service to provide critical weather information to the public, and for various weather satellites essential to maintaining and improving weather forecasts and warnings.
The legislation funds the National Science Foundation (NSF) at $7.2 billion, a decrease of $82 million below the FY2013 enacted level. This funding is targeted to programs that help strengthen U.S. innovation and economic competitiveness, including funding for an advanced manufacturing science initiative, and for research in cybersecurity and cyber- infrastructure.
The measure includes $1.9 billion for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programs – placing priority on advanced manufacturing and weatherization assistance. This funding will make responsible investments in effective and proven programs, while holding the line on irresponsible increases in other areas. This total is $874 million – or 32% – below the President’s request.
The bill includes $5.1 billion for science research, an increase of $195 million (4%) above the FY2013 enacted level. This funding will help strengthen innovation and advance future American competitiveness by supporting basic energy research, development of high-performance computing systems, and research into the next generation of clean energy sources. Within this amount, the bill restores many of the cuts to the fusion energy program that the President had proposed.
In total, the Defense portion of the Omnibus is $486.9 billion, virtually the same as the current operating level. The bill contains $63.0 billion – $6.9 billion below the FY2013 enacted level – for research, development, test, and evaluation of new defense technologies (basic and applied research, system development, and testing).
Read more about the omnibus bill here.