Federal Relations

House Appropriations Committee Releases Three Bills

The House Appropriations Committee released three appropriations bills for FY 15, or a quarter of the annual appropriations measures, today. The bills released were: Legislative Affairs (HR 4487); Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (HR 4486); and Commerce, Justice and Science.

The bills are expected to marked up by the House Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The full House is expected to pass the Legislative Affairs and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bills on Thursday.

The draft released today that would fund the Commerce Department, Justice Department and science agencies through fiscal 2015 and expand on recent increases for law enforcement and space exploration  is a $51.2 billion spending bill.

Overall, the measure represents a $398 million cut from current funding, even as it provides notable boosts in targeted areas.

The Justice Department, the biggest recipient of funds in the bill, would receive $27.8 billion, a $383 million increase from current funding, according to a committee overview. The Commerce Department would receive $8.4 billion, a $171 million boost.

NASA, the largest component of the science funding, would get $17.9 billion, an increase of $250 million from fiscal 2014. The National Science Foundation would get $7.4 billion in fiscal 2015, a $237 million increase compared to fiscal 2014.

To cut costs, the bill “eliminates several existing programs for a savings of over $250 million, and $469 million in unused prior-year funding is rescinded,” according to the committee overview.

Other points of interest:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $17.9 billion in the bill, which is $250 million above the 2014 enacted level. This funding includes: $5.2 billion for NASA Science programs – $42 million above the 2014 enacted level. This includes funding above the President’s request for planetary science to ensure the continuation of critical research and development programs.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – NIST is funded at $856 million in the bill, which is $5.8 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $44.2 million below the President’s request. Within this total, important core research activities are funded at $671 million to help advance U.S. competitiveness, innovation, and economic growth, and improve cyber security. The bill also includes $130 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, which provides training and technical assistance to U.S. manufacturers in order to boost growth in this important sector of our economy.”

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – The legislation contains $5.3 billion for NOAA, virtually equal to the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. Within this total, National Weather Service operations and systems are funded above the President’s request, denying proposed cuts to hurricane forecasting and tsunami warning grants. The bill includes full funding for the Joint Polar Satellite System weather satellite program and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite to help maintain and improve weather forecasting to warn communities about potentially devastating natural disasters.”

National Science Foundation (NSF) – The legislation funds NSF at $7.4 billion, an increase of $237 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. This funding is targeted to programs that foster innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness, including funding for research on advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, neuroscience and STEM education.

As these measures continue through the Appropriations process, the Office of Federal Relations will continue to monitor them.