As Congress returns this week (the Senate reconvened on Tuesday while the House comes back on the 11th) after the August recess, there remains significant work to pass the FY24 appropriations bills. In order to prevent a government shut down on September 30th when funding ends, Congress needs to either pass the 12 appropriations bills or pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR) which keeps spending at its current levels so that Congress can have more time to pass the bills this fall. Leaders in both chambers have signaled agreement that a continuing resolution will be necessary to allow more time, but it is unclear if the CR will include additional policy provisions that could endanger its passage.
Where we’re at right now: The Senate has marked up and passed all 12 of its spending bills out of committee but none have been considered yet on the Senate floor. Senate leadership has signaled that they may bring them to the Senate floor this week. The House has marked up and passed in committee 10 of its spending bills but have not considered any on the House floor yet. The House still needs to markup the Labor-HHS-Education bill and Commerce-Justice-Science bill – both of which are important to UW and the higher education community. The Senate is using topline numbers agreed upon in the debt deal brokered earlier this year, while House Republicans have been using a lower number which means that there will be significant work required to reach any agreement. The debt deal brokered earlier this year includes a 1 percent across-the-board funding cut that would take effect next year if the government is still operating under any kind of short-term CR.
Read more about this here and view our FY24 Appropriations tracker here.
Late last week the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released their annual budget planning memo FY2025-OMB-OSTP-RD-Budget-Priorities-Memo.pdf (whitehouse.gov). The memo emphasizes that federal research and development is integral to the just, vibrant, and ambitious future that America seeks and identifies key priority highlights including: AI, Global Security, Climate Research, Improving Health Outcomes, Reducing Barriers and Inequities, and Bolstering Industrial Innovation. The memo states that funding choices will be required given constrained discretionary funding caps, emphasizing that agencies should clearly state how funding relates to these key priorities.
Congress left for its annual August recess without passing any of its 12 fiscal year (FY) 2024 appropriations bills, creating an uncertain outlook for how the process will proceed this fall. While the Senate Appropriations Committee approved all 12 of its bills, the House Appropriations Committee moved only 10 of its 12 measures, withholding full committee markup of the Commerce, Justice, and Science and Labor-Health and Human Services-Education bills. Further complicating the prospects for action on final FY 2024 spending measures is that the House and Senate committees are marking up their bills using different topline discretionary spending numbers — the Senate using the full amount allowed by the recent debt ceiling agreement and the House voluntarily using a lower topline level. It remains to be seen how the two chambers will reconcile these differences, with a continuing resolution (CR) almost certain to be necessary to keep the government functioning prior to the start of FY 2024 on October 1. Negotiations over final FY 2024 spending bills are likely to extend late into the calendar year, if not into 2024. In the meantime, follow along with the process using our FY24 appropriations tracker, linked here.
By clearing the last four bills yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee has reported out all 12 spending bills for a fiscal year for the first time in five years. The committee reported out favorably yesterday the following FY2024 spending measures: Labor-HHS-Education; Defense; Interior and the Environment; and Homeland Security. Unlike the situation in the House, where the leadership had to pull the Agriculture spending bill from a floor vote because it lacked enough support even among the Republicans, the committee process in the Senate yesterday was very bipartisan. The Interior bill passed by a vote of 28 – 0, the Defense bill was approved 27 – 1, the Labor-HHS bill was adopted 26 – 2, and the vote was 24 – 4 on the Homeland Security legislation.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
The Senate legislation would fund the National Institutes of Health at a total of $47.8 billion, an increase of $943 million above the current level. The total includes $1.5 billion for ARPA-H, which represents level funding under the Senate version of the bill. Within the NIH, the bill would increase, among other programs, mental health and Alzheimer’s research by $100 million each and while cancer research would see an increase of $60 million.
- Title VII Health Professions and Title VIII Nursing Programs
The legislation proposes to fund the Title VII Health Professions programs at a total of $529 million, an increase of $20 million.
At the same time, the Title VIII Nursing programs would see a total of $302.5 million, a $2-million increase over this year.
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
- Student Aid and Higher Education
- Pell Grant– The maximum award would increase by $250 to $7,645
- SEOG– $900 million (a decrease of $10 million)
- Federal Work Study– $1.22 billion (a decrease of $10 million)
- International Education– $85.7 million (level funded)
- TRIO– $1.19 billion (level funded)
- GEAR UP– $338 million (level funded)
- GAANN– $23.5 million (level funded)
- Institute of Education Sciences (IES)
- IES would be funded at $793 million, a cut of $14.5 million
- Climate Adaptation Science Centers– $63.1 million (level funded)
- ShakeAlert– $29.6 million (level funded)
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES
- $207 million (level funded)
Under the committee-approved bill, defense basic research would be see an increase of 10.5 percent for a total of $3.22 billion.
- Army basic research: $672.5 million (an increase of 5.8%)
- Navy basic research: $793.5 million (an increase of 15.2%)
- Air Force basic research: $711.9 million (an increase of 16.3%)
- Defense-wide basic research: $862.3 million (a decrease of 7.0%)
- DARPA: $4.1 billion (0.7% increase)
Both chambers are now in recess until after Labor Day.
Congress returned this week for a three-week blitz before the August recess, with the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and FY24 spending bills on the list of priorities. The Senate Armed Services Committee released its version of the FY24 NDAA which will likely be considered on the floor next week. The House has also released its version which is teed up for floor consideration as well. There are hundreds of amendments that were filed that will need to be worked through. Some amendments target research security which UW and the higher education community are monitoring.
House Armed Services Committee staff is maintaining a floor amendment tracker, which will include vote outcomes, here.