Budget Update

March 29, 2019

The budget process is in full swing on Capitol Hill. Earlier this week, House Appropriations subcommittees held numerous hearings with federal agency leadership including the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education. The tone of the two hearings could not have been more different. Dr. France Cordova was warmly received when she provided testimony to the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations subcommittee. Committee members from both sides of the aisle expressed appreciation for her leadership and intentions to provide more money to NSF. Down the hall, Secretary Betsy DeVos had a very different experiencetestifying before the Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee. In opening comments, Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) scolded DeVos for her stewardship of the Department and her ‘irresponsible’ budget proposal. In expressing her displeasure with cuts to the Department of Education, Chair DeLauro mentioned specific concerns regarding cuts to the Institutes for Education Sciences. Secretary DeVos testified in the Senate on March 28.

Hearings will continue next week with NIH scheduled for April 2 in the House and the following week in the Senate. FABBS has been meeting with congressional staff to express support for strong funding for agencies funding behavioral and brain sciences.

Leadership of the House Appropriations Committee has expressed a desire to bring bills to the House floor for votes in June. This is a very ambitious timeline. For many years, the appropriations bill funding the National Institutes of Health, referred to as the Labor H bill, was last in line and rarely reached the House floor. Last year, appropriators paired Labor H with the appropriations bill funding defense, moving both bills through the process and saving NIH from being part of the partial shut down.

FABBS continues to collaborate with the broad scientific community to encourage Congress to raise budget caps and maintain parity in spending on defense and nondefense discretionary budgets. In addition to lending our name to letters, FABBS led a team for the Coalition for Health Funding advocacy day, meeting with offices to explain the need for health funding and encouraging them to raise the caps.

Furthermore, we encourage FABBS members to take action thanks to opportunities provided by the Research!America 2019 Raise the Caps campaign. Please take a moment to express your support for raising the caps. The campaign provides some easy tools to quickly communicate:

  1. Tweet to your representatives in Congress and keep tweeting.  Use the hashtag #RaisetheCaps and be sure to tag @FABBS.
  2. Email your members of Congress.