President Biden Releases Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request

On March 28, the President released his fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request with mixed news for the agencies that support behavioral and brain science. This came very late due to significant delays in finalizing the FY22 budget, which passed March 11. The FY23 recommendations were largely based on FY21 enacted funding levels, creating some confusion. It is unclear how this will affect the appropriations process moving forward.

Members of Congress often downplay the importance of the President’s proposal, noting that they have the constitutional authority to determine the federal budget. Nonetheless, it can be used as justification for funding decisions, making some proposed cuts a worrying sign. FABBS works in coalition with the broad scientific advocacy community to assert the vital importance of growth in federal funding for scientific research, sending letters to Congress with budget recommendations. FABBS will continue to engage with the Administration and Congress to support our disciplines in the FY 2023 budget.

Institute of Education Sciences

President Biden requested $662.5 million for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), a substantial funding cut. This illustrates the confusion caused by the delayed FY22 appropriations process; the Administration’s FY23 budget request used FY21 funding levels as a comparison, but IES ultimately received strong funding in FY22. Adding to the complication is a change in the way staffing is accounted for at the Institute

Notwithstanding the process complications, there is real cause for concern. The President’s FY23 budget request for IES is lower than its FY22 request, despite both being based on FY21 numbers.

National Institutes of Health

President Biden requested $49 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which includes a proposed $5 billion for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). Again, this request is lower than the President’s FY22 request for the agency, despite using FY21 appropriations as the basis for both. Nonetheless, this would represent an increase over the $45 billion appropriated for NIH in FY22.

As with IES, the President’s proposal included cuts for individual Institutes at NIH. While this has caused concern in the advocacy community, Acting NIH Director Tabak clarified that “in instances in which spending levels in the President’s Budget for FY2023 are below the appropriations enacted for FY2022, the difference can be explained by the size of the later congressional increase, not the administration’s intent to reduce the funding of NIH ICs”

National Science Foundation

President Biden requested $10.5 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in FY23, a $1.7 billion increase over FY22 and $300 million more than the President’s FY22 request. Unfortunately, NSF received a relatively modest funding increase in FY22 appropriations. This budget request reaffirms the President’s commitment to passing legislation that would authorize major funding increases at NSF as part of broader efforts to boost America’s global competitiveness. 

Department of Defense

President Biden requested just under $2.4 billion for basic research programs at the Department of Defense (DoD) in FY23. This represents a $400 million decrease over FY22 appropriations, but a slight increase over the FY22 budget request (which also called for cuts). This a worrying trend, but so far Congress has continued to support funding increases for DoD research despite the Administration’s calls for cuts.