June 3, 2019

House Spending Bills Boost Science Funding: Part 2

Posted by Caitlin Bergstrom

Before leaving for the Memorial Day recess, the House Committee on Appropriations finished consideration of the major science funding bills. We reviewed several spending bills already in part one of our budget breakdown. In this post, we’ll take a deeper dive into the spending bill that funds the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

FY19 FY20 President’s Budget Request (PBR) FY20 House Appropriations Percent Change House FY20 vs FY19 Percent Change House FY20 vs FY20 PBR
Overall $5,424.70 $4,466.47 $5,478.97 1.00% 22.67%
National Ocean Service $588.00 $391.60 $650.00 10.54% 65.99%
National Marine and Fisheries Service $909.00 $842.70 $944.65 3.92% 12.30%
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research $566.00 $335.10 $644.39 13.85% 92.30%
National Weather Service $1,163.00 $1,081.90 $1,212.68 4.27% 12.09%


$1,700.00 $1,472.70 $1,500.03 -11.76% 1.86%
Mission Support $292.21 $262.20 $315.67 8.03% 20.39%
Office of Marine & Aviation Operations $326.00 $354.90 $347.49 6.59% -2.09%

Highlights from Bill and Committee Report:

  • The decrease to NESDIS reflects a planned reduction in funding as NOAA’s flagship weather satellite programs enter the operational phase.
  • The Committee requests:
    • $186.5 million for Climate Research and “commends the scientists and researchers at NOAA for their exemplary work in preparing the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA)
    • Funding for both the Commercial Weather Data Pilot and Commercial Data Purchase.
    • Increased funding for the National Sea Grant College Program by $5 million over FY19 levels
    • $38.6 million for Space Weather Follow-On.
  • “The Committee encourages NOAA … implement a program that competitively awards prizes … to stimulate innovation to advance the understanding, research, or monitoring of ocean acidification and it’s impacts, or to develop management or adaptation options for responding to ocean acidification.”
  • The report reaffirms the importance of the National Weather Service to protecting life and property, despite the growth of the private weather industry.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

FY19 FY20 PBR FY20 House Appropriations Percent Change House FY20 vs FY19 Percent Change House FY20 vs FY20 PBR
Overall $21,500.00 $21,000.00 $22,320.00 3.81% 6.29%
Science Mission Directorate $6,905.70 $6,303.70 $7,161.30 3.70% 13.60%
Earth Science $1,931.00 $1,780.00 2,023.10 4.77% 13.66%
Planetary Science $2,758.00 $2,600.00 2,713.40 -1.62% 4.36%
Heliophysics $720.00 $705.00 704.5 -2.15% -0.07%
James Webb Space Telescope $304.50 $353.00 352.6 15.80% -0.11%
STEM Engagement $110.00 $0.00 $123.00 11.82% 123%

Highlights from Bill and Committee Report:

  • The report rejects the Administration’s proposal to eliminate the Carbon Monitoring System, Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE), and Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) Pathfinder missions.
  • The Committee requests:
    • Up to $205.2 million for NASA’s Earth Venture Class Missions
    • $592.6 million for a Jupiter Europa orbiter, directs NASA to use the Space Launch System (SLS) as the launch vehicles for the Jupiter Europa missions, and sets 2023 as the target date to launch the orbiter and 2025 to launch the lander. Additionally, the bill requires NASA to include in its FY2021 budget “the 5-year funding profile necessary to achieve these goals.”
    • $570 million for the Mars Explorer Program to ensure the development of a sample return mission to be launched in 2026.
    • $25 million for EPSCOR within STEM Engagement (previous NASA Education), and $48 million for the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program.
  • The Committee funds Heliophysics at the Administration’s requested level.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

FY19 FY20 PBR FY20 House Appropriations Percent Change House FY20 vs FY19 Percent Change House FY20 vs FY20 PBR
Overall $8,075.00 $7,066.00 $8,636.14 6.95% 22.22%
Research & Related Activities $6,520.00 $5,662.96 $7,106.30 8.99% 25.49%
Education & Human Resources $910.00 $823.47 $950.00 4.40% 15.37%
Major Research Equipment & Facilities $295.74 $223.23 $223.23 -24.52% 0.00%
National Science Board $4.37 $4.10 $4.37 0.00% 6.59%
Office of Inspector General $15.35 $15.35 $15.35 0.00% 0.00%
Agency Operations and Award Management $329.54 $336.89 $336.89 2.23% 0.00%

Highlights from Bill and Committee Report:

  • The bill includes language that would require the Director of NSF to notify the House Appropriations Committee of any planned divestment of any NSF-owned facilities or capital assets valued greater than $2.5 million.
  • The Committee provides $45 million for mid-scale research.
  • The Committee directs NSF to use the 10 Big Ideas as a focusing tool and to maintain funding for NSF’s directorates.
  • The report expresses support for NSF’s geospatial data program, the International Ocean Discovery Program, the Oceans and Human Health program, and work to maintain U.S. presence in the Antarctic at Palmer Station.
  • The Committee expresses concerns about NSF’s ability to plan for and develop the next generation of large-scale facilities and “encourages NSF to develop a comprehensive and prioritized list of large-scale infrastructure requested by NSF-supported science disciplines.”
  • The Committee notes that NSF does not provide grant opportunities for Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) and urges NSF to increase grant funding opportunities for AANAPISIs.

Next Steps

In June, the House Appropriations Committee will finish considering the last four spending bills and then the full chamber will have a chance to consider all twelve bills on the House floor.

Senate leaders have stated that the Senate Appropriations Committee will not begin consideration of any spending bills until a budget agreement has been reached. However, both chambers only have until 30 September to consider and pass all twelve appropriations bills.

Strong funding for science, including most of the increases in the House spending bills, is not possible unless Congress reaches a bipartisan budget agreement. Write your legislators today and share with them the importance of a robust scientific enterprise.