July 21, 2021

Federal budget sees movement in Congress Part 2; see highlights for NOAA, NASA, and NSF

Posted by Caitlin Bergstrom

On 15 July, the House Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies bill on a 33-26 vote. This bill includes FY22 spending levels for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). In this post, we’ll detail the House’s proposed spending and programmatic highlights for those science agencies. 


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 
 Budget (rounded to the nearest million)   FY21   FY22 President’s Budget Request (PBR)   FY22 House Appropriations   Percent Change House FY22 vs FY21   Percent Change House FY22 vs FY22 PBR 
 Overall   $5,430.61   $6,983.33   $6,458.14   18.92%   -7.52% 
 National Ocean Service   $628.20   $862.41   $714.50   13.74%    -17.15% 
 National Marine and Fisheries Service   $964.86   $1,099.33   $1,044.59   8.26%   -4.98% 
 Oceanic & Atmospheric Research   $614.09   $815.67   $737.50   20.10%   -9.58% 
 National Weather Service   $1,204.21   $1,328.75   $1,337.04   11.01%   0.62% 
 NESDIS   $1,518.45   $2,029.04   $1,830.16   20.53%   -9.80% 
 Mission Support    $345.85   $450.72   $407.32   17.77%    -9.63% 
 Office of Marine & Aviation Operations   $373.67   $605.12   $589.87   57.86%   -2.52% 


Highlights from the Bill and Committee Report: 

  • The bill provides strong funding levels for an array of programs dedicated to broadening participation in STEM fields among underrepresented groups, including $22 million for NOAA’s Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions. 
  • The Committee directs NOAA to conduct a workforce needs assessment on the training and potential need for additional Incident Meteorologists for wildfires and other extreme events. 
  • In acknowledgement of the critical importance of NOAA’s climate change science and research in informing adaptation and mitigation decision, the Committee provides an increase of $71 million for Climate Research. 
  • The bill includes $25 million for NOAA to launch the Climate-Smart Communities Initiative and expand the Regional Integrated Climate Sciences and Assessments (RICSA) program, with the long-term goal of comprehensive, national coverage to provide high quality climate information and extension services to help local, state, and private leaders make informed decisions as they adapt to the changing climate. 
  • $59.8 million is provided by the Committee for Sustained Ocean Observations and Monitoring, part of which will go to expanding coverage of biogeochemical and Deep Argo floats to improve ecological and sub-seasonal to seasonal weather forecasting, as well as to provide observational data on the health and state of the ocean. 
  • The Committee expresses its continued concern regarding the persistent reports of staffing and management challenges within the National Weather Service and directs both NOAA and the Department of Commerce to fill all vacancies as quickly as possible. 
  • The bill provides $17 million for the purchase and piloting of commercial weather data, of which $5 million is provided for a Commercial Space Weather Data Pilot for NOAA to collaborate with commercial companies for the testing and analysis of space weather data. 


National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 
 Budget (rounded to the nearest million)   FY21   FY22 President’s Budget Request (PBR)   FY22 House Appropriations   Percent Change House FY22 vs FY21   Percent Change House FY22 vs FY22 PBR 
Overall  $23,271.28   $24,700.00  $25,038.40   7.59%  1.37% 
Science Mission Directorate  $7,301.00   $7,931.40  $7,969.50   9.16%  0.48% 
Earth Science Division  $2,000.00   $2,250.00  $2,250.00   12.50%  0.00% 
Planetary Science Division  $2,700.00   $3,200.00  $3,234.80   19.81%  1.09% 
Heliophysics Division  $751.00   $796.70  $773.00   2.93%  -2.97% 
James Webb Space Telescope  $414.70   $175.40  $175.40   -57.70%  0.00% 
STEM Engagement  $127.00   $147.00  $147.00   15.75%  0.00% 


Highlights from the Bill and Committee Report: 

  • The Committee supports the Administration’s plan to consolidate Earth Science decadal missions into an Earth Observatory System approach. 
  • The report also provides $363.8 million for Earth Science Research and Analysis and provides funding for Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) Pathfinder and the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). 
  • The Committee recognizes that NASA did not have the resources to invest in the capabilities required to satisfy its planetary defense mandate and provides $197 million for planetary defense including $11 million for the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) to ensure its launch in fiscal year 2022.
  • Lunar Discovery and Exploration receives almost $500 million, Planetary New Frontiers receives $271 million, including $200 million for Dragonfly. The report also directs NASA to provide $688 million for the Mars Sample Return mission, $472 million for Europa, and $10 million for the Venus Technology Project. 
  • The Committee strongly supports Heliophysics Technology and funds the program at the Administration’s request, additionally the committee provides $253 million for Solar Terrestrial Probes and supports the implementation of the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) and the Dynamical Neutral Atmosphere-Ionosphere Coupling (DYNAMIC) missions. 
  • Within the Office of STEM Engagement, the Committee provides $60 million for Space Grant, $26 million for Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), $48 million for Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) and $13 million for the Next Generation STEM program. 
 National Science Foundation (NSF) 
 Budget (rounded to the nearest million)   FY21   FY22 President’s Budget Request (PBR)   FY22 House Appropriations   Percent Change House FY22 vs FY21   Percent Change House FY22 vs FY22 PBR 
Overall  $8,486.76  $10,169.30  $9,634.04  13.52%  -5.26% 
Research & Related Activities  $6,909.77  $8,139.71   $7,695.73  11.37%  -5.45% 
Education & Human Resources  $968.00  $1,287.27   $1,274.27  31.64%  -1.01% 
Major Research Equipment & Facilities  $241.00  $249.00   $249.00  3.32%  0.00% 
National Science Board  $4.50  $4.60  $4.60  2.22%  0.00% 
Office of Inspector General  $17.85  $20.42  $20.42  14.40%  0.00% 
Agency Operations & Award Management  $345.64  $468.30   $390.02  12.84%  -16.72% 


Highlights from the Bill and Committee Report: 

  • Although the House spending bill provides a substantial increase in funding for NSF, the House appropriations for NSF falls short of the President’s Budget request as well as authorizing legislation in the House and Senate. 
  • The Committee supports the Administration’s plans to consolidate funding for the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) into the Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR), which currently administers the program. This consolidation accounts some of the increase in funding to EHR. 
  • The Committee also support’s NSF’s proposal to create a new directorate, the Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIPS) within Research and Related Activities. However, no designated funding is provided for the new directorate. 
  • The report notes the loss of capabilities due to the Arecibo Observatory collapse and directs NSF to keep the Committee apprised of the outcome of the June 2021 stakeholder community workshopefforts to clean-up and repair the observatory’s facilities and forensic evaluations of the collapse. 
  • The bill provides $1.39 billion to support NSF’s mission to broaden participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 
  • The bill also provides $1.2 billion for climate and clean energy-related research; this funding is spread across all directorates. 


To see funding requests and breakdowns, check out part 1 of our FY22 House Budget series with USGS, EPA, and Forest Service and part 3 for NIEHS.