November 9, 2021

Senate Appropriations Committee releases their FY22 appropriations bills: read the Earth and space science high points

Posted by Caitlin Bergstrom

In October 2021, the Senate Appropriations Committee released their 12 Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) appropriations bills. Currently, we are more than a month into the new fiscal year, and the government is being funded by a Continuing Resolution. The Senate still needs to vote on and pass these bills, send the bills to the House for a vote, and eventually make their way to the president’s desk. In this post, we’ll detail the House’s proposed spending and programmatic highlights for those science agencies. 

Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) 

NSF Highlights 

  • The Committee supports the new Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) within the research and related activities account. Additionally, the Committee provides $864.87 million for the directorate from within the research and related activities account. 
  • The committee also provides $200 million for the regional innovation accelerators. 
  • The report expresses support for the EPSCoR program and dedicates about $240 million for the program. Additionally, the committee supports the Geography of Innovation program and urges NSF in its fiscal year 2023 budget request to detail how it will increase participation and leadership of research centers and initiatives by emerging research institutions, institutions in EPSCoR state, and Minority Serving Institutions. 
  • The report urges NSF to “invest in additional high-end computational systems to fully meet science and engineering needs.” 
  • Within the major research equipment and facilities construction, the committee provides about $76 million for mid-scale research infrastructure. 
  • The report also provides about $318.5 million for the graduate research fellowship program within Education and Human Resources. 

NASA Highlights 

  • The report expresses support for the Earth System Observatory, encourages increased competed- PI-led missions. Additionally, NASA is encouraged to support “the development and demonstration of a protype on-orbit robotically assembled Earth Science Platform designed to address critical gaps in NASA’s climate, weather, and ecosystem monitoring. 
  • The Committee provides $197.2 million for planetary defense, and directs NASA in future budgets to request the amount required to ensure a June 2022 launch of DART and development of Near-Earth Object Surveyor Mission (NEOSM) for a 2025 launch date. 
  • The committee provides $653.2 million for the Mars Sample Return mission to ensure its launch in 2026. 
  • The report provides $55.6 million for education and outreach efforts within the Science Mission Directorate. 
  • As in the past, the Senate provides more funding for the Heliophysics Division than the House. Interestingly, the report provides $1 million for “the implementation of a center-based mechanism to support multidisciplinary space weather research, advance new capabilities, and foster collaboration among university, government, and industry participants aimed at improving research-to-operations and operations-to-research.” 
  • The report provides $109.1 million for the new Biological and Physical Science Division. 
  • The bill provides $147 million for NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement, including: $57 million for NASA Space Grant, $48 million for the Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP), $26 million for EPSCoR, and $16million for STEM Education and Accountability Projects. 


NOAA Highlights 

  • The Committee provides an increase of $20 million above FY21 funding levels to rebuild and enhance regional greenhouse gas observing systems by increasing the number of sites, the number of samples per site and the temporal resolution. An additional $10 million is also provided to develop a global, high-resolution atmospheric model with at least three-kilometer resolution to improve understanding and prediction of climate-driven, extreme weather events. 
  • The National Sea Grant College Program receives an increase of $15 million above FY21 funding levels for its research, education, extension and outreach activities. 
  • An increase of 10 million is provided to NOAA’s Regional Climate Data and Information for greatly expanding the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research’s (OAR) Climate Adaptation Programs to help communities plan for and building lasting and equitable climate resilience. 
  • The Committee expresses continued concern regarding the significant number of employment vacancies at the National Weather Service (NWS) and provides $15 million above the requested funding level to increase NWS staffing. 
  • NOAA’s Mission Support Services receives $4 million to accelerate NOAA’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan, to expand NOAA’s recruiting program, and for equity assessment and implementation support. 

Interior and Environment (I&E) 

USGS Highlights 

  • An increase of $5.27 million above the FY21 funding level is appropriated for the USGS’s Volcano Hazards Program to support efforts to repair, upgrade, and expand systems and equipment that monitor, detect, and provide early warning of volcanic hazards—with a focus on high-threat volcanoes. 
  • The Committee increases the funding level for the Water Availability and Use Science Program by $11.51 million and directs $13.5 million be used for integrated water prediction to continue to utilize the best available technology to develop advanced modeling tools, state-of-the-art forecasts, and decision support systems. 
  • The National Groundwater and Streamflow Information Program receives an increase of $17.48 million over the FY21 funding level. Additionally, of the funding for the program’s Next Generation Water Observing System, $4.5 million is designated for working with universities and other partners to develop innovative water resource sensor technologies that are scalable to regional and national monitoring networks. 
  • Within the USGS’s Science Support mission area, $84.06 million is provided for the Administration and Management Program, including fully funding the agency’s Scientific Integrity, Diversity, and Support budget request and the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Initiative. 

Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) 

NIEHS Highlights 

  • The Committee provides an increase of $100 million, consistent with the FY22 budget request, for NIEHS to support research on the impact of climate change on human health. 
  • Of the $84.54 million provided for NIEHS’s Superfund Research Program, $1.75 million is meant to support risk reduction for Native Americans to hazardous metals mixtures from abandoned uranium mine waste. 

Energy and Water (E&W) 

DOE Office of Science Highlights 

  • Within EERE, the committee provides $1.04B for sustainable transportation, $872M for renewable energy, $1.00B for energy efficiency programs. 
  • Within BER, the report provides $406M for Biological Systems Science and $422M for Earth and Environmental Systems Science. 
  • The bill also provides $35M for workforce development for teachers and scientists 

ARPA-E Highlights 

  • Similar to the House, the Senate appreciates the idea of Advanced Research Projects Agency-Climate [ARPA–C] but notes the need for additional legislation to create the program.  
  • Additionally, “the Committee encourages ARPA–E to consider proposed activities under ARPA–C that are consistent with ARPA–E’s mission and authorization in addition to its other current and proposed activities. Additionally, ARPA–E shall coordinate funding from other Federal agencies in support of ARPA–C, if such funds are provided.”