Trump Administration Releases FY 2019 Budget Request While Congress Finishes FY 2018 Appropriations

February 2018

President Donald Trump released his administration’s proposed budget for FY 2019 on February 12. The initial release from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was followed by an addendum with proposed reinstatements of cuts, reflecting a deal in Congress to raise budget caps for FY 2018 and FY 2019. 

Of greatest concern to education research, the Institute of Education Sciences would see a cut of $83.7 million, or 13.8 percent, from FY 2017 levels due to the elimination of funding for the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) and the Regional Educational Laboratories. A small increase in the statistics line would account for transferring funding for the Privacy Technical Assistance Center, currently funded through the SLDS line item.

In a statement on the proposed elimination of the SLDS program, AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine said: “From a research perspective, the federal SLDS program is enormously efficient. Rather than each state developing their own capacity, all states benefit from the federal SLDS expertise, the feedback during the iterative grant process, and the opportunity to learn from each other.”

The addendum would provide an increase of $2.2 billion to the National Science Foundation (NSF) above the amount in the initial budget release, leading to flat funding of the agency at FY 2017 levels of $7.47 billion. The Education and Human Resources Directorate would also remain level-funded at $873 million, while the Research and Related Activities line would see an increase of $145 million to $6.15 billion. No details have yet been announced (as of press) for specific directorates within that line item.

The National Institutes of Health also received reinstatements of a $9.2 billion cut that would provide for level funding at FY 2017 numbers of $33 billion. No details have been announced regarding proposed FY 2019 levels for specific directorates. 

The budget also included some reference to evidence-based policymaking, including the importance of the use of administrative data and the development of learning agendas. OMB is also encouraging the efficient use of resources through proposed set-aside funds and flexibility for certain agencies to reallocate contract support and funds expiring at the end of the fiscal year for evaluations.

Trump signed into law a continuing resolution that extends FY 2018 funding through March 23, providing Congress with time to craft an omnibus bill for FY 2018 that accounts for the increased discretionary caps. Congress is expected to kick off the FY 2019 appropriations process after completing work on the FY 2018 omnibus. 

AERA is actively advocating for increased funding for agencies supporting education research with the raising of the budget caps for FY 2018 and FY 2019. As a member of the Coalition for National Science Funding, AERA joined a letter requesting $8 billion for NSF and, as a leading organizer for the Friends of IES (Institute of Education Sciences), is preparing to send a letter to appropriators reiterating a request for $670 million for IES.
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