Congressional Committees Begin Work on FY 2018 Appropriations
Congressional Committees Begin Work on FY 2018 Appropriations

June 2017

AERA Members Encouraged to Contact Their Elected Officials

Throughout June, the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees have worked on crafting legislation to fund federal agencies for the 2018 fiscal year (FY), which begins on October 1. As reported in the May issue of Highlights, President Donald Trump’s budget proposes steep cuts to research agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as to the Department of Education.

As part of the subcommittees’ work, members heard from the leaders of federal agencies, who were tasked with defending proposed cuts to their budgets. During the hearings, subcommittee members expressed concerns with the proposed budget cuts.

Roy Blunt (R-MO), who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS), stated in his remarks at the hearing on the Department of Education FY 2018 budget that the cuts were “likely untenable.” AERA submitted testimony on the Institute of Education Sciences to the Senate LHHS Subcommittee.

Although Congress has not yet set FY 2018 spending caps, the House appropriations subcommittees are beginning to hold hearings on bills. The House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing to mark up its bill, which includes NSF, on June 29. The bill, approved on a voice vote by the subcommittee, would flat-fund the NSF Education and Human Resources Directorate at $880 million, as well as the Research and Related Activities account, which includes the Social, Behavioral and Economics Directorate, at $6.034 billion.

As the appropriations process continues, AERA encourages association members to contact their members of Congress to let them know the importance of investing in education research. Through AERA’s online Advocacy Center, education researchers can send an email to their members of Congress to ask them to support key agencies for education research—the Institute of Education Sciences, NSF, and NIH. In addition, AERA is holding two webinars in July, with one specifically for graduate students, to provide guidance for scheduling meetings and messaging to share with congressional offices while members are home for the August recess.