Final FY 2020 Appropriations Bill Increases Spending for Education Research, Provides Funding for Gun Violence Research
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Final FY 2020 Appropriations Bill Increases Spending for Education Research, Provides Funding for Gun Violence Research
 
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December 2019

President Donald Trump signed two bills on December 20 that set final FY 2020 spending levels for federal agencies after Congress resolved proposed appropriations from the House and Senate. Both chambers of Congress advanced the bills with strong support during the week of December 16. The bills include increases for agencies that support education research and statistics that are a contrast to the proposed cuts in the president’s budget.

In addition, the conference bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) includes $25 million to support gun violence research, split between the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The funds would be used to develop a comprehensive approach to studying the underlying causes of violence and suicide and evidence-based methods of injury prevention. The Dickey Amendment, which prevents federal funds from being used to advocate for gun control, had been interpreted to include research on gun violence as part of the ban. However, the final FY 2018 omnibus appropriations bill included language to clarify that federal funds can be used to conduct research on the causes of gun violence.

The bill funds the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at $623.5 million, $8 million over FY 2019 levels. Within IES, all programs except one, Special Education Studies and Evaluations, will receive small increases, noted in the following table:

Institute of Education Sciences Appropriations
(in millions)
  FY 2019
Final
FY 2020 President's
Budget Request
FY 2019 Final v.
FY 2020 PBR
FY 2020
Minibus
FY 2020 Minibus v.
FY 2019 ($)
FY 2020 Minibus v.
FY 2019 (%)
Institute of Education Sciences $615.5 $521.6 -15.3% $623.5 $8.0 1.3%

Research, Development
and Dissemination

$192.7 $187.5 -2.7% $195.9 $3.2 1.7%

Regional Educational
Laboratories

$55.4 $0.0 -100.0% $56.0 $0.6 1.1%

Statistics

$109.5 $112.5 2.7% $110.5 $1.0 0.9%

Assessment

$158.7 $156.7 -1.3% $160.7 $2.0 1.3%

Statewide Data Systems

$32.3 $0.0 -100.0% $33.0 $0.7 2.2%

Special Education Studies
and Evaluations

$10.8 $10.8 0.0% $10.8 $0.0 0.0%

Research in Special
Education

$56.0 $54.0 -3.6% $56.5 $0.5 0.9%

 

Overall, the bill provides $8.28 billion to the National Science Foundation (NSF), an increase of $203 million over FY 2019 levels. As part of the agreement, the Education and Human Resources Directorate would receive $940 million, a $30 million increase, while Research and Related Activities would be funded at $6.74 billion, an increase of $217 million.

The conference agreement includes $41.68 billion for NIH, a $2.6 billion boost compared to FY 2019 levels. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development would receive $1.56 billion, a $50 million increase.

The LHHS report language includes concerns regarding the proposed elimination of data categories in the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), calling on the Department of Education to provide a briefing to the appropriations and authorizing committees on the proposed changes, how the changes reflect civil rights enforcement needs, information on the comments received on the proposal, an evaluation of the 2017–18 CRDC, and any impact on the mission and purpose of the CRDC. AERA submitted comments on the proposed changes to the CRDC in November 2019.

The report language also addresses concerns about the reduction of staff at the Department of Education, requesting an update in the FY 2021 budget request on the activities the Department of Education plans to undertake to “ensure adequate staffing levels.”

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