House Advances Two-Year Budget Agreement to Increase Spending Caps

July 2019

On July 25, the House passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, which includes a two-year budget agreement brokered by congressional leaders and the White House. The bill would suspend the debt ceiling through July 31, 2021, and lift spending caps for the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years established under the Budget Control Act of 2011. Without a budget agreement, nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs would have been slashed by $54 billion from current levels.

In FY 2020, NDD programs, which include education research, would be capped at $621.5 billion, a boost of $24.5 billion over the FY 2019 budget cap. This amount is slightly below topline NDD numbers advanced in the House for FY 2020. An additional $2.5 billion outside of the caps would be available for the 2020 decennial census.

The House has passed many of its FY 2020 spending bills, which included increases for education research and statistics programs. The Senate has not yet taken action on FY 2020 appropriations in awaiting a budget deal. Once the Senate votes on the bill, it is expected that appropriations bills will begin to move forward after the August recess, as spending for FY 2019 expires on September 30.

OSTP Director Testifies in House Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing

On July 24, Kelvin Droegemeier, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS), and Related Agencies. He provided an update on OSTP’s activities and work on a priorities memo for FY 2021 that will be released later this summer.

Droegemeier highlighted the $3 billion investment in advancing STEM education and the importance of that work. As part of OSTP’s role in this area, he is looking at developing “more connective tissue” among the 160 STEM education programs. Droegemeier also detailed the establishment of a joint committee on the National Science and Technology Council to focus on research environments: research security, inclusiveness, and safety, including issues of sexual harassment, rigor and integrity in research, and research administrative burden.