Congressional Activity Underway on FY 2019 Appropriations Bills
Congressional Activity Underway on FY 2019 Appropriations Bills

May 2018 

The appropriations process for fiscal year (FY) 2019 is in full swing on Capitol Hill. On May 17, the House Appropriations Committee marked up the FY 2019 Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations legislation and approved the bill on a 32–19 vote. 

The bill would provide $8.175 billion to the National Science Foundation (NSF), an increase of $408 million, 5 percent over the FY 2018 omnibus. Within this allocation, the Research and Related Activities account would see an increase of $317 million, also 5 percent over the FY 2018 omnibus.

The Education and Human Resources Directorate would be funded at $902 million—the same level at which it was funded in the FY 2018 omnibus. In a recent statement, the Coalition for National Science Funding, of which AERA is a member, noted, “NSF plays an essential role in preparing a STEM-capable workforce through funding K-12 STEM education programs, as well as programs for undergraduate and graduate students. We are hopeful that final NSF appropriations will provide robust funding for the Education and Human Resources account that funds these critical agency activities.”

“AERA will be working with the Senate to increase funding for EHR in the final NSF budget,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “Members of Congress have specified increased spending to important STEM programs without increases to the EHR budget. This limits the flexibility to fund creative and groundbreaking education research.”

Before the markup hearing, Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney sent a letter to committee ranking member Nita Lowey (D-NY) to highlight areas that the Trump administration “believes is not in line with the overall restraint in non-Defense spending reflected in the FY 2019 Budget request,” which included the proposed increase for NSF. 

Mulvaney’s letter also stated support for the bill’s proposed funding for the Census Bureau. The Census Bureau would receive $4.8 billion, an increase of nearly $2 billion over the FY 2018 omnibus, which would provide support for the 2020 Census. 

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), ranking member of the CJS subcommittee, introduced an amendment to prevent funding for the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. The amendment was not adopted on a voice vote.

The Senate Appropriations Committee released its proposed schedule for marking up subcommittee bills, and plans to take up its CJS legislation during the week of June 11. AERA has submitted testimony. The committee is aiming to take up the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) appropriations legislation during the week of June 25. There is no current timeframe for consideration of a House LHHS appropriations bill.