Breakthrough in budget negotiations could raise spending for science

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Breakthrough in budget negotiations could raise spending for science Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email By David MalakoffFeb. 7, 2018 , 4:40 PM Top lawmakers in Congress today announced a budget agreement that could produce substantial spending increases for research at key U.S. science agencies—and avoid a partial government shutdown on Friday. But the deal must still clear a few hurdles before it is finalized.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–KY) and Senator Chuck Schumer (NY), the Senate’s top Democrat, said the two parties—and the White House—have agreed to smash through caps on military and domestic spending imposed by a 2011 law designed to reduce the nation’s long-term debt. (The caps apply only to so-called discretionary spending, which accounts for about one-third of annual federal outlays, but not to so-called mandatory programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, that account for about two-thirds of annual spending.)Under the deal, federal discretionary spending this year and next will total roughly $300 billion more than allowed by the caps. Diliff/Wikimedia Commons Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) In the 2018 fiscal year that began this past October, the Pentagon would get an additional $80 billion, and domestic spending—which is the source of most research funding—would get an additional $63 billion.In 2019, military spending would increase by $85 billion, while domestic funding would rise by $68 billion.Although it is too early to say exactly how that additional domestic cash, if approved, will be allocated, some science agencies appear to be in line to benefit. Lawmakers in the Senate, for example, have proposed giving the National Institutes of Health (NIH) a $2 billion increase in 2018, $1 billion more than a raise proposed by the House of Representatives. The new deal tags $2 billion over 2 years for NIH on top of about $500 million it would receive in 2018 from the 21st Century Cures Act. The agreement would make an NIH increase somewhere between the House and Senate levels much more likely, if Congress can finally complete work on the 2018 spending package. (So far, the government has been funded by a series of so-called continuing resolutions that have essentially frozen agency spending at 2017 levels.)The National Science Foundation (NSF) could also benefit. The House, for example, has proposed keeping NSF’s research budget flat in 2018, at about $6 billion. But Representative John Culberson (R–TX), chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees NSF’s budget, has said he would move to give it additional funding if Congress raised the caps.Such moves would delight the research community, which for years has joined with a wide range of groups—including military and public health advocates—in calling for Congress to break the caps. The spending limits, they argue, will do little to rein in the national debt because they don’t apply to mandatory spending—but are doing real damage to the nation’s security and ability to fund innovative science.Two years ago, such arguments helped persuade Congress to reach a similar deal to break the caps. But before federally funded researchers can celebrate today’s deal, it must be approved by the Senate and House and signed by President Donald Trump. The Senate appears ready to approve it. And the White House has signaled support for the agreement, which will be attached to a continuing resolution extending government funding through late March, giving lawmakers a few more weeks to finalize 2018 spending.But in the House, some Democrats are unhappy that the pact does not include protections for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, and some conservative Republicans oppose the additional spending.Despite those concerns, House Republican leaders have said that they believe they can corral the necessary votes to approve the deal.But the clock is ticking: The current bill funding the government expires at midnight Thursday, and the government will have to begin shutting down Friday if no agreement is reached.last_img read more