Just prior to the expiration of the most recent stopgap funding resolution that kept the government running through December 20, 2019, both chambers of Congress passed two bundles of appropriations bills totaling approximately $1.4 trillion. The two compromise packages were signed into law by President Trump on December 20, 2019. As an indication of the compromise nature of the package, groups from the left and right have criticized the final fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations package.
Among the compromises are some funding for the border wall and significant new investments in renewable and clean energy research programs at the Department of Energy. These investments have been described by some as a Manhattan Project to find solutions to climate change.
For the National Science Foundation, which was included in the defense and security legislative package, Congress provided nearly $8.278 billion. This is an increase of about 2.5 percent from FY 2019 levels and a 17.2 percent increase from the President’s FY 2020 budget request for the National Science Foundation. The National Institutes of Health will receive an increase of about 6.5 percent, which will result in funding of about $41.8 billion. Within the Department of Commerce, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will receive about $1.034 billion, an increase of just under 5 percent. The Energy Department’s Office of Science will experience an approximate 6.3 percent budget increase, bringing its budget to 7 billion this fiscal year.
The Smithsonian Institution will receive an essentially flat budget of $1.05 billion. The National Museum of Natural History will be funded at $49.8 million in FY 2020, equal to its FY 2019 funding level. The Institute of Museum of Library Services, which was slated for closure in the President’s budget, will grow by 4 percent to $252 million.
Basic science within the Department of Defense will grow by 3 percent to $2.6 billion. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will essentially be flat funded, with an increase of approximately 0.9 percent providing some new funding to grow the programs budget to $3.458 billion. The total budget for NASA will swell by about 5.3 percent to $22.6 billion. NASA’s science directorate will grow to $7.139 billion, an increase of 3.4 percent. NASA STEM Engagement program which was zeroed out in the President’s budget, will be funded at $120 million, $10 million above the FY 2019 level.
Most environmental research programs saw at least modest increases. Doing surprisingly well, the Ecosystems function within the United States Geological Survey will receive about $171 million for FY 2020, which is a bump of approximately 9 percent. Overall, USGS is set for a 9.5 percent increase – placing its budget at $1.271 billion. Overall, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is being trimmed by about 1 percent. Importantly, however, most of the agency’s research programs will receive modest budget increases. The agency’s research office will receive about $590 million, an increase of 4.3 percent from FY 2019 and 76 percent more than the President’s request. For research at the Environmental Protection Agency, Congress has provided funding at 54.7 percent more than the President’s budget request. This increase represents a bump of just under 1.5 percent from the FY 2019 funding level.
Within the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Institute of Food Agriculture will grow to $1.527 billion, an increase of 3.8 percent from the FY 2019 enacted level. The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative will grow by $10 million, bringing its FY 2020 funding to about $425 million. Forest and rangeland research within the US Forest Service will remain essentially flat, with a FY 2020 funding level of approximately $305 million, up from approximately $300 million in FY 2019. The Agricultural Research Service will see its budget trimmed by about 4.5 percent. In FY 2020, it will operate with $1.607 billion.