NSF and USDA Receive Sizeable Increases in US FY19 Budget

This month, the US Senate Appropriations Committee announced agreements on remaining FY19 appropriations packages for the US federal budget. This final package consists of appropriations bills for six government agencies including Agriculture, Rural Development, the FDA and Related Agencies; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; and Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies.

The package was signed into law on February 15, avoiding another government shutdown. The information below has been extracted from various federal documents, including explanatory reports and appropriations bills. (For information on the NIH and DoE’s budget, see IBO 9/30/18 and IBO 10/15/18, respectively.)


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Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration

The Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and the FDA received a total of $152.2 billion, a nominal increase of 0.6%. Of this, funding for USDA agricultural programs increased 6.3%, reaching $7.4 billion. Programs that are part of the USDA include the Agricultural Research Service, whose funding spiked 25.4% to $1.7 billion; the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, with $1.5 billion in FY2019 funding,  a 4.5% increase; and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, whose funding rose 3.0% to $1.0 billion.

The bill provides an 11.5% increase to $240.1 million for biologics within the FDA, which includes $198.1 million for the Center of Biologics Evaluation and Research. The budget authority for human drugs also jumped, rising 33.8% to $662.9 million, with $524.7 million allocated to the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Food funding also increased, though not as dramatically, growing 1.7% to $1.1 billion.


Interior, Environment and Related Agencies

With a total FY2019 budget authority of $35.6 billion, funding for the Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies fell almost 3%.

The EPA’s budget remained unchanged at $8.1 billion for FY2019. For EPA Science and Technology programs, $706.5 million was allocated for projects such as Air and Energy research, which will be receiving $94.9 million. Chemical Safety and Sustainability research received $126.9 million, which includes efforts by the Agency to advance methods for the evaluation of chemical hazards and exposure. The bill also provided $5 million for extramural research grants for the funding of water quality and availability research conducted by nonprofit organizations that frequently collaborate with the EPA.

In regards to programs within the EPA, clean air received $273.1 million, while toxic risks review and prevention activities was allocated $92.5 million. Water quality protection funding, which includes the WaterSENSE program, was provided $210.9 million. Once it is fully implemented, $27 million per year will be provided to the Toxic Substances Control Act modernization legislation.


Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies

Within the Department of Commerce, which received a 2.5% budget  increase to $11.4 billion in FY19, funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) dropped almost 18% to $985.5 million.

Of this, $724.5 million was allocated to scientific and technical research services, the same figure as FY18. This funding is intended for a variety of programs, including advanced manufacturing and material measurements, quantum science, biological science and health measurements, and environmental measurements, as well as the NIST Center of Excellence Program and NIST User Facilities. Additionally, $106.0 million was provided for the construction of research facilities, plummeting 66.8%. Science received an almost 4% boost to nearly $30 billion, with $5.5 million for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the same funding figure as FY18.

The NSF’s budget increased 4.0% to $8.1 billion, with $6.5 billion allocated to Research and Related Activities, a 3% increase. This includes $175.7 million for the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) received a sizeable increase, skyrocketing 61.2% to $295.7 million. Included in this agreement was $1 million for heightened oversight of MREFC projects.

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