Gov Relations

Omnibus Appropriations Bill Passes

Omnibus funding passes: Photo of western sky after a storm has passed
Skies show signs of clearing after a storm on the Great Plains has passed. (Photo by Bob Henson, UCAR.)

January 30, 2014 | In early January, Congress passed the Fiscal Year 2014 omnibus appropriations bill that funds the federal agencies, including the major science agencies, through September 2014. On January 18, President Obama signed the spending bill into law. The law provides moderate year-over-year increases for the science agencies and most of their research accounts.

The signing of the spending bill follows the passage of a watershed budget agreement in mid-December that provides the federal agencies with partial relief from the federal budget sequestration for two years by setting higher overall spending caps for FY 2014 and 2015. In that agreement, the overall spending cap for non-defense discretionary spending was raised by 4.8 percent from 469.4 million in FY 2013 to $491.8 million in FY 2014. For FY 2015, the budget agreement sets non-defense discretionary spending at $492.4 million, which is virtually level with the FY 2014 level.

The new FY 2014 spending bill is notable because it marks the first time in several years that non-defense discretionary spending is seeing an increase, although the overall increase of 4.8 percent is not quite enough to fully recover from the FY 2013 sequester. Agencies now have 30 days to write and submit their detailed spend plans for FY 2014 to Congressional appropriators. Factoring in the appropriators’ review time, agencies may begin fully executing 2014 funding sometime in March.

We've compiled a table (below and as a PDF) with some top-level numbers appropriated for federal science agencies and their major research accounts in FY 2014. A few excerpts of relevant report language follow.

The full, almost 1,600-page appropriations bill can be found here, and the explanatory statement for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Title (which is the title that provides funds and direction for NSF, NOAA, and NASA) can be found here.

Bill Report Language, by Agency

Here are some relevant highlights from the bill report language. Note that report language is not binding on the agencies, but is considered strong guidance.


NSF

Cross-Foundation Initiatives — Limits on the implementation of OneNSF initiatives as proposed in the Senate report are not included. However, future growth in interdisciplinary research should not come at the expense of adequate support for infrastructure and core research programs in each of NSF's individual scientific disciplines. NSF is urged to assess and refine the balance among these activities in its budget request for fiscal year 2015 and future years.

International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) — The agreement provides the requested amount for IODP.


NOAA

National Weather Service (NWS) — Funding for the core life and safety missions fulfilled by the National Weather Service remains a high priority for the Committees on Appropriations. Investments in improved forecasting capabilities included in this Act and in Public Law 113-2, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, demonstrate the Committees' continued commitment to NOAA's weather enterprise. The agreement reiterates both House and Senate report language regarding the National Weather Service, including concerns raised about prior Antideficiency Act violations, transition of research capabilities, and consolidation of information technology activities in the context of a broader examination of a future staffing model for the National Weather Service.

National Mesonet Program — The continuation of the mesonet program through an open competitive process is supported. Senate language regarding a single, multiyear type of award is not adopted, and is further clarified in that any mesonet award competition should ensure that awardees provide data in formats that NWS may use in forecasts and severe weather alerts. The agreement recommends that NOAA conduct a study of how mesonet data can be integrated into the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System. Within the funds provided, NOAA may, but is not required to, expand network coverage and add additional observations.

The bill report also adopted the House and Senate language on NOAA phased array radar:

Multi-Function Phased Array Radar (MPAR)
[House] — The Committee understands that NOAA’s MPAR research, and in particular the dual polarization combined with phased array technology, is critical to the future of weather forecasting. The recommendation includes $13,000,000 for these activities. Within this amount, NOAA is encouraged to continue research on cylindrical polarimetric phased array radar (CPAR) and provide a report to the Committee no later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act on research activities related to MPAR and CPAR.

[Senate] — The bill includes $13,024,000 for continued development of the multi-function phased array radar [MPAR], the same as the budget request. When completed, this system has the potential to significantly extend lead times for detecting severe and hazardous weather. A promising MPAR design that combines dual polarization with phased arrays is the Cylindrical Polarimetric Phased Array Radar [CPPAR]. The Committee directs NOAA to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations within 120 days after enactment of this act that provides a research plan for developing a full-scale prototype of CPPAR including the full cost of the project, detailed research goals, and a plan and timeline for possibly transitioning the technology from research to operations.


NASA

NASA’s Bilateral and International Activities — NASA and the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy shall not engage in bilateral activities with China or a Chinese-owned company or effectuate the hosting of official Chinese visitors at certain facilities unless the activities are authorized.

Earth Science — Within the amounts provided for Earth Science, NASA shall comply with direction from the Senate report on land imaging; the Soil Moisture Active Passive mission; Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2; the Pre-Aerosol, Clouds, Ecosystem mission; carbon monitoring; and SERVIR.

The language contained in the House report regarding funding for the Deep Space Climate Observatory and for climate sensors previously planned for inclusion in NOAA's Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) is not adopted. Prior to expending any funds on the development of the JPSS climate sensors, however, NASA shall submit to the Committees a development plan for each sensor, including a notional budget and schedule profile covering the budget run-out period as well as a description of the effect this funding will have on the achievement of existing NASA priorities as recommended in the 2007 Earth Science decadal survey.

Heliophysics — Within the amounts provided for Heliophysics, NASA shall comply with direction from the Senate report regarding the Magnetospheric MultiScale mission, Solar Probe Plus, and the Explorer program.


DOE Office of Science

Biological and Environmental Research Within available funds, the agreement provides...$500,000 for the Department to engage universities more directly in climate analysis.


 

Some Top-Level FY14 Numbers Appropriated for Federal Science Agencies

(TBD: Funding level to be established by agency via FY14 spend plan process)

Updates to these data will be posted in the Budgets section of this website.


FY12 actual

FY13 actual

FY14 President’s request

FY14 appropriated

Change from FY12 to FY14

Change from FY13 to FY14

NSF, Total

7,105

6,884

7,626

7,172

0.9%

4.2%

Research & Related Activities, Total

5,758

5,544

6,145

5,809

0.9%

4.8%

Geosciences

1,321

1,266

1,394

TBD

--

--

Atmospheric & Geospace Sciences

258.7

245

266.6

TBD

--

--

NCAR

103

100.3

99

TBD

--

--

Education & Human Resources

830.5

833.3

880.3

846.5

1.9%

1.6%

Major Research Equipment & Facilities Construction

198.1

196.2

210.1

200

1.0%

1.9%

       


FY12 actual

 FY13 actual  FY14 President’s request  FY14 appropriated  Change from FY12 to FY14  Change from FY13 to FY14

NASA, Total

17,770

16,865

17,715

17,647

-0.7%

4.6%

Science, Total

5,074

4,782

5,018

5,151

1.5%

7.7%

Earth Science, Total

1,766

1,659

1,846

1,826

3.4%

10.1%

Global Precipitation Measurement

87.9

91.4

60.3

TBD

--

--

ICE Sat II

130.5

165.9

140.7

140.7

7.8%

-15.2%

Soil Moisture Active & Passive

214.2

210.3

88.3

88.3

-58.8%

-58.0%

Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2

93.4

80.3

81.2

TBD

--

--

Heliophysics, Total

644.9

606.3

653.7

645

0.0%

6.4%

Magnetospheric MultiScale Mission

190.6

183.3

120.9

120

-37.0%

-34.5%

Solar Probe Plus

52.6

108.2

104.8

104.8

99.2%

-3.1%

Heliophysics Explorer

65.8

54.1

95.2

95.2

44.7%

76.0%

Education

136.1

116.3

94.2

116.6

-14.3%

0.3%

       
   FY12 actual  FY13 actual   FY14 President’s request   FY14 appropriated   Change from FY12 to FY14   Change from FY13 to FY14

NOAA, Total
(second figures in FY13 include Sandy Supplemental approps)

4,907

4,748 / 5,058

5,448

5,315

8.3%

11.9% / 5.1%

Office of Atmospheric & Oceanic Research, Total

382.8

369.4 / 444.2

472.4

416.5

8.8%

12.8% / -6.2%

Climate Research

181

176.3

188.8

156.5

-13.5%

-11.2%

Weather & Air Chemistry Research

67.8

64.5 / 114.8

81.6

81.2

19.8%

25.9% / -29.3%

National Weather Service

905.3

953.6 / 1,051

1,050

953.6

5.3%

0% / -9.3%

Satellite Procurement, Total

1,694

1,688 / 1,707

1,976

1,897

12.0%

12.4% / 11.1%

GOES-R

615.6

747.7

954.8

954.8

55.1%

27.7%

Jason-3

19.7

30

37

18.5

-6.1%

-38.3%

JPSS

924

821.2

824

824

-10.8%

0.3%

DSCOVR

29.8

20.6

23.7

23.7

-20.5%

15.0%

COSMIC-2

0

0

0

2

--

--

       
   FY12 actual  FY13 actual   FY14 President’s request   FY14 appropriated   Change from FY12 to FY14   Change from FY13 to FY14

DOE, Total

26,320

--

28,416

27,281

3.7%

--

Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

1,781

--

2,776

1,902

6.8%

--

Office of Science, Total

4,935

--

5,153

5,071

2.8%

--

Advanced Scientific Computing Research

428.3

--

465.6

478.6

11.7%

--

Biological & Environmental Research, Total

592.4

--

625.3

610.2

3.0%

--

Climate & Environmental Sciences

290

--

304.3

TBD

--

--

Climate & Earth System Modeling

73.6

--

73.6

TBD

--

--

       
   FY12 actual  FY13 actual   FY14 President’s request   FY14 appropriated   Change from FY12 to FY14   Change from FY13 to FY14

USGS, Total

1,068

--

1,167

1,032

-3.4%

--

Climate Variability

58.2

--

71.7

53.6

-7.9%

--

 

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