Government Relations Update March 2022
By Matthew Hall
Internet2 External Relations Program Manager
Biden Administration Unveils Budget
On March 28, the president announced the release of the White House FY 2023 Budget. This document lays out the Administration’s spending priorities for the coming year and provides guidance to Congress as it develops appropriations legislation.
Of particular interest to the R&E community, one notable provision would provide a $2 billion increase in discretionary funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), for a total budget of $10.5 billion (a 24% increase from the 2021 enacted level). Included within this allocation is a plan for a $50 million new initiative at NSF called Growing Research Access for Nationally Transformative Equity and Diversity (GRANTED) that aims to build capacity at emerging research institutions to help them more effectively compete for research funding.
Additionally, the budget calls for a $773 million increase in funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science to $7.79 billion (an increase of 11 percent from the 2021 enacted level). The budget also calls for a $25 billion increase in total federal spending on basic and applied research to $111 billion (a 29% increase over 2021 enacted levels) as well as a $45 billion increase in total federal spending on R&D to $205 billion (a 28% increase over 2021 enacted levels).
Now that this important step in the annual federal fiscal process has been completed, the focus will shift to Congress as the House and Senate Appropriations Committees work in consultation with their colleagues on the relevant committees of jurisdiction to consider the president’s proposals and formulate the appropriations legislation for the coming year.
FY 2022 Funding Package Becomes Law
After months of negotiation and several Continuing Resolutions to extend temporary funding, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 (P.L. 117-103) finally became law on March 15. This omnibus legislation included all 12 regular appropriations bills as well as a supplemental package providing funding to support Ukraine.
Among the $1.5 trillion in funding in this legislation are several highlights for the R&E community. This includes $7.2 billion in funding for Research and Related Activities at NSF (an increase of $250 million above 2021 enacted levels), which will support the new Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships along with other longer-standing research programs at NSF. It also includes $7.48 billion for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science (an increase of $449 million above 2021 enacted levels), as well as $44.96 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (an increase of $2.25 billion above the 2021 enacted levels). Now that this legislation has become law, federal agencies and institutions partnering with them can be assured of fiscal stability through the end of September.
NSF Announces New Directorate
On March 16, NSF Director, Sethuraman Panchanathan, announced the formation of a new directorate within NSF focused on Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP). This new TIP Directorate is intended to focus on accelerating the development of new technologies and their path to commercialization. It also will focus on facilitating partnerships between academia and industry as well as government, non-profits, civil society, and communities of practice with an emphasis on fostering regional innovation ecosystems all around the country over time. The recently announced White House budget calls for $880 million to support TIP’s activities in FY 2023. Director Panchanathan has selected Dr. Erwin Gianchandani to serve as the Assistant Director for TIP. Prior to his selection for this position, Dr. Gianchandani served as Deputy Assistant Director for the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate at NSF.
The TIP Directorate bears similarities to the new NSF directorates envisioned by both the House’s America COMPETES Act (H.R. 4521) and the Senate’s USICA (S. 1260). Should a compromise version of these two bills ultimately become law later this year, TIP’s mission, structure, and funding likely would be adjusted.