December 23, 2019

After a delayed start, drawn-out negotiations, and two Continuing Resolutions, the Fiscal Year 2020 budget was signed Friday, 20 December. Overall, federal science agency budgets saw modest boosts in funding. However, the budget fails to provide substantial increases for key agencies and programs like the National Weather Service and the National Science Foundation. The most generous boosts came from the United States Geological Survey’s Facilities budget – with a plan to relocate agency personnel to Golden, Colorado.

We provided a breakdown of several key agencies and highlights from the budget report.

 

Key provisions

  • National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) overall receives a 1.3% decrease in funding- with National Environmental Satellite, Data & Information Service taking the biggest cut, a 10.9% reduction over FY19.
  • The Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research receives a 4.3% increase, with $3M allocated for the National Climate Assessment.
  • The National Weather Service saw a marginal boost of just under 0.5%, with nearly half the allocated budget ($513M) going to forecasting and analysis.
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Budget (rounded to the nearest million) FY19 Enacted Budget President’s FY20 Budget Request Percent Change FY20 PBR v. FY19 FY2020 Final Appropriation Percent Change FY20 Final v. FY19
Overall $ $ -17.66% $ -1.34%
National Ocean Service $ $ -33.40% $ 3.14%
National Marine & Fisheries Service $ $ -7.29% $ 4.25%
Oceanic & Atmospheric Research $ $ -40.80% $ 4.31%
Climate Research $ $87.51 -44.96% $ 6.60%
National Weather Service $ $ -6.97% $ 0.49%
National Environmental Satellite, Data & Information Service $ $ -13.37% $ -10.93%
Mission Support $ $ -10.27% $ 13.06%
Office of Marine & Aviation Operations $ $ 8.87% $ 5.04%

Key provisions

  • The James Webb Space Telescope receives full funding in the FY2020 spending agreement, while funding for the rest of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate remains relatively flat. The agreement also delays the launch dates for both Jupiter Europa missions, with the Clipper now scheduled for launch in 2025 and the Lander in 2027.
  • Congress rejects the Administration’s attempt to cancel NASA’s STEM engagement programs and, instead, gives them a boost – including $48 million for the Space Grant Program, with a minimum of $ expected to go to each of the 52 participating jurisdictions.
National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA)
Budget (rounded to the nearest million) FY19 Enacted Budget President’s FY20 Budget Request Percent Change FY20 PBR v. FY19 FY2020 Final Appropriation Percent Change FY20 Final v. FY19
Overall $ $ -2.33% $ 5.54%
Science Mission Directorate $ $ -8.72% $ 3.38%
Earth Science $ $ -7.82% $ 2.11%
Planetary Science $ $ -5.73% $ 1.62%
Heliophysics $ $ -2.08% $ 0.63%
James Webb Space Telescope $ $ 15.93% $ 38.92%
STEM Engagement $ $0.00 -% $ 9.09%

Key provisions

  • Congress provides a modest boost to NSF’s overall FY2020 budget, with a significant targeted boost to the agency’s EPSCoR program. The spending agreement also recognizes the anticipation of new and increasing workloads within NSF’s Office of Inspector General, which receives an increase of $1.15 million over FY2019 budget levels.
  • The drastic decrease in funding for NSF’s Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction reflects the construction completion of the three Regional Class Research Vessels and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope.
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Budget (rounded to the nearest million) FY19 Enacted Budget President’s FY20 Budget Request Percent Change FY20 PBR v. FY19 FY2020 Final Appropriation Percent Change FY20 Final v. FY19
Overall $ $ -12.50% $ 2.52%
Research & Related Activities $ $ -13.14% $ 3.33%
Education & Human Resources $ $ -9.51% $ 3.30%
Major Research Equipment & Facilities $ $ -24.52% $ -17.76%
National Science Board $4.37 $4.10 -6.18% $4.50 2.97%
Office of Inspector General $15.35 $15.35 0.00% $16.50 7.49%
Agency Operations & Award Management $ $ 2.23% $ 2.23%

Key provisions

  • Overall, the Department of Energy saw an 8.3% increase in funding, with the most significant increases going to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy receiving a 19.7% boost and Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) with a 16.1% boost over from FY19. The President’s Budget Request proposed eliminating ARPA-E.
  • The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy spending includes $20M in funds to partner with land grant universities providing workforce training in emerging energy fields.
Department of Energy (DOE)
Budget (rounded to the nearest million) FY19 Enacted Budget President’s FY20 Budget Request Percent Change FY20 PBR v. FY19 FY2020 Final Appropriation Percent Change FY20 Final v. FY19
Overall $ $ -11.72% $ 8.13%
Office of Science $ $ -15.78% $ 6.30%
Basic Energy Sciences $ $ -14.21% $ 2.17%
Biological & Environmental Research $ $ -29.88% $ 6.38%
ARPA-E $ $0.00 -% $ 16.12%
Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy $ $ -85.58% $ 19.71%

Key provisions

  • The FY2020 spending agreement opposes the Administration’s budget restructure proposal due to inadequate information necessary to evaluate whether consolidating programs would improve efficiency. The spending agreement also rejects the proposed elimination of Cooperative Research Units and the Environmental Health program.
  • Congress provides funding for all eight Regional Climate Change Adaptation Science Centers and funding to establish a Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center that was originally requested in FY2017. The agreement also provides funding for the National Geospatial Program, in part to support the acceleration of coverage by the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP), which will acquire precise national elevation data coverage within eight years.
United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Budget (rounded to the nearest million) FY19 Enacted Budget President’s FY20 Budget Request Percent Change FY20 PBR v. FY19 FY2020 Final Appropriation Percent Change FY20 Final v. FY19
Overall $ $ -15.22% $ 9.57%
Ecosystems $ $ -10.09% $ 8.71%
Land Resources $ $0.00 -% $ 5.03%
Energy, Minerals, & Environmental Health $ $86.07 -22.97% $ 1.61%
Natural Hazards $ $ -12.77% $ 2.77%
Water Resources $ $ -20.50% $ 3.45%
Core Science Systems $ $ 75.73% $ 16.96%
Science Support $ $ 0.07% $96.83 -5.83%
Facilities $ $ 0.76% $ 50.26%

Key provisions

  • While the Environmental Protection Agency saw a boost overall, Science and Technology’s total budget took a slight cut (just under 0.2%), but this included the transfer of the Hazardous Substance Superfund Program, which accounted for $30M of its budget
  • Environmental Programs and Management only received a 0.7 % ($40M) increase and included a directive for the Agency to brief the Committees within 60 days of enactment of its ongoing work to set maximum contaminate levels for PFAS under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Budget (rounded to the nearest million) FY19 Enacted Budget President’s FY20 Budget Request Percent Change FY20 PBR v. FY19 FY2020 Final Appropriation Percent Change FY20 Final v. FY19
Overall $ $ -24.69% $ 12.40%
Science and Technology $ $ -35.48% $ -0.18%
Environmental Programs and Management $ $ -30.19% $ 0.76%

Key provisions

  • The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences saw a 3.6% increase overall. This includes $3M for continued research on the health effects of environmental exposures directly related to Hurricane Harvey in 2017, including follow-up research on affected populations. This research will help provide critical information on disaster preparedness through data and analysis.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Budget (rounded to the nearest million) FY19 Enacted Budget President’s FY20 Budget Request Percent Change FY20 PBR v. FY19 FY2020 Final Appropriation Percent Change FY20 Final v. FY19
Overall $ $ -13.92% $ 3.60%
with Superfund Research Program $ $ -14.09% $ 3.50%

Key provisions

  • While the Forest Service sees a significant 22% bump in its FY2020 overall budget, Forest and Rangeland Research receives only a slight increase. Congress also directs the agency to restructure its research program, by the next fiscal year, in a way that ensures “research activities are focused on the key areas where the Service’s management responsibilities will benefit the most.”
Forest Service
Budget (rounded to the nearest million) FY19 Enacted Budget President’s FY20 Budget Request Percent Change FY20 PBR v. FY19 FY2020 Final Appropriation Percent Change FY20 Final v. FY19
Overall $ $ 16.41% $ 22.12%
Forest & Rangeland Research $ $ -15.17% $ 1.67%