21 July 2021

House Appropriations for FY 2022

Kelsie Krafton American Astronomical Society (AAS)

President's FY 2021 Budget RequestThis month, the House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittees met to finalize their fiscal year (FY) 2022 markups. The House Appropriations Committee released summaries of the fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills for House Floor consideration. Relevant FY 2022 spending bills are: Interior-Environment bill — funds the Smithsonian Institution, the Defense bill — funds the Department of Defense, the Energy and Water Development (E&W) bill — funds the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) bill — funds NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). 

If you need a brief refresher on what this means and the fiscal year cycle, this is an important step forward in the government deciding to how to fund the agencies for the next year. That includes funding for NASA, NSF, DOE, and NIST, which are all important sources of research grant and facilities for our community. The FY 2022 cycle officially started two months late on 9 April 2021, when the Biden administration released the President's Budget Request (PBR), outlining their desired funding levels for the agencies. The next step is for Congress to take that input (and much, much more input from stakeholders through letters and hearings) and create its own version of the budget. The House and Senate generally first try to agree on the budget resolution, which sets the total amount of money the Appropriations Committees will have to spend. In February, Congress passed the budget resolution for FY 2022-2030

The House and Senate each have their own Appropriations Committee which is then divided into the same 12 subcommittees, each of which is responsible for some aspect of US spending. For example, multiple science agencies fall under the jurisdiction of the CJS Subcommittee. The House Subcommittees get to take the first go at sculpting the agency budgets, which is what this post is about. The bills themselves are fairly bare bones; more information on all the agencies' budgets is included in the reports that comes with the full House Appropriations Committee markup. After this, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittees will come up with their own set of numbers, and eventually the House and Senate must agree on the budget, which is then sent to the president to be signed into law. 

The two key subcommittees for most of our community are CJS and E&W. They had total FY 2022 budgets of $81 billion and $53 billion respectively. Overall, the CJS bill provides strong funding levels for an array of programs dedicated to broadening participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields among underrepresented groups, including $48 million for the Minority University Research Education Project of NASA, $3 million to launch a similar Educational Partnership Program at NIST, and the following funding levels for programs of the NSF: no less than $69.5 million for the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, no less than $67 million for the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, no less than $75 million for the Advanced Technological Education Program, and no less than $21 million for the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program. 


NASA

FY 2022 House CJS Bill 
FY 2022 House CJS Report

NASA's top line received an increase of 7.6% from FY 2020, slightly higher than the 6.6% increase the administration had proposed. The Planetary Science and Astrophysics Divisions received slight increases above the PBR, while Heliophysics Division is funded at slightly less than the request level. The House chose to keep SOFIA, which had been cancelled in the PBR. Also of note for funding lines is $419.1 million awarded for infrastructure restoration. 

In addition, the bill prohibits NASA, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the National Space Council from working with China or Chinese-owned companies unless they are specifically authorized to do so by a law enacted after this Act. None of the funds awarded in this budget may be used to host Chinese researchers at NASA facilities. There is an exception to both of these provisions that can only be granted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

Account FY 2021 FY 2022 Request FY 2022 House FY 2021
House ($)
FY 2021
House (%)
NASA $23,271.3 $24,801.5 $25,038.4 +$1,767.1 +7.6%
Science Mission Directorate $7,300.8 $7,931.4 $7,969.5 +668.5 +9.2%
Planetary Science $2,699.8 $3,200.0 $3,234.8 +$535.0 +19.8%
Research $304.1 $306.9      
Planetary Defense $151.0 $197.2 $197.2 +$46.2 +30.6%
Lunar Discovery and Exploration $443.5 $497.3 $497.3 +$53.8 +12.1%
Discovery $451.3 $364.8      
New Frontiers $160.0 $217.7 $271.7 +$111.7 +69.8%
Mars Exploration $334.8 $267.8 $267.8 -$67.0 -20.0%
Mars Sample Return $246.3 $653.2 $688.0 +$406.9 +165.2%
Outer Planets and Ocean Worlds $462.5 $494.8      
Radioisotope Power $146.3 $146.4      
Astrophysics w/o JWST $1,356.2 $1,400.2 $1,446.3 +$90.1 +6.6%
Research $249.3 $285.5 $279.1 +$29.8 +12.0%
Cosmic Origins (w/o JWST) $203.8 $115.0      
Physics of the Cosmos $146.4 $156.0      
Exoplanet Exploration $552.4 $543.3      
Astrophysics Explorer $204.4 $300.4 $277.7 +$73.3 +35.9%
JWST $414.7 $175.4 $175.4 -$239.3 -57.7%
Heliophysics $751.0 $796.7 $773.0 +$22.0 +2.9%
Research $280.8 $210.6      
Living with a Star $148.2 $115.3      
Solar Terrestrial Probes $132.2 $253.3 $253.3 +$121.1 +91.6%
Heliophysics Explorer $170.7 $189.2      
Heliophysics Technology $19.1 $28.3 $28.3 +$9.2 +48.2%
Office of STEM Engagement $127.0 $147.0 $147.0 +$20.0 +15.7%

* All values are in millions of dollars. 

Report Highlights

  • National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program: The recommendation includes $60 million for the Space Grant program. 
  • Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR): The recommendation includes $26 million for EPSCoR, consistent with the budget request.
  • Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP): The recommendation includes $48 million for MUREP.

Planetary Science 

  • Planetary Defense: The Committee directs $143.2 million for the Near-Earth Object Surveyor Mission (NEO Surveyor). The Committee welcomes NASA’s commitment to the NEO Surveyor mission and to a 2026 launch date, and directs NASA to provide a report to the Committee, no later than 180 days after enactment of this Act, on the fulfillment of its NEO mandate and development progress of both the NEO Surveyor and DART missions.
  • Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART): The Committee recommends $11.1 million to ensure that the DART technology demonstration mission is ready for launch in fiscal year 2022. 
  • Lunar Discovery and Exploration: The Committee provides $22.1 million for continued operation of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and $107.2 million for the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover mission to the South Pole of the Moon to search for and sample lunar water ice. The Committee directs that the Lunar Discovery and Exploration program adhere to the lunar science priorities established by decadal surveys and the National Research Council’s Scientific Context for the Exploration of the Moon, and that activities funded within the program meet both lunar science and human exploration needs.
  • Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS): The Committee provides the full budget request for CLPS, which will help grow the space economy and create lasting, affordable commercial operations on the Moon. 
  • New Frontiers missions: The Committee provides $201.1 million for Dragonfly, which is equal to the budget request. Within the New Frontiers program, possible mission destinations and the science goals for each competitive opportunity are limited to specific science targets announced for the competition aligned with the scientific goals and priorities as described in the Planetary Science Decadal Survey. The Committee also supports continuation of the Juno mission and urges NASA to include sufficient funding in its fiscal year 2023 budget submission to do the critical engineering and navigation calculations needed to continue the entire approved science scope of the Juno mission extension.
  • Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEx): The Committee supports SIMPLEx solicitations and encourages NASA to consider ways to maximize opportunities for SIMPLEx missions, including the potential for dedicated smallsat launch, in addition to the current option of using rideshare on large launch vehicles, which will further accelerate and enhance overall planetary science mission objectives.
  • Venus Technology Project: Within Planetary Science, the recommendation includes $10 million, equal to the request, for Venus Technology and technology demonstrations for Venus Discovery, including Venus surface science instrumentation work.
  • Mars Exploration Program: The Committee level reflects the establishment of the Mars Sample Return as a separate mission.
  • Mars Sample Return: The Committee recognizes the important impact that the successful landing and operation of the Mars Perseverance rover is having for the nation and the scientific research community. In fulfillment of the objective to cache and return samples to Earth, and as the highest priority of the Planetary Science decadal survey, funding is provided for the Mars Sample Return mission to meet a 2026 launch window.
  • Jupiter Europa Missions: The Committee provides $472.1 million, which is $68.6 million above the fiscal year 2021 appropriation and equal to the request level, for the Europa Clipper Mission. The Committee reiterates that following a full and open competition, the administrator is not limited to the launch vehicles listed in the NLS-II contract of the Launch Services Program as of the date of the enactment of this Act, and the Europa Clipper Mission may launch on a commercial launch vehicle, if NASA makes such an award, in order to support a 2024 launch to reduce overall mission costs and complexity and expedite science results as supported by the decadal survey.
  • Icy Satellites Surface Technology: The Committee directs $14.2 million for Icy Satellites Surface Technology to meet the science goals for the Jupiter Europa mission as recommended in previous Planetary Science Decadal Surveys and to enable a lander and Ocean Worlds Technology mission by the next decade, based on input from the next Planetary Science Decadal Survey. Investments in landing, mobility, sampling, communications, autonomous operations, and power technology for low-temperature environments should be prioritized.

Astrophysics

  • Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA): The Committee rejects the administration’s request to terminate SOFIA and provides $85.2 million, which is equal to the fiscal year 2021 level.
  • Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope: The Committee provides $501.6 million, which is equal to the request, and supports a mission launch in 2025. This mission was included as the highest priority in the 2010 Astrophysics Decadal Survey. Within this total, the recommended amount shall include continued development of the coronagraph as a technology demonstration mission.
  • Astrophysics Explorers: The Committee is encouraged by NASA’s commitment to accelerate the cadence of Astrophysics Explorer missions and to establish a new line of small Pioneer-class missions that leverage advancements in low-cost platforms such as CubeSats and balloons to support groundbreaking science. The Committee recognizes that such activities can improve scientific understanding while simultaneously developing the scientific workforce through increased research opportunities for students and faculty.
  • Astrophysics Research: The Committee recognizes the role of the Astrophysics Research program in supporting the development of novel astrophysics observation technologies that lay the foundation of future mission architectures. The Committee also understands that supporting these activities through extramural grant funding contributes to the long-term viability of the U.S. astrophysics community.
  • James Webb Space Telescope (JWST): The Committee provides the Administration’s requested level.

Heliophysics

  • Heliophysics Technology: The Committee appreciates NASA including this account in its fiscal year 2022 budget request, and provides the requested funding. The Committee recognizes the critical role that technology development programs play in enabling novel and transformative capabilities and mission concepts and notes the contributions of these programs in other divisions within the Science Mission Directorate. 
  • Solar Terrestrial Probes: The Committee supports NASA’s implementation of the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe and the Dynamical Neutral Atmosphere-Ionosphere Coupling mission as competitively selected, cost-capped, and principal investigator-led missions in accordance with the recommendations of the Decadal Survey. The Committee also directs that $21.4 million is provided for the continuation of the Magnetospheric Multiscale mission.

NSF

FY 2022 House CJS  Bill 
FY 2022 House CJS Report

So far this Congress, both the Senate and House have introduced legislation to dramatically increase the NSF's budget. The Senate version was originally called the  Endless Frontier Act (EFA), but has since grown into the US Innovation and Competitiveness Act. The House released its own version of the EFA, the NSF for the Future Act. The NSF for the Future Act calls for an NSF budget of around $12 billion for FY 2022. House appropriators kept funding under $10 billion, which is the long-running community ask for the NSF, which is still a significant increase of 13% above FY 2021. In addition, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Public Law 117–2) included $600 million for the National Science Foundation to fund or extend new and existing research grants, cooperative agreements, scholarships, fellowships, and apprenticeships, and related administrative expenses to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.

Account FY 2021 FY 2022 Request FY 2022 House FY 2021 House ($) FY 2021 House (%)
National Science Foundation $8,683.8 $10,341.8 $9,634.0 +$1,147.3 +13.2%
Research & Related Activities (R&RA) $6,909.8 $8,139.7 $7,695.7 +$785.9 +11.4%
Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate (MPS) $1,580.48 $1,690.7      
Astronomical Sciences Division (AST) $277.1 $294.1      
Mid-scale Infrastructure $20.8 $19.5      
Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure $76.3 $76.3 $76.3 +$0.0 +0.0%
Major Research Equipment & Facility Construction (MREFC) $241.0 $249.0 $249.0 +$8.0 +3.3%
Vera C. Rubin Observatory $40.8 $40.8 $40.8 +$0.0 +0.0%

* All values are in millions of dollars. 

Report Highlights

  • Broadening participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics will fuel innovation and provide additional expertise to solve complex problems. In support of NSF’s mission to broaden participation in STEM, the Committee recommends up to $1.4 billion towards these efforts. Within this amount, strong increases are provided to advance equity in science. Embracing the contributions of all will produce better science and create a better society.
  • The Committee supports infrastructure investments that expand our understanding of the universe and inspire students to pursue careers in the sciences. The Committee recognizes that current and future large scientific facilities represent an enormous investment of federal resources that must be administered wisely. Unless otherwise noted, within amounts provided, NSF shall allocate no less than the fiscal year 2021 levels to support its existing scientific research laboratories, observational networks, and other research infrastructure assets, including the astronomy assets, the current academic research fleet, federally funded research and development centers, and the national high-performance computing centers, so that they may provide the support needed for cutting edge research.
  • The Committee supports NSF’s proposal to create the Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships within the Research and Related Activities account.
  • Combating Anti-Asian Hate Crimes and Incidents: The Committee supports the President’s directive to combat anti-Asian hate and bigotry and supports NSF’s research to address systemic racism and violence in our nation. 
  • Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR): The recommendation includes no less than $227 million for the EPSCoR program to help targeted jurisdictions strengthen STEM capacity and capability to broaden the expertise base, impact jurisdictional economic growth, and develop a skilled workforce capable of generating high-tech jobs in all states of the nation. EPSCoR states have many unmet needs, including equipment and computing/networking resources, sufficient numbers of researchers, especially at the graduate and post-doctoral levels, and better integration into regular NSF programs, which co-funding can help overcome.
  • High-Performance Computing: The Committee commends NSF on its continuing commitment to its high-performance computing and data analysis capabilities and urges NSF to make timely and significant investments in high-performance computing. NSF should remain committed to developing and supporting systems that facilitate tremendous leaps in computational capabilities including artificial intelligence, storage, quantum computing, simulations, and data analyses that enable a broad range of scientific research. NSF should further commit to supporting access to at-scale data resources for advancing science in these fields, and likewise commit to expanding scientist access to these resources. Leading edge high-performance computing infrastructure is vital for continued US world leadership and international scientific competitiveness, particularly given computational investments and technical achievements in high-performance computing by other nations, notably China and Japan. The Committee encourages NSF to continue supporting its programs focused on providing world-class leadership computing for the national open science community.
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Excellence in Research: The Committee is supportive of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Excellence in Research program and as such, includes $34 million. This initiative provides strategic programs and opportunities for HBCUs that stimulate sustainable improvement in their research and development capacity and competitiveness. The Committee supports the recommendations outlined in the 2016 report to Congress from the NSF Subcommittee on Advancing Historically Black Colleges and Universities pursuant to instructions from Congress in fiscal year 2016. The report specifies strategies for accelerating greater HBCU participation in larger research directorates, and in the Broadening Participation programs in the Education and Human Resources directorate. The Committee directs NSF to use research infrastructure improvement grants, co-funding programs, and other innovative mechanisms to boost HBCU participation and capacity throughout NSF research programs.

Major Research Facilities

  • Divestment activities: The Committee is aware that NSF is working with a variety of academic, private sectors, and other government agencies with respect to the future operation of some of its observatories. NSF shall continue to keep the Committee informed regarding the status of these activities. Any proposal by NSF to divest the Foundation of these facilities shall be proposed as part of any future NSF budget request and is subject to NSF administrative provisions included in the accompanying bill.
  • Astronomy: The Committee expects NSF to continue its support of world-class scientific research facilities and instrumentation to maximize its investments in research while preliminarily preparing for facility upgrades and activities associated with supporting the next astrophysics decadal. In addition to this support, partnerships should be explored when feasible to maximize research capabilities at such facilities.
  • Arecibo Observatory (AO): The Committee notes the significant loss to US scientific research and capabilities resulting from the uncontrolled collapse of the iconic 305-meter radio telescope platform at AO. The Committee recognizes that many of the instruments on the collapsed platform were crucial to science at AO, which fostered multiple discoveries and achievements in STEM fields, including astronomy and planetary sciences. The Committee further recognizes that future scientific capabilities at AO are currently being explored with community input, including an extended workshop to discuss future options with the scientific and educational communities in June 2021. NSF is directed to report to the Committee not later than 120 days after enactment of this Act on the status of this effort, as well as clean-up efforts, repairs and preservation of associated AO facilities and surrounding areas including the reflector dish, and forensic evaluations of the collapse.
  •  IceCube Neutrino Observatory: The Committee supports research at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a national facility that enables a wide array of internationally collaborative scientific research in ground-based neutrino astrophysics. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory Upgrade project was on schedule and maintained technical progress during the COVID pandemic, but required access to the South Pole was severely curtailed both for people and cargo. The Committee encourages NSF to continue its support of this program at the requested levels.
  • National Solar Observatory (NSO): The Committee commends NSF’s ongoing efforts to partner with academic institutions and NSO to operate the Richard B. Dunn Solar Telescope (DST) that provides opportunities for solar astronomers to continue to use DST and its associated instrumentation, in the continental United States, in addition to the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope. The Committee encourages NSF to continue its partnerships to ensure this valuable resource is available for research and educational programs.
  • The recommendation includes the following requested amounts: $1 million for enhanced oversight, $90 million for Antarctic Infrastructure Recapitalization, $36 million for the Large Hadron Collider Upgrade, $76 million for Mid-scale Research Infrastructure, $5 million for Regional Class Research Vessels, and $41 million for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory. NSF shall continue to provide quarterly briefings to the Committee on the activities funded in this account.
  • Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 (Astro2020): NSF should continue its support for existing astronomical facilities in its budget planning, including through its Windows on the Universe Big Idea. As Congress awaits recommendations from the 2020 Astrophysics and Astronomy Decadal Survey, the Committee also reiterates its support for preliminary investments in emerging priority facilities, such as the next generation Very Large Array and the Extremely Large Telescopes. The Committee is aware that NSF is providing funding in preparation for these future facilities, and the Committee encourages NSF to continue to do so over the coming year.
  • Infrastructure planning: The Committee is concerned about NSF’s planning for the construction and development of the next-generation of competitive large-scale facilities to support NSF-funded science disciplines, including ground-based telescopes. The Committee encourages NSF to develop a comprehensive and prioritized list of large-scale facilities requested by NSF-supported science disciplines.

Education and Human Resources

  • The Committee accepts NSF’s proposal to consolidate the Graduate Research Fellowship Program within Education and Human Resources.
  • The Committee recommends $1.3 billion for Education and Human Resources, which is $300 million above fiscal year 2021.
  • Broadening participation programs: To broaden the participation of underrepresented populations in STEM education programs and, ultimately, the STEM workforce, the recommendation provides for Focused Programs, Geographic Diversity Programs, and Emphasis Programs that span across both the Research and Related Activities directorate and the Education and Human Resources directorate including $12 million for Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate; $39 million for Centers for Research Excellence in Science and Technology; $46 million for HBCU-Undergraduate Program; $70 million for Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation; $67 million for the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program; and $21 million for the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program. The Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions program, managed and funded equally in the Division of Human Resource Development and the Division of Undergraduate Education, is provided $28 million through each division, for a total of $56 million. Lastly, $45 million is provided for NSF INCLUDES and $21 million for ADVANCE.
  • Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) Program: The Committee supports the IUSE Program, and the recommendation provides no less than $90 million for program activities.

DOE Office of Science and NIST

FY 2022 House E&W Bill
FY 2022 House E&W Report
FY 2022 House CJS  Bill 
FY 2022 House CJS Report

Overall, the DOE Office of Science continues to see slow and steady increases just ahead of inflation.

  • Traineeships for Underrepresented Communities: The Committee supports the Department’s efforts to diversify the nuclear physics research community by offering research traineeships to underrepresented communities pursuing STEM undergraduate degrees. The Committee encourages the Department to especially recruit undergraduate students from HBCUs, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. The Department is directed to provide to the Committee not less than 90 days after enactment of this Act a briefing on its efforts; data on students’ socioeconomic status, race, or ethnicity; and recommendations on how to expand this program across the Office of Science and more broadly across the Department.
  • Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce (RENEW): The Committee supports the new RENEW initiative for targeted efforts to increase participation and retention of underrepresented groups in the Office of Science’s research activities. The Department is directed to provide to the Committee not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act and quarterly thereafter briefings on implementation of this program.
  • High Energy Physics: The High Energy Physics program supports fundamental research into the elementary constituents of matter and energy and ultimately into the nature of space and time. The program focuses on particle physics theory and experimentation in three areas: the energy frontier, which investigates new particles and fundamental forces through high-energy experimentation; the intensity frontier, which focuses on rare events to better understand our fundamental model of the universe’s elementary constituents; and the cosmic frontier, which investigates the nature of the universe and its form of matter and energy on cosmic scales.
  • Research: The recommendation provides not less than $30 million for the Sanford Underground Research Facility and not less than $20 million for Cosmic Microwave Background-Stage 4. The Committee strongly encourages the Department to maintain a balanced portfolio of small-, medium-, and large-scale experiments and to ensure adequate funding for research performed at universities and the national laboratories. The Committee encourages the Department to fund facility operations at levels for optimal operations.
Account FY 2021 FY 2022 Request FY 2022 House FY 2021
House ($)
FY 2021
House  (%)
DOE Office of Science $7,026.0 $7,440.0 $7,320.0 +$294.0 +4.2%
High Energy Physics $1,046.0 $1,061.0      
Cosmic Frontier $97.6 $96.5      

* All values are in millions of dollars. 

Overall, NIST receives a large boost for FY 2022 of over 30%. Scientific and Technical Research and Services also received a double-digit increase of 19%. 

  • The bill ensures responsible investments in the future of the nation’s economy and workforce by providing increases for STEM engagement at NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and NSF, as well as an increase for the Economic Development Administration’s STEM Apprenticeship Program to create and expand STEM apprenticeships and other workforce training models. Within NIST, strong funding increases are provided for research efforts related to key future technologies, including quantum information science and artificial intelligence. Furthermore, the bill includes a strong increase for the Broadening Participation in STEM program at the National Science Foundation. Global leadership requires diverse ideas that will charge innovation.
Account FY 2021 FY 2022 Request FY 2022 House FY 2021 House ($) FY 2021 House (%)
NIST $1,034.5 $1,497.2 $1,369.1 +$334.6 +32.3%
Scientific and Technical Research and Services $788.0 $915.6 $937.6 +$149.6 +19.0%

* All values are in millions of dollars. 

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