Appropriations movement in both the House and Senate

This week, Congressional appropriators returned from their weeklong recess to pick up where they left off and continue finalizing funding bills for fiscal year (FY) 2017. The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved its version of the FY 2017 agriculture appropriations bill on May 17. The bill would allocate $2.54 billion to agricultural research, a $70 million increase over current enacted levels. While details of the bill are not yet released, we do know that it includes $375 million for the competitive grants program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) an increase of $25 million and the same amount proposed in the House. The House Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee also released its bill this week. The bill sets funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) at $7.4 billion – $57 million below the enacted level. While some programs saw cuts, the Research and Related Activates (RRA) account would see an increase of $45 million. Once again, the full details of the bill have not yet been released, but the bill summary includes concerning language about targeting the RRA increase to “programs that foster innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness,” but failed to mention the geosciences.