Congress passes FY 2017 omnibus funding package

After months of waiting and weeks of negotiating, Congress has finally released the final FY 2017 omnibus funding bill – and many scientists can exhale a sigh of relief, as Congress has taken a very different path than that proposed by the Trump Administration. According to current estimates, the omnibus bill would increase federal R&D by five percent above FY 2016 levels, with increases for basic and applied research, development, and R&D facilities funding. One particularly bright spot is the USDA competitive grants program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) which saw an increase of $25 million or 7 percent above FY 2016 levels. USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, Office of Science each also received small increases. The funding package was signed into law on May 5 and runs through the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2017.