PAA and APC Praise Passage of FY 2017 Omnibus Spending Package – Warn of Challenges in FY 2018
The Population Association of America (PAA) and Association Population Centers (APC) praised Congress and the Administration for working together to negotiate and enact H.R. 244, a bill encompassing funding for federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Census Bureau, and other federal statistical agencies essential to the population sciences, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017.
“The population research community has been eagerly awaiting the outcome of the Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations process since the fiscal year began on October 1, 2016,” said PAA President Dr. Amy Tsui. “Despite the lengthy delay, we are pleased Congress and the Administration did not abandon efforts to enact a final FY 2017 spending measure.”
PAA and APC are particularly pleased the measure provides NIH with $34 billion, a $2 billion increase in FY 2017, as well as stable funding for NSF, which received $7.4 billion. The bill does not include language precluding or curtailing the ability of either agency to support the social and behavioral sciences nor language adversely affecting the agencies’ peer and merit review processes.
The bill did not, unfortunately, provide the U.S. Census Bureau with an increase closer to the $1.5 billion recommended by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Instead, the agency received $1.47 billion, an amount that will compel the Census Bureau to make difficult choices regarding Census 2020 preparations, Economic Census, and the American Community Survey in the remaining months of FY 2017. PAA and APC are also concerned that the National Center for Health Statistics and Bureau of Labor Statistics were flat funded.
With the return of budget sequestration in FY 2018 and the new Administration’s strong support for increasing defense spending over non-defense discretionary spending, PAA and APC are concerned how these agencies will fare in the future. The organizations will continue to push for funding these agencies and preserving their core missions in FY 2018.