On July 15, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee passed and reported to the full House two appropriations measures important to the Population Association of America (PAA) and Association of Population Centers (APC). Together, the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) and Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) bills fund most of the federal agencies providing direct and indirect support to the population sciences.
The outlook for these measures is uncertain. The House of Representatives is tentatively scheduled to consider the LHHS bill as part of a larger measure that will include several other appropriations bills before adjourning in early August. The CJS bill will not see floor action until after Congress returns in September. The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has not announced when it plans to consider its versions of these bills. The PAA Office of Government and Public Affairs will keep you informed as the bills proceed through the legislative process.
Below are highlights from the bill’s major provisions.
Labor, Health and Human Services and Education
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The bill provides the NIH with $49 billion, an increase of $6.5 billion above the FY 2021 enacted level. Of this amount, $3 billion is provided to establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) to accelerate the pace of scientific breakthroughs for diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer. The remaining amount, $3.5 billion, supports an increase of no less than 5 percent for each NIH Institute and Center to support a wide range of biomedical and behavioral research, as well as targeted investments in several high-priority areas.
In addition, the bill provides the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR) with $50 million, a $20 million increase over its FY 2021 funding level. This is the first significant funding increase that OBSSR has received in several years. Of the Institutes that PAA and APC track closely, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) received $4.26 billion, a $360 million increase over FY 2021`level, while the National Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) received $1.689 billion, which represents a $100 million increase for the Institute.
In a report accompanying the bill, the Committee praised population research programs supported by the NIA and NICHD.
National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
NCHS received $190 million in the bill, which is $15 million above the agency’s FY 2021 funding level and the President’s request. In addition, the committee provided the Centers for Disease Control with $150 million to support the ongoing Public Health Data Modernization Initiative and explicitly stated that NCHS is to be “fully integrated” into the initiative.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
The bill provides the BLS with $700.6 million, which is $45.6 million above FY 2021 enacted level and consistent with the President’s request. In the report accompanying the bill, the Committee stated its support for the agency’s plans to develop and implement a new National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) cohort.
Institute of Education Sciences (IES)
The IES received $762.5 million, which is $120 million above the agency’s FY 2021 funding level and $25 million more than the President requested. In a report accompanying the bill, the Committee expresses concerns about staffing shortages at the National Center for Education Statistics, which is located within IES. PAA worked with other scientific organizations to support the inclusion of this language.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
AHRQ received $380 million, which is an increase of $42 million above the FY 2021 enacted level and consistent with the President’s request.
Commerce, Justice, Science
The bill provides the Census Bureau with $1.4 billion, which is $336 million above the agency’s FY 2021 funding level and consistent with the President’s request. Report language urges the Census Bureau to work with the Office of Management and Budget to “facilitate appropriate, scientifically-guided revisions to those standards that will allow the Bureau to modernize its collection of race and ethnicity data, including the addition of a Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) ethnicity category and a combined race and Hispanic origin question, as soon as practicable.” Report language also directs the Bureau to consult stakeholders regarding the application of disclosure avoidance methods.
National Science Foundation
The bill recommends the NSF receive $9.6 billion, which is $1.1 billion above the agency’s FY 2021 level. The committee report also included language supporting the creation of a new technology directorate at NSF as well as supportive language regarding the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Directorate.