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The Federal R&D Budget: Process and Perspectives Matt Hourihan April 10, 2014 For George Washington University IAFF 2190W: Science, Technology & Policy.

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Presentation on theme: "The Federal R&D Budget: Process and Perspectives Matt Hourihan April 10, 2014 For George Washington University IAFF 2190W: Science, Technology & Policy."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Federal R&D Budget: Process and Perspectives Matt Hourihan April 10, 2014 For George Washington University IAFF 2190W: Science, Technology & Policy AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program

2 The Federal Budget is Kind Of a Big Deal Politics is who gets what, when, and how. Put another way: budgeting is a manifestation of politics The Budget is also a roadmap The primary way Congress directs U.S. policy Major impact for R&D and innovation: most basic research, and most university research, is federally funded

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4 Two Spending Categories: Discretionary vs. Mandatory Mandatory Spending (aka Direct Spending) Mostly entitlements, mostly on autopilot Potential for high political sensitivity = third rail Discretionary Spending: Adjusted annually Easy (nondefense) targets? i.e. Sequestration Vast majority of federal R&D is discretionary

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7 A Typical Federal Budget Process: Three Years, Four Phases Phase 4: Execute the fiscal years budget (not shown) Arranged by fiscal year (October to September)

8 The Federal Budget Cycle Phase 1: Internal agency discussions and planning Strategic plans, staff retreats, stakeholder meetings, program assessments OMB is present throughout Early spring: guidance memo Science & Tech: Joint guidance memo from OMB / OSTP (midsummer) Agencies deliver budget justifications to OMB (early fall)

9 What Drives Presidential R&D Budget Formulation? Top-down and bottom-up priorities and politics OMB oversight and OSTP input Expert and community input Congressional legislation Big (fiscal) picture Incrementalism

10 Science + Politics Mingle: One Example Human Genome Project Community takes first interest in mapping/sequencing DOE labs take early govt interest and lead Radiation and computing power DOE labs officials convince dept. managers and advisory groups, OMB, Appropriators NIH sets up its own program Interagency rivalry evolves to collaboration Congress eventually creates NHGRI

11 The Federal Budget Cycle Phase 2: OMB performs multi-stage review, responds to agencies (passbacks) Agencies and agency heads can and do negotiate Budget proposals are finalized in January President presents the proposed budget to Congress early February

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13 Administration R&D Priorities Department of Energy: NNSA, renewables and efficiency, ARPA-E Neuroscience NASA: industry partnerships Transportation: highways and high-performance rail Extramural ag research Advanced Manufacturing Environmental research? COMPETES Agencies: $11 billion for R&D (+1% from FY14) Treading water Research budget hit? (not really)

14 The Federal Budget Cycle Phase 3: Congress gets involved Receives and reacts to Presidents budget, holds hearings IN THEORY: Approves budget resolution (simple majority) 302(b) allocations to the 12 appropriations subcommittees

15 The Budget Resolution Overall spending framework Discretionary spending figure is divvied up by appropriations committees Budget resolution is a political document (which is why they cant seem to pass one?)

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17 The Federal Budget Cycle Approps committees write/approve 12 appropriations bills Bills have to pass both chambers Differences are resolved in conference committee Can be filibustered President proposes, Congress disposes

18 What Drives Congressional Budget Decisions? All politics is local Concerns over balance, duplication, competitiveness, role of government Expert and community input Incrementalism? The Big Fiscal Context Annual Miracle

19 More examples… Dept of Agriculture research grants USDA research regular source for earmarks Outside calls for increased competitive grants (versus formula funds) over 30+ years Competitive programs phased in slowly Health Research and Congress DOD health program: breast cancer advocacy NIH doubling was a Congress-led initiative

20 Authorizations vs. Appropriations Authorization Creates and modifies programs Sets funding ceilings Under the jurisdiction of the topical legislative committees Appropriations Permits funding (power to incur obligations) Under jurisdiction of Approps Committees Can be multiyear or advance appropriations (i.e. Veterans) >$250 million in unauthorized appropriations in 2012 (per CBO)

21 House Budget Cmte Natural Resources Cmte Approps Cmte Subc on Interior + Env Subc on Energy + Water Energy + Commerce Cmte Senate Budget Cmte Energy and Nat Res Cmte Env and Pub Works Cmte Approps Cmte Subc on Energy + Water Subc on Interior + Env

22 The Federal Budget Cycle Govt is working on 3 budgets at any given time. Right now: Spending FY14 FY15 released, Congress getting involved Agencies / OMB already thinking about FY16

23 Looking ahead… Discretionary spending in FY 2015 has already been agreed 25% of sequester reductions rolled back Budget resolution in the House Beyond FY 2015: back to sequester levels Big-picture fiscal challenges remain largely unchanged Can R&D stay ahead of the curve?

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25 For more info…


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