Federal Relations

Congress Passes Six Appropriations Bills into Law, Impacting Federal Research Funding

On March 8, 2024, Congress passed a package of six appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY) 2024. The President has signed the bill into law. Federal funding for FY2024 has been significantly delayed due to disagreement between Republicans and Democrats over top-line funding levels and the decision by the U.S. House of Representatives to vacate the Speaker, which stalled business in the House for months. The funding agreement for FY2024 largely aligns with a deal struck back in June 2023, where Democrats agreed to cap domestic funding and limit increases to defense spending to 3.3% in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling.

Many federal programs of priority to the University of Maryland were level funded or received sizable cuts in FY2024 due to the agreed-upon spending caps. Of note, the National Science Foundation (NSF) received a 5%* cut, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Science Directorate received a 6% cut, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) program received a 3.5% cut. Other programs of priority to the university were largely level funded or received slight increases or cuts, including the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Research program, and the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities (NEA and NEH).

The university also received three earmarks in this package of appropriations bills:

  • $726,000 to support a campus-wide Gun Violence Reduction Initiative led out of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • $936,000 to update and repair the Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel within the A. James Clark School of Engineering
  • $963,000 to support the purchase of instrumentation at the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR), led jointly by the University of Maryland, College Park, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and NIST.

Congress is expected to pass the remaining appropriations bills by March 22, 2024, which include federal health, education, and defense programs, among others.

Below is a summary of some of the funding levels passed in the legislative package. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) has prepared a summary of the legislative package and a funding chart with additional details.

Department of Energy (DOE)

  • Office of Science: $8.2 billion, up 1% over FY23
  • Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E): $460 million, down 2% from FY23
  • Quantum Information Science (QIS) research: $245 million, including $120 million for basic research and $125 million for QIS research centers, all level funded from FY23

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • $9.06 billion, down 5%* from FY23
  • QIS research: allows for funding up to the President’s FY24 budget request for NSF QIS research, which is $333 mill (41% increase) and encourages NSF to continue to support the National Quantum Information Science Research Centers
  • Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate: Congress does not specify funding levels for NSF directorates within the R&RA account. The explanatory statement expresses support for continued funding for the new TIP Directorate.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

  • Science Mission Directorate: $7.3 billion, down 6% from FY23
  • Earth Science: $2.195 billion, down 0.2% from FY23

Department of Commerce (DOC)

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR): $656 million, down 1% from FY23
  • NOAA Sea Grant Program: $80 million, level funded from FY23
  • NIST Scientific and Technical Research Services (STRS): $858 million, down 3.5% from FY23
  • NIST QIS research: allows for funding up to FY23 levels ($54 million)
  • Economic Development Administration (EDA) Build to Scale Program: $50 million, level funded from FY23

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Hatch Act Funds: $265 million, level funded from FY23
  • NIFA Smith-Lever Funds: $325 million, level funded from FY23
  • Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (AFRI): $445.2 million, down 2% from FY23
  • The Cooperative Forestry (McIntire-Stennis): $38 million, level funded from FY23

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

  • $207 million, level funded from FY23

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

  • $207 million, level funded from FY23

* Congress provided $335 million in supplemental (one-time) appropriations to NSF through the CHIPS and Science Act in FY23 to support workforce development and education activities. NSF budget documents include this supplemental funding in their base budget for FY23, resulting in an 8% cut in FY24.