By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC
President Biden released on April 9th the Administration’s first budget proposal to Congress, kicking off the annual congressional appropriations process. Unrestrained by legally imposed budget caps for the first time in a decade, President Biden proposed an 18 percent boost in discretionary spending for a total of $1.522 trillion in fiscal year (FY) 2022. President Biden’s budget request would provide $753 for defense spending, and 1.7 increase over the FY 2021 enacted level, 769 billion in non-defense spending—a $123 billion increase or 16 percent increase compared to FY 2021. This would be the first time in more than a decade that non-defense spending would exceed defense spending. This is a sharp contrast from the Trump Administration, which prioritized defense spending and proposed major cuts to other domestic programs.
While the full budget request will not be released until mid-May, this “skinny” budget emphasizes the Administration’s priorities, which are reflected across agency budget proposals: strengthening public health to address COVID-19 and prevent future crises, addressing the climate crisis and investing in clean energy, expanding access to education, and strengthening federal efforts to address racial and other inequities across the country. However, it is ultimately up to Congress to decide which proposals to embrace, modify, or reject as part of the annual appropriations process. Still, the budget proposal provides insight into new and emerging federal priorities.
Under the FY 2022 budget request, the Biden Administration proposes:
- $10.2 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF), which is a $1.7 billion or 20 percent increase over the FY 2021 enacted level. The request would also:
- Establish a new Directorate for technology, innovation, and partnership to strengthen U.S. leadership in emerging technology areas, including artificial intelligence, high performance computing, disaster response and resilience, quantum information systems, robotics, advanced communications technologies, biotechnology, and cybersecurity.
- Provide $100 million for programs to increase participation in STEM fields, an increase of 50 percent over the FY 2021 level.
- $24.7 billion for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an increase of $1.5 billion or 6 percent above the FY 2021 enacted level.
- $916 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an increase of $128 million over the FY 2021 enacted level.
- $51 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $8.1 billion over the FY 2021 enacted level.
- Of the $8.1 billion increase, $6.5 billion would be for the creation of a new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) to “drive transformational innovation in health research and speed application and implementation of health breakthroughs” with an initial focus on cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
- $715 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD), which is more than the FY 2021 budget request of $705.4 billion and level with the enacted amount of $715.8 billion. Republicans have expressed concerns that this flat funding does not provide DOD what it needs to prepare for threats from China and other adversaries.
Overall, the budget proposal would significantly increase funding for research and development, manufacturing, education, and healthcare programs. The Biden Administration will provide more insight on new proposed initiatives that impact research, higher education, and academic medicine when it releases its full budget request later in May.
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