By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC
On July 28, the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations released all 12 of its Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 spending bills. The priorities and funding levels articulated in these draft bills reflect Democratic priorities and will set the Senate’s initial position for negotiations with the House, who released their FY 2023 spending bills earlier this year. However, a deal is unlikely to be reached before current funding for FY 2022 expires on September 30, and a Continuing Resolution is expected to extend current funding levels for all federal Agencies until closer to the end of this calendar year. Like the House, the Senate bills would provide increases in funding for Democratic priorities, including climate change and clean energy, healthcare, workforce development, and social justice; but in many cases, these amounts would be less than the substantial increases proposed in the FY 2023 President’s Budget Request. Highlights of the Senate bills and programs relevant to the human factor’s community, including links to more in-depth analysis are below.
The Department of Defense (DOD) would receive $792.5 billion in the Defense Appropriations bill, a $30 billion increase from last year. This includes a $15.4 billion increase for DOD’s Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation activities, slightly above the House and requested levels. The Senate would provide basic research (6.1) largest increase of the science and technology accounts, 21.6 percent above last year, which is in stark contrast to the House and Request which both proposed slight decreases to the account. The Senate also included $100 million for the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) within each Service Branch, which HFES previously advocated for. However, the House bill highlighted support for DOD’s human performance optimization (HPO) programs, and encouraged collaboration between relevant DOD agencies, academia, and the private sector to enhance HPO efforts, which the Senate did not include. HFES will continue to support and advocate for inclusion of human factors initiatives in the final legislation.
The Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill would fund the National Science Foundation (NSF) at $10.3 billion, an increase of $1.5 billion from last year and more than $700 million above the House bill, but less than the $11 billion HFES urged the Committee to allocate. Additionally, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) would be funded at $26 billion, an increase of $1.9 billion.
Within the Labor-Health and Human Services – Education bill, the National Institute of Health (NIH) would receive a $3 billion increase, which includes $1 billion for the continued rollout of the new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), which HFES advocated for. The Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ) would receive$385.4 million, a $35 million increase, but well below the $500 million HFES requested for the program. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health would receive $367 million in funding, a $16 million increase. This would include a $2 million increase for the Education and Research Centers, which improve workplace safety by translating scientific discoveries into education and training. The Committee also noted that technology plays a key role in improving occupational safety and health and directs NIOSH, with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, to convene stakeholders to examine the role of technology in improving safety, health and wellbeing.
The Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development bill would provide the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) $19 billion, more than $500 million above FY 2022 funding and the request, and slightly more than the House bill. Robust funding for Research and Technology across the bill would expand programs to create more equitable access to transportation systems, combat climate change, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This includes $1.6 billion, an $11 million increase, for Aviation Safety at the FAA. The Committee also expressed concerns that the FAA needs to increase hiring and create new positions to keep pace with a growing number of safety issues. The bill would provide an additional $17 million for the FAA to follow recommendations from the Aircraft Certification Reform and Accountability Act of 2020, some of which HFES helped develop. It also includes $266 million for FAA Research, Engineering, and Development (RE/D), $18 million above the FY 2022 enacted level, and slightly above the House and request. The Committee further notes its support for the work the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is doing to modernize existing federal motor vehicle safety standards, including rulemakings related to autonomous vehicles, innovative vehicle safety technologies, and zero-occupant delivery vehicles.
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