Federal Funding for FY2016

18 December 2015:

On Friday, 18 December 2015 Congress passed a $1.149 trillion omnibus spending bill that will fund the federal government for fiscal year 2016. The bill now goes to the President’s desk, where he is expected to sign the bill.

Overall, most federal science agencies saw increases in funding, in part due to The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which raised federal discretionary spending by 5.2% or $33 billion for fiscal year 2016.  The chart below outlines overall spending levels for the federal science agencies.

Funding for Agencies (in millions of dollars)

Program FY15 Enacted FY16 President’s Request FY16 Omnibus  

% change from FY15 to FY16 Omnibus

NSF Overall 7,344 7,724 7,463 + 1.62 %
NASA Overall 18,010 18,529 19, 285 + 7.08 %
NOAA Overall 5,441 5,983 5,766 + 5.97 %
USGS Overall 1,045 1,195 1,062 + 1.63 %
DOE Overall 27,402 29,924 29, 717 + 8.45 %
EPA Overall 8,139 8, 591 8,139 0.0 %


For more details about the omnibus, including science policy riders, check out our blog post Friend or Foe of Science? The FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations BillAdditionally, the negotiated spending bill did not contain harmful science policy provisions that de-prioritized the NSF’s Geosciences Directorate or provisions that hindered climate and environmental programs.

12 December 2015:

On Friday, 11 December 2015, the House and Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) that would continue to fund the government through 16 December at current funding levels.  11 December was the deadline of the previous CR Congress passed to avert a government shutdown. 

Lawmakers need the extra time to negotiate remaining disagreements over the bills that will fund the government for the next fiscal year. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 passed in November has allowed Democrats and Republicans to agree to spending levels for government agencies and programs for fiscal year 2016, but controversial policy provisions, also known as riders, remain sticking points between the two parties. Lawmakers now have until next Wednesday to pass an omnibus spending bill that will combine all 12 appropriations bills and provide funding for the entire government. 

28 October 2015:

Late on Monday night, 26 October 2015, Congressional leaders and the White House agreed to a two-year budget deal, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The budget agreement will roll back spending caps put in place by sequestration for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.  The agreement raises federal discretionary spending by 5.2% or $33 billion for fiscal year 2016. Significantly, non-defense and defense programs saw equal increases in federal funding.  The budget agreement also raised the debt ceiling until March 2017 ensuring that the United States can continue to meet its financial obligations,  including social security, interest on the national debt, military salaries, and other payments.

The House is expected to vote on the deal today, 28 October 2015. The Senate is expected to begin considering the bill the next day.  If the deal is approved by Congress, appropriators will begin negotiating which programs and priorities will receive additional funding. Congress has until 11 December to pass all 12 appropriations bills to avoid a government shutdown.

As lawmakers begin reviewing their spending priorities, it’s imperative that AGU members tell their lawmakers why funding for science is important and how science will be advanced with an additional 5.2% in funding.  

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13 October 2015:

Late on 30 September, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) to prevent a government shutdown. The CR funds the government until 11 December 2015 under the caps set by the Budget Control Act  of 2011 (BCA). Federal programs are funded at existing FY 2015 levels, but then a small across-the-board cut is applied to all programs at the FY 2016 level set by the BCA. 

Despite the 11 December deadline set by Congress, the Treasury Department recently announced that the US will reach its debt ceiling in early November. The debt ceiling is the limit set on the amount of money the US can borrow to meet its financial obligations; including social security, interest on the national debt, military salaries, and other payments.

The White House has already begun negotiations with Senate and House leaders to reach a larger budget agreement that will both fund the government for FY 2016 and resolve the debt ceiling.

Many in Congress are advocating for the budget caps to be raised for both defense and non-defense spending, which includes all science agencies. It’s imperative that AGU members tell their Members of Congress why funding for science is important and how science will be advanced if the caps are raised.

Contact Your Legislator Today