President’s FY16 Budget Request for Science

2 February 2015
AGU Science Policy Alert 15-4

Today, the President released his annual budget request outlining his fiscal priorities for fiscal year 2016 (FY16). Below are highlights from some major agencies conducting and funding Earth and space science research.

The biggest overall change in the budget is that it ignores budget caps set by sequestration, the budget cutting mechanism that was supposed to be so ominous that it would force a divided Congress into agreeing on appropriations legislation, but wound up becoming the law of the land instead. Ignoring sequestration allows the President’s budget to fund science at higher levels. However, it is likely that Congress may lower the final budget numbers for science in 2016 to well below those shown here.

The next step the in the budget process will be members of Congress writing, debating, and passing appropriations legislation to actually fund the government in FY16. If there are proposals in the President’s budget that you would like Congress to support, contact your legislators today and let them know.

(Budget authority, in millions of dollars. Numbers are rounded.)

2015 Enacted: 27,300
2016 Proposed: 29,900
Dollar Change, 2015-2016: 2600
Percent Change, 2015-2016: 10%

  • $5.34 billion for Science to continue to lead basic research in the physical sciences and develop and operate cutting-edge scientific user facilities while strengthening the connection between advances in fundamental science and technology innovation.
  • $560 million for Fossil Energy Research and Development to advance carbon capture and storage and natural gas technologies.
  • $2.72 billion (42.3% increase over FY15) for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) to continue a diverse suite of sustained investment in development of renewable generation technologies, sustainable transportation technologies, and development of manufacturing technologies and enhanced energy efficiency in our homes, buildings and industries.

2015 Enacted: 8,100
2016 Proposed: 8,600
Dollar Change, 2015-2016: 500
Percent Change, 2015-2016: 6% Highlights:

  • The budget sets aside $239 million for EPA’s climate change work.
  • The Budget includes $25 million in grants to help states to develop their Clean Power Plan strategies.

2015 Enacted: 18,000
2016 Proposed: 18,500
Dollar Change, 2015-2016: 500
Percent Change, 2015-2016: 3%

  • Within the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Budget provides $1.9 billion to sustain progress toward satellite missions and research that will improve our understanding of Earth, its atmosphere, and oceans.
  • The Science Mission Directorate budget within NASA is $5,289 million, up $44 million from FY15 enacted, which is a 0.8% increase.
  • The Science Mission Directorate budget includes $1,361 million for Planetary Science (a 5.3% decrease under FY15 enacted) and $651 million for Heliophysics in the FY16 request (a 1.6% decrease under FY15 enacted).

2015 Enacted: 5,449
2016 Proposed: 5,983
Dollar Change, 2015-2016: 534
Percent Change, 2015-2016: 10%

  • The Budget provides $2.2 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s satellite programs, including the next generation of polar-orbiting and geostationary satellite systems that are critical to weather forecasting.
  • Includes $30 million for expanded and improved ocean acidification research.
  • Language in the budget request calls for moving NOAA to the Interior Department from the Commerce Department. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has responded saying that the agency has not been advocating for this move.

2015 Enacted: 7,300
2016 Proposed: 7,700
Dollar Change, 2015-2016: 400
Percent Change, 2015-2016: 5%

  • GEO Directorate request is $1,365 million, an increase of $61 million or 5% over FY15 enacted.
  • New program supporting research on the food-energy-water nexus would receive funding of $75 million for FY16.
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) investing $135 million to improve retention of undergraduate STEM majors and improve undergraduate teaching and learning in STEM subjects to meet the President’s goal of preparing 1 million more STEM graduates over a decade.

2015 Enacted: 1,045
2016 Proposed: 1,195
Dollar Change, 2015-2016: 150
Percent Change, 2015-2016: 14%

  • Includes $155 million for the natural hazards mission, which helps to protect communities from hazards such as earthquakes, landslides and flooding.
  • The Budget also proposes funding for the Sustainable Land Imaging program, jointly managed by NASA and the Department of Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey, to continue the 42-year unbroken record of global land-imaging measurements made by the Landsat series of satellites. Consistent with the Administration’s open data initiative, the Budget continues investments across multiple agencies in improving the accessibility and usability of Earth-observing data.