FY 2024 Funding Bills Advance, Outlook is Still Murky

As previously reported, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have started moving fiscal year (FY) 2024 appropriations bills in recent weeks. The House Appropriations Committee has reported out five of its 12 appropriations bills, including those covering funding for agriculture, defense, energy and water, homeland security, and legislative branch activities. The Senate committee recently approved two bills dealing with military construction/veteran’s affairs and agriculture. On the surface, progress appears to be moving at a decent pace. However, bigger political pressures continue to bog down the annual appropriations process, creating lots of uncertainty about the path forward.

Last week before considering its funding for two bills, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted along party lines to approve its FY 2024 subcommittee allocations, known as 302(b). These are top-line funding levels that are provided to each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees, setting the parameters for how much discretionary funding each can spend in their respective bills.

According to the allocations (see table below), the Democrat-controlled Senate plans to write its bills to comport with the overall budget cap set in the debt limit agreement brokered last month ($1.59 trillion in discretionary spending), which includes $886.3 billion in defense spending and $703.7 billion in nondefense spending.

However, as previously reported, Republican leadership in the House has chosen to cut FY 2024 spending below the amount set in the agreement ($1.47 trillion for discretionary spending, with most cuts coming from non-defense accounts). You can see in the table below how priorities differ between the House and Senate.

Congress is currently out on a two-week recess for the Independence Day holiday. When they return, the Appropriations Committees are expected to continue working through their bills, with an eye toward bringing as many to their respective floors for a vote before the month-long August recess. The next tranche of bills to be considered is expected to include the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) bill, which funds the National Science Foundation, Department of Justice, Census Bureau, and other federal agencies and programs. There is a nearly $11 billion difference between the House and Senate allocations for the CJS bill.

The other bill important to the science community is the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) bill, which funds the National Institutes of Health and other agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, and several federal statistical agencies. However, the LHHS bill tends to be one of the last considered given that it contains several accounts related to social assistance programs and other polarizing topics like reproductive health and LGBTQIA+ provisions. Underscoring the partisan divide when it comes to the LHHS bill, there is a $48 billion difference between the House and Senate allocations for this bill.

At this stage, the endgame remains unclear given the ongoing dispute between the two chambers. The new fiscal year begins October 1, which suggests that a continuing resolution (CR) will likely be needed to keep the government open until the FY 2024 process can be completed.

Stay tuned to COSSA’s coverage for all the details.

New from COSSA

REQUEST FOR INPUT: Shaping NSF’s TIP Directorate

 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is seeking public input into the development of a roadmap for the newly created Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP). The roadmap will guide the TIP Directorate’s activities and directions for the next three years, and COSSA needs your input to help ensure that insights from social and behavioral science research are included—if not prioritized—in efforts to shape the future of U.S. technology development and deployment.

COSSA will be submitting comments to NSF on behalf of the research community before the deadline. We want to hear from you. Comments and ideas for the roadmap should be sent to COSSA by July 13 in order to be considered as part of our submission. We welcome any and all contributions that you think help tell the story of why social and behavioral science must be part of TIP activities.

Read on to find out how you can contribute here.

 

Congressional News

LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act Reintroduced

 

On June 9, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) reintroduced the LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act in both the House and Senate. The bill aims to improve Federal population surveys by requiring the collection of voluntary, self-disclosed information on sexual orientation and gender identity in certain surveys, and for other purposes.

 

“The LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act will help policymakers and leaders understand the full extent of the discrimination our LGBTQ+ community faces and how to better serve our constituents as we work toward fairness, freedom, and full equality,” said Senator Baldwin.

 

In 2022, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) published a report detailing the need for comprehensive and robust data for the LGBTQI+ community. Among the 65 civil rights, public health, and scientific organizations supporting the bill are the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Association, American Public Health Association, Center for American Progress, Human Rights Campaign, The Trevor Project, and Whitman-Walker Institute.

 

In June 2022, the LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act passed in the House on a 220-201 vote, but ultimately failed to progress any further.

 

House Science Committee Holds Hearing on Advancing AI

 

On June 22, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing titled, “Artificial Intelligence: Advancing Innovation Towards the National Interest.” The hearing focused on the ethical implications of AI, the importance of responsible AI governance, and how increased public participation in AI oversight can steer the technology towards reflecting our national values. A primary recommendation that emerged during the hearing was the use of “red teaming;” that is, involving independent third-party experts who are given access to company AI systems to identify and address flaws.

Dr. Dewey Murdick, Executive Director of the Center for Security and Emerging Technology Committee, underscored the significance of red teaming. “Inviting external experts to test our AI systems is a proactive step to ensure their security and robustness,” stated Dr. Murdick. “These red teams will play a critical role in maintaining the integrity of AI systems.”

Similarly, Dr. Rumman Chowdhury, a Responsible AI Fellow at Harvard University expressed the need for a diverse array of scientific disciplines to  participate in understanding the societal impacts of AI, addressing bias, ensuring inclusive representation, and contributing to public discussions around responsible AI governance.

 

Executive Branch News

Mandy Cohen to be Named Next CDC Director

 

On June 16, the President announced his intention to appoint Dr. Mandy Cohen as the next Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cohen will replace Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the current Director who has been serving since 2020. Cohen is expected to start in July; the CDC Director does not currently require Senate confirmation.

In the release announcing the appointment, President Biden stated, “Dr. Cohen is one of the nation’s top physicians and health leaders with experience leading large and complex organizations, and a proven track-record protecting Americans’ health and safety… Dr. Cohen has been recognized by leaders from both parties for her ability find common ground and put complex policy into action. I look forward to working with Dr. Cohen as she leads our nation’s finest scientists and public health experts with integrity and transparency.”

Cohen previously served as the Director of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. She also served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and as Acting-Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO). Cohen received her medical degree from the Yale School of Medicine and a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

 

NSF Releases New Guidelines on Research Security

 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released the Research Security Analytics Guidelines, a public document outlining the agency’s research security data-related practices. Developed in response to extensive feedback from community stakeholders, the guidelines serve as a strategic blueprint to safeguard the integrity and security of science, while promoting an open and collaborative research environment.

The guidelines specify that:

1.  Research security concerns will not be a determining factor in the merit review process by program staff.

2.  The Office of the Chief of Research Security Strategy and Policy (OCRSSP) will exclusively conduct all research security analytics activities at NSF.

3.  Program staff are prohibited from conducting intentional information querying activities related to research security. Any concerns arising during routine merit review activities must be reported to OCRSSP.

“These new Guidelines for Research Security Analytics are intended to ensure the responsible use of taxpayer funding, enabling NSF to continue building an open research ecosystem that preserves U.S. innovation leadership,” said Rebecca Keiser, NSF’s Chief of Research Security Strategy and Policy.

The new policy is a byproduct of NSF’s JASON study (See COSSA’s previous coverage). JASON is an independent scientific and national security advisory body overseeing the “Research on Research Security” program. Over recent years, the program has aimed to fund scientific investigation into facets of research security. The JASON report strongly encourages collaborative efforts between social scientists and natural science researchers, reinforcing the role of social sciences in shaping a successful research program.

 

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Trans-Atlantic Platform Seeks Social Science Proposals to Address Democracy, Governance and Trust Challenges

 

On June 22, The Trans-Atlantic Platform for Social Sciences and Humanities (T-AP) announced a new call for proposals focusing on Democracy, Governance and Trust (DGT). The call seeks to examine the crucial roles of democracy, governance, and trust in addressing contemporary societal challenges and disruptions.

Established as a collaborative initiative between humanities and social science research funders from across the Atlantic, T-AP is dedicated to fostering transnational dialogue and relationships among funders, research organizations, and researchers. The Platform is now offering researchers an opportunity to contribute to this mission with their insights on DGT. The National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) are part of the effort.

The DGT call for proposals encourages projects that delve into how these three pivotal elements shape the response to both short-term crises and long-term challenges. The aim is to deepen understanding of the discontent and disruption facing many societies and the integral role of democracy, governance, and trust in tackling these issues.

Proposers seeking funding from NSF are required to ensure their submission falls within the scientific purview of the NSF Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE). Prior to submission, candidates should consult SBE’s programs and engage with the T-AP program director to discuss their proposal’s alignment with NSF and SBE’s purview before submitting their international team proposal to any T-AP call.

T-AP facilitates the formation of networks within these fields and encourages interdisciplinary approaches. Through this call for proposals, T-AP continues to underscore the vital role social sciences and humanities play in tackling the challenges of the 21st century.

Details about the call and the application process are available on the T-AP website.

 

Science Community news

RSVP: The Census Project’s Virtual Briefing on the Latest ACS Report

 

The Census Project will be hosting a virtual briefing on Monday, July 24 to discuss its newest report: “America’s Essential Economic and Social Data at Risk: A Vision to Preserve and Enhance the American Community Survey”.

Dr. Linda Jacobsen, Senior Fellow at the Population Reference Bureau, will summarize findings from the report and present new sections that spotlight how the ACS informs policies and programs serving veterans and the nation’s health care industry. The briefing will also feature former Census Bureau Director Dr. John Thompson. Dr. Thompson will highlight how the ACS fits into broader data collection modernization and dissemination initiatives that the Census Bureau is pursuing.

RSVP for the briefing here.

 

Resources & Opportunities

COSSA Letters & Statements

 

·    NEW: 06/21/2023: Updated Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) Letter to the House on FY 2024 Funding for the National Science Foundation

·    NEW: 06/21/2023: Updated Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) Letter to the Senate on FY 2024 Funding for the National Science Foundation

 

Nomination Opportunities

 

·    AAAS: 2024 Philip Hauge Abelson Prize (Closes: June 30, 2023)

 

Funding Opportunities

 

·    NIH: Research on Biopsychosocial Factors of Social Connectedness and Isolation on Health, Wellbeing, Illness, and Recovery (R01 BESH Required) (R01 Clinical Trials Not Allowed) (R01 Clinical Trial Required) (Closes: June 22, 2024)

·    NIH: Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Validation of Digital Health and Artificial Intelligence Tools for Improved Assessment in Epidemiological, Clinical, and Intervention Research (Closes: March 9, 2024)

·    NIH: Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers (MOSAIC) Institutionally-Focused Research Education Award to Promote Diversity (Closes: November 16, 2023)

·    NIH: Institutional Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in Biomedical and Behavioral Research Prize Competition (Closes: September 26, 2023)

·    NSF: Growing Research Access for Nationally Transformative Equity and Diversity (GRANTED) (Rolling Deadline)

 

Requests for Comment & Calls for Papers

 

·    NEW: T-AP call on Democracy, Governance and Trust (Closes: November 6, 2023)

·    PCAST: Working Group on Generative AI Invites Public Input (Closes: August 1, 2023)

·    Request for Proposals: NIJ Innovations in Measuring Community Perceptions Challenge (Closes: July 31, 2023)

·    NEW: Request for Input: Shaping NSF’s TIP Directorate (Closes: July 13, 2023)

 

Open Positions, Fellowships, & Professional Development Opportunities

 

·    William T. Grant Foundation: William T. Grant Scholars Program (Closes: July 5, 2023)

 

Upcoming Events

 

·    NASEM: Virtual Public Session on Understanding and Addressing Misinformation About Science, July 11, 2023, Virtual

·    NEW: The Census Project Virtual Briefing on the latest ACS Report, July 24, 2023, Virtual

·    American Psychological Association Annual Convention, August 3-5, 2023, Washington, DC

·    Joint Statistical Meetings, August 5-10, 2023, Toronto, ON, Canada

·    American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, August 17-21, 2023, Philadelphia, PA

·    American Political Science Association Annual Meeting & Exhibition, August 31-September 3, 2023, Los Angeles, CA

·    NEW: Evaluation 2023, October 9-14, 2023, Indianapolis, IN

·    NEW: Council on Social Work Education’s Annual Program Meeting, October 26-29, 2023, Atlanta, GA

 

A list of COSSA members’ annual meetings and other events can be found on the COSSA events page. COSSA members who have an upcoming event they would like to see listed in the Events Calendar and on our website should send an email to ebailey@cossa.org.

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