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Biden’s FY 2023 budget emphasizes productivity and competitiveness

March 31, 2022

The White House has released its proposed budget for FY 2023. While funding levels will ultimately be determined by Congress (see SSTI’s previous commentary putting the proposal in context), the president’s budget identifies administration priorities that can indicate future agency actions — for example, last year’s proposal for the National Science Foundation (NSF) included the Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate, and the agency moved forward with the directorate despite receiving no formal authorization or funding level. The FY 2023 budget proposal contains many helpful priorities for regional innovation economies.

Administration budget summary highlights

The portion of the budget that arguably provides the clearest insight to the administration’s priorities is the budget narrative that conveys the priorities to Congress. Initiatives identified here are receiving the greatest emphasis in the White House’s communications.

The following list identifies items of the greatest interest to tech-based economic development (TBED) strategies, organized by the section of the proposal in which they are named (and in the budget’s order).[1]

Supply chains, manufacturing and infrastructure

  • Manufacturing Extension Partnership program increase
  • Manufacturing USA Institutes program increase, with a goal of launching two new institutes in each of FY 2022 and 2023
  • Solar Manufacturing Accelerator, a new initiative proposed at $200 million
  • Funding for programs that “help ensure entrepreneurs have the tools and networks they need to bring cutting-edge innovation to the market”[2]
  • Broadband funding of $600 million (in addition to infrastructure bill funding)

Economic capacity

  • “Historic” increases for the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission
  • NSF increases for programs encouraging underrepresented groups to participate in STEM fields
  • Increased funding at the departments of Energy (DOE) and Agriculture (USDA) to support research and capacity-building at minority-serving institutions (MSIs)

Opportunities for workers

  • Initiatives to facilitate community college-workforce partnerships
  • Increased funding for registered apprenticeships

Health infrastructure

  • New investments in R&D toward rapid-response vaccine and therapeutics for new pandemics
  • Investments in public health laboratories and workforce development
  • ARPA-Health at $5 billion (proposal does not assume this would be created, as it was first funded in the FY 2022 budget at $1 billion)

Clean energy and resilience

  • Expanded funding for many DOE clean energy programs
  • Creation of a new Grid Deployment Office
  • Solar Manufacturing Accelerator (also named under manufacturing support, above)
  • New funding programs for National Labs, states and tribes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Increases in federal R&D funding across DOE, including ARPA-E, NSF and USDA

College affordability

  • Pell Grant increases on a per-student basis aimed at doubling the awards by 2029
  • Funding for MSIs to expand R&D infrastructure

Advancing equity

  • Increased funding for Small Business Administration (SBA) Entrepreneurial Development programs
  • Increased funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

Other TBED priorities

Beyond the budget narrative, the full budget proposal includes another 70 pages of agency-level summaries, a 1,400-page budget appendix, and separate multi-document budget justifications for each agency. Highlights pulled from this wealth of content include the following:

  • Economic Development Administration (EDA) Build to Scale - $51 million (+ $13 million from FY 2021)
  • SBA FAST, Regional Innovation Clusters and Growth Accelerators - $30 million (+ $18 million)
  • Manufacturing Extension Partnership - $275 million (+ $118 million)
  • NSF TIP Directorate - $880 million (with $200 for Regional Innovation Engines – a rebrand for the Regional Innovation Accelerators referenced in the FY 2022 budget)
  • R&D funding increases of 20 percent or more for ARPA-E, National Institute of Standards and Technology, DOE’s renewable energy, and the U.S. Geological Survey (per American Institute of Physics)
  • Funding at NASA for the development of the commercial space industry - $1.4 billion (as well as $224 million specific to commercial space stations)

Next steps

The federal appropriations process is long, and the president’s proposal is just the first official step. Congress will begin scheduling hearings for agency officials to defend their proposals, and the appropriations committees have started to collect requests from constituents and develop their own budget plans. While the current budget expires on Sept. 30, history suggests that the FY 2023 budget will not be finalized until after this fall’s elections — and perhaps not until early next year. SSTI will continue to cover this process and its implications for regional innovation economies in the Weekly Digest.

 

[1] The president’s FY 2023 budget document does not include funding levels relative to FY 2022, as the document was released too soon after the prior budget was finalized. Rather than correct the narrative’s increases to enacted FY 2022 levels, we instead provide only the direction of the change.

[2] This is most likely a reference to the budget’s proposal of $30 million for three SBA programs: Federal and State Technology Partnership (FAST), Growth Accelerators and Regional Innovation Clusters.

federal budget, white house, fy23budget