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Senate committee would fund Regional Innovation at $25 million

June 14, 2018
By: Jason Rittenberg

The Senate Committee on Appropriations this morning advanced a funding bill that includes $25 million for Regional Innovation Strategies — $4 million more than the current funding round. Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-KS) spoke to the importance of funding scientific innovation in a statement, and the bill strongly supports many science-related activities. The bill would provide level funding of $140 million for MEP; increase NSF to $8.1 billion (nearly $100 million less than the House bill), with more for research, STEM education and EPSCoR; and, NASA would see a nearly $600 million increase, including $179 million more for science and $10 million more for education.

Not all innovation programs would see gains in the Senate bill. NIST would see cuts of $161 million and NOAA of $426 million. Further, while the Census would see a gain of nearly $1 billion over last year, the office is specifically directed to spend less than it did on the 2010 census. In real dollars, level funding the census relative to a decade ago is an approximately 17 percent cut, according to inflation data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Congressional committees are acting quickly on FY 2019 funding bills. The House Committee on Appropriations advanced a bill to fund SBA’s entrepreneur development programs at level funding — including $5 million for the clusters program and $1 million for accelerators. Instead of increasing funding for those programs, the committee leadership designated a new $585 million “Fund for America’s Kids and Grandkids” that may only be used once the deficit is $0.

The House committee also passed the defense budget, which included more than $92 billion for R&D. The full House has passed one minibus comprising energy and water, legislative services, and military construction and veterans affairs.

The Senate’s appropriations committee has also moved bills to fund the interior and environment, legislative services, transportation and housing, and military construction and veterans affairs.

federal budget, RIS, clusters, eda, sba