federal budget

6 things you need to know about President Biden’s budget

The White House released President Joe Biden’s full budget proposal last week. As previewed in the “skinny” budget, the administration is supporting substantial increases for R&D, workforce and broadband. Support for federal programs that support entrepreneurship and the transformation of research, however, are more mixed.

Commentary: Providing context for the Biden skinny budget

A presidential budget provides, in theory, a strategic vision for the more than $1 trillion in annual, discretionary spending of the federal government. In practice, Congress will pass a spending bill that reflects its own will. The value of the president’s budget is the window it offers into the administration’s priorities. The Biden-Harris Administration’s skinny budget indicates priorities that should excite those working to build regional innovation economies.

Science and innovation prominent in Biden’s budget

Last week, the Biden-Harris administration released an initial budget proposal for FY 2022 discretionary appropriations. The document (referred to in Washington as a “skinny budget,” not because of the overall size of spending but because it serves as more of an outline or framework for the full budget proposal which will come in May) clearly emphasizes the importance of climate change, economic opportunity, equity and health as cross-cutting priorities. For regional innovation economies, these priorities would translate into significant increases in R&D funding, as well as additional funds for tech-based economic development activities.

The budget document that is available now is not a full presidential budget recommendation, which is expected in mid-May and, therefore, does not provide a suggested funding level for every federal initiative. Instead, the budget is a messaging document highlighting new efforts and existing activities that the administration would like to expand or otherwise emphasize. This insight into the president’s priorities is particularly useful early in the administration, when the government has not had much of an opportunity to shape programs through actions.

Highlights from the budget proposal by agency are available below.

Federal budget continues growth for innovation initiatives

The final FY 2021 budget provides $1.4 trillion in total federal funding, including increases in some programs affecting the innovation economy. Among SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council priorities: EDA’s Build to Scale received an appropriation of $38 million, SBA’s Regional Innovation Clusters received $6 million, and SBA’s Federal and State Technology (FAST) program received $4 million. These are just a few of the federally-funded initiatives that support regional innovation economies and a wide range of federal R&D activities.

Innovation programs see increases in Senate appropriations bills

The Senate released its draft appropriations bills for FY 2021 this week. Priorities for SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council did well, with increases for Build to Scale ($38.5 million, + $5.5 million from FY 2020) and FAST ($5 million, + $2 million) and level funding for Regional Innovation Clusters ($5 million).

Science and innovation highlights within the FY 2021 budget proposal include the following:

House budget increases innovation spending, including IAC priorities

The House has now passed 10 of the 12 annual appropriations bills for FY 2021. Within the total funding is support for key innovation priorities, including $35 million for EDA’s Build-to-Scale (i.e., Regional Innovation Strategies), $6 million for SBA’s innovation clusters program and $4 million for Federal and State Technology Partnerships (FAST). SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council had made expanding funding for each of these initiatives a priority for the year.

Another year, another budget declared DOA

The Trump administration released its FY 2021 budget this week. As with the past three iterations, Congress is unlikely to consider the proposal, which would cut domestic spending by 20 percent over a decade. Nonetheless, a quick review of the White House’s budget reveals the administration’s priorities: EDA, ARPA-E and MEP would be eliminated; total R&D would be cut by nine percent while dramatically increasing funding for AI and quantum information science; loan programs at USDA and SBA would see funding cuts made up through increasing user fees; and, technical education would see a boost through both investments in high school programs and apprenticeship initiatives.

8 things to know from the FY 2020 budget

Congress is expected to pass the FY 2020 budget this week, and as anticipated, the bills include billions in new appropriations. Innovation policy priorities, such as Regional Innovation Strategies, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and NSF, did well in the final budget. Here are the top things to know about innovation initiatives in the final budget.

1. Regional Innovation Strategies receives $33 million

Senate committee advances FY 2020 bills, $31M for RIS

The U.S. Senate advanced multiple FY 2020 bills through the appropriations committee in the past week, including the budgets for EDA, NIST, SBA, and NSF. Among the highlights include $31 million for the Regional Innovation program at EDA, a robust increase over FY 2019’s $23.5 million. While the Senate continues to work through this appropriations process, the chamber is also considering a resolution to continue funding the government from the end of the current fiscal year, Sept. 30, through Nov. 21.

Federal innovation policy at the recess — what has moved in Congress and what may happen in the fall

The 116th Congress has already advanced policies to affect regional innovation economies, and much more is poised to happen once both chambers return in September. In addition to completing the FY 2019 budget (see our Feb. coverage), this session has seen Regional Innovation Strategies legislation pass the House and Senate (albeit in different bills); the Senate working toward an overhaul of the Small Business Administration; and, the start of the FY 2020 budget process.

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