Appropriations: 117th Congress Passes FY2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

After a five-month delay, the 117th Congress passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus appropriations bill to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2022. This massive spending bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 361-69 and the Senate by a vote of 68-31. Since October 1, 2021, federal agencies have been running under a continuing resolution to fund the government at Fiscal Year 2021 levels. President Biden is expected to sign the bill into law later today.

In a press release, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) underscored the significant investments this omnibus appropriations bill will make to the nation’s federal research enterprise. The bill is also a commitment to the future of scientific research, development, and innovation in this country. It provides the largest increase in 12 years for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF funds a quarter of all federally supported basic research conducted by colleges and universities in this country. It provides a 6 percent increase for the Department of Energy Office of Science, and a 5.3 percent increase for the National Institutes of Health to speed the development of new therapies, diagnostics, and preventative measures. It includes $1 billion to launch the Advanced Research Projects for Health (ARPA-H), President Biden’s proposal to revolutionize how we prevent, treat, and cure diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.

House Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott (D-VA) stated in a press release regarding the legislation, “The package also provides significant investments to lower the cost of college, support vulnerable institutions of higher education, and promote pathways to rewarding careers.  Specifically, the bill includes the largest increase in the maximum Pell Grant—the cornerstone of our student aid system—in more than a decade and secures a notable funding increase for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities, and Minority Serving Institutions.”

A few highlights on federal agencies and programs that impact graduate education: 

  • Department of Education
    • $20 million increase in the Federal Work-Study program
    • $452.5 million increase in Higher Education programs
      • 42 percent increase in promoting postbaccalaureate opportunities for Hispanic Americans
      • $6 million increase in strengthening historically black graduate institutions
      • 35 percent increase in strengthening master’s degree programs at HBCUs
      • $3.5 million increase in international and foreign language studies, and
      • $40 million increase in Federal TRIO programs, including for the McNair Scholars program.
    • Department of Energy
      • $449 million increase for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science
    • National Science Foundation
      • $250 million increase in research and related activities directorate
      • $38 million increase in education and human resources directorate
    • National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities
      • $32.5 million increase each for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities
    • Department of Health and Human Services
      • $2.2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health
      • $1.7 billion increase for the Health Resources and Services Administration
        • 5 percent increase in graduate psychology education funding
        • 7 percent increase in children’s hospitals graduate medical education