FY23 Update: Omnibus Numbers Released; NSF Receives Historic Budget Increase

**Please Note: this post will be updated, as there are discrepancies between the numbers released by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees; our analysis may change as we receive more information. As well, the information that covers the defense research accounts is incomplete; we will wait for additional information to be released by the Congressional committees before providing analysis for those accounts.**

**Update 12/22/22** – The Senate passed the FY23 Omnibus Thursday afternoon, on a 68-29 vote, sending it to the House for consideration. It is expected to pass the House quickly.

**Update 12/23/22** – The House passed the FY23 Omnibus Friday afternoon, on a 225-201-1 vote. This sends the legislation to President Biden to be signed into law. Fiscal Year 2023 is complete.

Original Post: Early Tuesday morning, Congressional appropriators released their Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Omnibus funding legislation. The proposed bill, the result of months of negotiations between Congressional Democrats and Republicans, contains a 12 percent increase for the National Science Foundation, the, “largest dollar increase for NSF of all time and the largest percentage increase for the Foundation in more than two decades.” The bill, coming three months after the fiscal year began at the beginning of October, will finalize the FY23 budget and complete the very last item on the 117th Congress’ to-do list. Congress has to the end of the week to pass the legislation and send it to the President’s desk to be signed into law; all signs are pointing to that happening.

This funding legislation is the result of a number of things coming together. First, is the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act over the summer, the landmark piece of legislation that provided emergency appropriations for semiconductor manufacturing and research, as well as large funding authorizations for several science agencies, NSF in particular. Those authorizations were only policy, not actual dollars; Congress still needed to appropriate the funds for the science agencies to spend them. The research community has been advocating for those authorization levels to become actual dollars since the CHIPS Act’s passage. Those efforts clearly paid off.

Second, this is also the final legacy bill for several Congressional champions of scientific research. Most notable are Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), the out-going chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, who is retiring at the end of this Congress; and Speaker Pelosi stepping down as the leader of the House Democratic Caucus. This was a final chance to provide support for several policy items, science being just one of many.

Now, let’s get into the details:


The National Science Foundation would receive $9.90 billion for FY23, an increase of $1.06 billion over last year or +12 percent. That number comes with an asterisk, as the total number is broken up between the CJS section of the bill ($9.54 billion) and the supplemental section ($335 million). The supplemental funding is marked for implementing the CHIPS Act sections of the bill; more on this in a moment.

As for the funding levels of the subaccounts of the Foundation, the Research and Related Activities (R&RA) account, which hosts NSF’s research portfolio, would receive an 8.3 percent increase, up from $7.20 billion in FY22 to $7.80 billion for FY23. The Directorate for STEM Education (EDU), formerly the Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate, would also see an increase of 36 percent, going from $1.01 billion in FY22 to $1.37 billion in FY23.

As for the TIP Directorate, no dollar amount is provided, which is normal for the directorates within RRA. However, in the explanatory statement for Division B, which covers NSF, the appropriators say, “the agreement (ie: the legislation) recognizes NSF’s critical role in driving U.S. scientific and technological innovation and supports,” the TIP Directorate. This gives NSF the green-light to go ahead with their plans for TIP without specific funding instructions from Congress. The Administration had requested $880 million in its budget request for TIP back in March, so that will likely be what the agency will try to spend. There is also additional money for RRA in the supplemental section of the bill (more below) which will be used for CHIPS Act implementation; this will likely be used for TIP.

As for the supplemental funding section, NSF would receive the following:

  • $2.5 million for RRA for, “for necessary expenses related to damage to research facilities and scientific equipment in calendar year 2022;”
  • $210 million is included for research and related activities to implement CHIPS Act provisions;
  • $125 million is provided for STEM education programs to implement CHIPS Act provisions.

It’s not clear why the appropriators put these funds in the supplemental funding section. It could be a work-around, to satisfy Republican demands to not increase non-defense spending, while still providing the funding to implement a popular piece of legislation (i.e.: CHIPS). Historically, Congress does not treat emergency supplementals like the regular appropriation bills and thinks of them as a special category of funding; this is mostly for political expediency.

The appropriators say many good things about NSF in their explanatory statement, which allows Congress to provide more detail and direction on policy items. Congress support’s NSF’s investments in AI, encouraging the agency to, “invest in the ethical and safe development of Al and to continue the expansion of the National Al Research Institutes.” Congress also continues to support the National Quantum Initiative, supporting the President’s request in this area and encouraging NSF to continue their work. There are a number of provisions about expanding research capacity at HBCUs and MSIs. Also, regional diversity in research funding is a new issue of importance to Congress; they tell NSF to, “the maximum extent possible,” to provide, “15.5 percent of NSF research funding and 16 percent of scholarship funding go to EPSCoR States in fiscal year 2023,” and provides $245M for the program. EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) is NSF’s program to set aside money for states that do not receive the majority of the agency’s research funding; this program’s expansion was a major part of the CHIPS Act. Finally, there is a section on Research Security, which supports NSF’s, “initiative to create clear guidelines that inform researchers and universities on disclosure requirements pertaining to research security.”

FY22 FY23 PBR FY23 House FY23 Senate FY23 Final $ Change % Change
NSF Total $8.84B $10.50B $9.63B $10.34B $9.90B +$1.06B +12%
R&RA $7.20B $8.43B $7.71B $8.30B $7.80B +$600M +8.3%
EDU/EHR $1.01B $1.38B $1.25B $1.30B $1.37B +$360M +36%

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) numbers are the best of the research agencies and it’s the big winner within the CJS section of the Omnibus. The top line for the agency would be well funded, receiving $1.65 billion in FY23, which would be an increase of $420 million or a 34 percent increase. The institutes’ Science and Technical Research and Services (STRS) account, where the majority of the agency’s research is housed, would also see a healthy increase for FY23: $953 million, which is $103 million more (+12 percent) than it received for FY22.

FY22 FY23 PBR FY23 House FY23 Senate FY23 Final $ Change % Change
NIST Total $1.23B $1.48B $1.47B $1.70B $1.65B +$420M +34%
STRS $850M $975M $953M $975M $953M +$103M +12%

NASA’s budget does not fare as well overall as the other research agencies, but still receives increases. The top line for the agency goes from $24 billion in FY22 to $25.40 billion in FY23, an increase of $1.4 billion or 5.8 percent. That is below both the House (+6.3 percent) and Senate (+8.3 percent) marks.

As for the NASA Science account, it would receive a smaller increase of 2.6 percent, going from $7.60 billion in FY22 to $7.80 billion in FY23 (an increase of $200 million). Much like the agency’s top line, these numbers are below both the House (+4.1 percent) and Senate (+5.3 percent) marks.

FY22 FY23 PBR FY23 House FY23 Senate FY23 Final $ Change % Change
NASA Total $24.00B $26.00B $25.50B $26.00B $25.40B +$1.4B +5.8%
Science $7.60B $7.99B $7.91B $8.00B $7.80B +$200M +2.6%

Energy: Dept of Energy, ASCR, and ARPA-E

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science would receive a solid increase in the FY23 Omnibus. The agency’s budget would go from $7.48 billion in FY22 to $8.10 billion in FY23, an increase of 8.3 percent or $620 million. Within the Office of Science, the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program, which houses the majority of the computing research at DOE, would see a deceptively good increase of 2.9 percent – going from $1.04 billion in FY22 to $1.07 billion in FY23. I say deceptive because, as with last year’s budget number, the ASCR construction subaccounts receive large decreases due to their projects coming closer to completion. Meanwhile the ASCR research subaccounts would receive increases. In fact, the $1.07 billion number is almost exactly what the Administration requested for the program in the Spring.

Finally, the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, or ARPA-E, would receive an increase but not near the House (+22 percent) or Senate (+27 percent) plans. The agency would be funded at $470 million in FY23, an increase of 4.4 percent or $20 million over FY22 ($450 million).

FY22 FY23 PBR FY23 House FY23 Senate FY23 Final $ Change % Change
DOE SC Total $7.48B $7.80B $8.00B $8.10B $8.10B +$620M +8.3%
ASCR $1.04B $1.07B $1.05B $1.08B $1.07B +$30M +2.9%
ARPA-E $450M $700M $550M $570M $470M +$20M +4.4%

Defense: DOD and DARPA

12/21/22: The legislative language the Appropriation Committees released on December 20th is incomplete for the defense research accounts. This limits CRA’s ability to provide a full analysis of these accounts. We are still monitoring the situation and hope that the committees release more information in the near future. Once we have those details, we will update this post.

Update 12/22/22: Both AIP FYI and AAAS were able to assemble a complete picture of the funding situation at the defense research agencies with the information that has been released. While there are slight differences between the two analysis’s, they are close enough to understand what is happening; the specific numbers may be updated, once we have more information.

Basic Research (6.1) would receive an increase, going from $2.76 billion in FY22 to $2.92 billion in FY23, an increase of 5.8 percent or $160 million.

The Applied Research (6.2) account fairs much the same. The account would see an increase of 13 percent compared to last year’s budget, going from $6.91 billion in FY22 to $7.80 billion (+$890 million) in FY23.

The Advanced Technology Development (6.3) account would receive the biggest increase, going from $9.22 billion in FY22 to $11.61 billion in FY23; an increase of $2.39 billion or 26 percent.

Finally, DARPA would also receive an increase over FY22. The agency would go from $3.87 billion in FY22 to $4.06 billion in the FY23 Omnibus, an increase of 4.9 percent or $190 million. This is roughly what the House proposed in their funding plan and is above the Senate’s (which proposed a 1.8 percent cut).

FY22 FY23 PBR FY23 House FY23 Senate FY23 Final $ Change % Change
DOD 6.1 $2.76B $2.38B $2.60B $3.36B $2.92B +$160M +5.8%
DOD 6.2 $6.91B $5.79B $6.57B $7.00B $7.80B +$890M +13%
DOD 6.3 $9.22B $8.29B $9.16B $10.17B $11.61B +$2.39B +26%
DARPA $3.87B $4.12B $4.06B $3.80B $4.06B +$190M +4.9%

Health: NIH and ARPA-H

NIH’s budget requires some explanation. There was a long policy debate in Congress this year about where ARPA-H, the Advanced Research Project Agency – Health, should reside bureaucratically. The Biden Administration wanted the agency in NIH, while many champions in Congress wanted it within the Department of Health and Human Services. Ultimately, the Congressional champions won out.

This is relevant in order to properly compare last year’s NIH budget, which contained ARPA-H, to its final FY23 budget, which does not. In the language released yesterday, NIH would be funded at $47.50 billion for FY23, which would be an increase of $1.5 billion, or 3.3 percent, over FY22 levels ($46 billion). However, the $46 billion from last year contained $1 billion for ARPA-H; removing that and comparing the new numbers (FY22 – $45 billion vs FY23 – $47.5 billion), gives a more apples-to-apples comparison, and NIH would increase by 5.6 percent.

Update 12/22/22: After further examination of the bill’s text, our initial understanding of where ARPA-H, the Advanced Research Project Agency – Health, will be located was not accurate. The program would be located bureaucratically within NIH but, in the Labor, Health, and Human Services explanatory statement, the appropriators expect, “ARPA-H to be physically located away from the main NIH campus.” Also, “recruitment from the existing NIH workforce should be avoided.” The appropriators instead recommend that ARPA-H recruit from, “industry, academia, and think tanks, as well as from proven advanced research project organizations.” The view among many Congressional champions of ARPA-H is that NIH’s research culture is too risk averse and, to reap the most benefits from an ARPA program, it needs to have a culture distinct from the larger research agency.

This changes the overall read of NIH’s budget, as the agency’s topline would include ARPA-H and allow a direct comparison to last year’s budget number. NIH would be funded at $47.50 billion for FY23, which would be an increase of $1.5 billion, or 3.3 percent, over FY22 levels ($46 billion).

Original post: As for ARPA-H, it would increase by 50 percent, going from $1 billion in FY22 to $1.50 billion in FY23. The increase would go to, “to accelerate the pace of scientific breakthroughs for diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer.”

FY22 FY23 PBR FY23 House FY23 Senate FY23 Final $ Change % Change
NIH Total $46.00B $49.04B $47.46B $48.00B $47.50B +$1.5B +3.3%
ARPA-H $1.00B $5.00B $2.75B $1.00B $1.50B +$500M +50%

Closing Analysis:

Unless something extraordinary happens, these are likely to be the final numbers for Fiscal Year 2023. Congress has until the end of the week (Dec 23rd) to pass a budget. Because of a procedural maneuver, the Senate will pass this first, followed by the House; that should speed up passage. Senate could pass the bill as early as Wednesday. The expectation is this will be passed into law with time to spare.

After a phenomenal summer, where Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act, reorganizing NSF and making it the lead federal agency in charge of keeping the nation competitive in scientific research and emerging technologies, this Omnibus is an excellent way to close out the fiscal and calendar years. Looking ahead to next year, we will await the President’s release of his Fiscal Year 2024 request; that will likely happen in February. That will set up an interesting year, politically speaking, where we will see how a divided Congress will operate.

FY23 Update: Omnibus Numbers Released; NSF Receives Historic Budget Increase