Government Relations Update September 2017
White House Announces New STEM Education Grant Funding
On September 25, the administration announced that it will commit at least $200 million per year of Department of Education grant funding towards bolstering STEM and Computer Science education, "particularly among historically underserved groups." The statement from the White House focuses on the importance of investing in these programs to provide pathways to well-paying jobs. Since the announcement, companies such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have announced commitments of more than $300 million towards the initiative over the next five years.
Democrats Announce $40 Billion Broadband Deployment Plan
House and Senate Democrats unveiled a new proposal for a $40 billion investment in broadband deployments in rural, urban, and tribal areas as part of their "A Better Deal" economic agenda. The white paper accompanying the announcement calls for a mix of public and private participation, including involvement from ISPs and local governments.
House Passes Full FY2018 Appropriations Package
The House of Representatives has completed its appropriations process for FY2018 and the focus now turns to the Senate, which has yet to hold any votes on appropriations legislation. The temporary funding deal struck between the administration and leadership on Capitol Hill gives Congress until December 15th to complete the process for funding the federal government in the coming year.
The bill passed by the House, H.R. 3354, provides funding levels largely consistent with previous years, with many federal agencies being funded at or above their FY2018 requests. These include NIH (8.0% increase to $35.2 billion), DOE’s Office of Science (0.9% increase to $5.39 billion), and NSF (1.9% decrease to $7.3 billion). However, other agencies saw significant reductions in their budgets, including the FCC (9.7% decrease to $322 million), NOAA (13.7% decrease to $4.97 billion), and NPS (17.2% decrease to $2.4 billion).*
*Percentage change as compared to FY2017 funding levels.