Biden Proposes Research Boost in Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Outline

Apr 19, 2021


President Biden has released an outline of discretionary spending priorities for the federal fiscal year beginning October 1, 2021. The FY 2022 “skinny” budget request includes huge increases for discretionary spending accounts tied to key research and development activities and a small increase in defense spending. The budget outline serves as a starting point for the FY 2022 budget and appropriations process in Congress, even as talks continue on the Administration’s proposed $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal. 
The discretionary request proposes $769 billion in non-defense discretionary funding, a 16 percent increase over the FY 2021 enacted level, and $753 billion for national defense programs, a 1.7 percent increase. Overall, the request would restore non-defense discretionary funding to 3.3 percent of GDP, roughly equal to the historical average over the last 30 years.
The discretionary request proposes historic increases in funding for R&D across a range of scientific agencies—including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and others. The proposal would also invest heavily in clean energy infrastructure projects and climate resilience and disaster planning, in addition to making significant investments in water infrastructure.
R&D request highlights include:
  • $10.2 billion for the NSF, a $1.7 billion or 20-percent increase from the 2021 enacted level. The discretionary request would establish a new directorate for technology, innovation, and partnerships within NSF to help translate research into practical applications, a proposal similar to legislation currently under consideration in Congress, the “Endless Frontier Act” and the “NSF for the Future Act.”
  • $916 million, an increase of $128 million over the 2021 enacted level, to expand scientific and technological research at NIST.
  • $442 million for NIST’s manufacturing programs—more than double the 2021 enacted level, including $150 million to fully fund two new Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MIIs), one of which is aimed at restoring the United States as a global leader in the design and manufacture of semiconductors. The discretionary request also expands the Manufacturing Extension Partnership by providing $275 million, an increase of $125 million over the 2021 enacted level.
  • $7.4 billion for the DOE Office of Science, an increase of $400 million over the 2021 level.
  • Proposing quadrupling DOE’s applied energy programs over the next 4 years, including over $8 billion in FY 2022 for advanced nuclear energy technologies, electric vehicles, green hydrogen, and other DOE programs focused on enabling a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
  • $11.2 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a $2 billion or 21.3-percent increase from the 2021 enacted level.
  • $24.7 billion for NASA, a $1.5 billion or 6.3-percent increase from the 2021 enacted level.
The Administration is expected to release a full budget request in the coming weeks. To view the 58-page discretionary budget outline, visit:

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