Inside the Beltway Scoop: Omnibus Edition

By | December 17, 2015

Early Thursday, the United States House of Representatives appropriations committee released the fiscal year 2016 omnibus appropriations bill. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) is thrilled to report that the spending bill includes increases for all of the federal science agencies.

The legislation contains a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a $119 million increase for the National Science Foundation, and a $25 million increase for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. The last time the NIH received this large of an increase was in 2003.

As expected, the bill includes a full-year budget (through September 30) for all government agencies. It also provides an overall discretionary funding level of $1.067 trillion, reflecting the $50 billion in additional spending that was included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 approved by Congress in late October.

A House vote on the omnibus is expected on Friday. The bill will then be transmitted to the Senate, where the exact timing of the vote will depend on whether Senators agree to waive procedural steps to speed up consideration of the funding package.

In the meantime, Congress passed a new “continuing resolution” (CR) extending government funding through December 22 to give the Senate time to approve the appropriations bill.

A breakdown of how federal research agencies fared in the 2016 omnibus:

National Institutes of Health $30.1 billion $32 billion +$2 billion


National Science Foundation $7.34 billion $7.46 billion +$119 million


Department of Energy Office of Science $5.07 billion $5.35 billion +$279 million


Veterans Administration Medical & Prosthetic Research $589 million $630.7 million +$41.8 million


Agriculture & Food Research Initiative


Agricultural Research Service

$325 million



$1.13 billion

$350 million



$1.14 billion

+$25 million



+$10 million


FASEB President Parker B. Antin, PhD, released a statement thanking Congress for recognizing that investment in research is vital to developing new treatments for diseases. He also asked scientists to contact their representatives to urge speedy passage of the legislation.  FASEB issued an e-action alert  to raise awareness of the spending bill and its provisions.

ON THE WEB: Learn more about the spending bill and its provisions

House Appropriations Committee Press Release
Representative Nita Lowey, Ranking Democrat, House Appropriations Committee Press Release
Full Bill Text

HR 2029 Section-by-section summaries

Commerce, Justice, Science
Energy and Water
Labor, Health and Human Services
Military Construction-Veterans Affairs