Good news for NOAA in the FY 2018 bill passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  The Senate bill gives, as approved by the full Appropriations committee, gives NOAA what is likely to be the upper limit for negotiations with the House Appropriations Committee version which is a little less generous as we have seen.  Next step will be conference discussions between the staff of both House and Senate Committees to develop a final funding level.  That funding level could be set in a full Appropriations bill to be approved by both House and Senate OR included in a Continuing Resolution for FY 2018.  I feel the latter is more likely but Congress could surprise us.

For NOAA as a whole, the Senate Appropriations bill provides NOAA with a total funding level for Operations, Research and Facilities (the main account) of $5.6Billion which is $85.1Million below FY 2017 BUT $820Million above the President’s request.  The Senate Committee report indicates that the reduction is largely driven by schedule slips in the weather satellite programs.

All Climate Research is maintained at the FY2017 level including competitive grants.  This should mean the funding that NCEI receives from the Climate Program Office should be secure at the FY 2017 levels including NIDIS, assessment funding and competitive grants programs like the Sectoral Applications Research Program should be maintained if the Senate bill prevails.

NCEI is funded at $59.2Million.  I’m in the process of confirming how close this total is to the funding provided for NCEI in the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution currently in place.  It’s very close, I believe.  The Senate Appropriations Committee report specifies that NCEI Regional Climate Services programs will be maintained at the FY 2017 funding level of $6Million and specifies that the Regional Climate Centers will continue to receive $3.65Million as they do this year.

The Senate Committee bill seems to include increased funding for coastal data development data services provided by NCEI.

There is no language in the Senate Committee Report about the proposed cut to the Big Earth Data Initiative or the undescribed reduction identified in the President’s Budget and the budget tables in the Bill itself doesn’t go into that level of detail for NCEI.

That’s what I know for now.  I’ll keep everyone posted.

Eileen Shea