Legislative Updates

Senate Commerce Committee Outlines S&T Budget Priorities for FY 2018


In early March, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee provided its “Views and Estimates” on science and technology (S&T) program funding to the Senate Budget Committee for their use in developing the FY 2018 budget resolution.The Views and Estimates essentially outlines the Senate Commerce Committee’s S&T priorities for the budget year for all the federal departments and agencies within their jurisdiction.

Selected highlights for key S&T agencies include:

National Science Foundation (NSF)

In reviewing the National Science Foundation’s budget, the Commerce Committee indicated its support for the following programmatic priorities: the Innovation Corps program to accelerate the commercialization of university research; STEM education activities such as Cybercorps, the BRAIN project, and NSF’s cybersecurity R&D program.


The Commerce Committee noted “it is critical that NASA focus its funding to align the agency’s core mission priorities related to expanding human space exploration, traditional sciences, aeronautics, and related research areas.”


National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

The Commerce Committee endorsed NIST’s FY 2017 funding levels and priorities with a strong emphasis on cybersecurity. In contrast to their House counterparts who called for its defunding, the Senate Commerce Committee aendorsed continuation of NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Program at the levels authorized last year in the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (P.L. 114-329).

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The Commerce Committee supports flat funding for the NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service and its polar and geostationary observation satellites. Also endorsed are NOAA’s Earth Observing Nanosatellite-Microwave program, as well as the work done by the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, with a focus on weather forecasting.

National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

Noting that NTIA is responsible for administering spectrum allocated for government use, the Commerce Committee indicated its oversight priority would be on improving the speed at which NTIA was repurposing inefficiently used government spectrum to serve the growing demands of commercial broadband mobile services.


Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

The Commerce Committee recommends that funding for the Federal Aviation Administration be maintained at least at current levels, and urged the FAA to focus on air traffic control modernization, keeping on track to deliver the NextGen control system by 2025, and improving aviation system capacity.

Guest Contributor

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

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