In early June, President Biden enacted the 2023 Fiscal Responsibility Act which in turn, avoided drastic budget cuts to federal scientific research and higher education funding.
This article first appeared on the University of Oregon's Government and Community Relations blog on June 5th 2023.
On June 3, President Biden signed the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 into law, suspending the debt ceiling until 2025. The bill caps non-defense spending at its current level and allows it to increase by 1% during FY2025.
In FY24, non-defense discretionary spending – which includes programs such as student aid and scientific research – remains roughly flat. The agreement also avoids drastic cuts to federal scientific research and higher education funding but makes it harder to secure the increased funds for federal science agencies that Congress authorized last year in the CHIPS and Science Act.
The deal also includes provisions that restart student loan repayments and requires the Department of Education to resume collecting payments at the end of August. On June 7, President Biden vetoed the resolution that would overturn the administration’s loan forgiveness plan. The Supreme Court is currently reviewing a legal challenge that would eliminate the program.
Association of American Universities President Barbara Snyder said “I am pleased that Congress was able to reach a bipartisan agreement averting a default that would have had devastating consequences for our country and for higher education. The agreement also avoids drastic cuts to federal scientific research and higher education funding, but makes it harder to secure the increased funds for federal science agencies that Congress authorized last year in the CHIPS and Science Act. It is crucially important that we continue our advocacy efforts and coax Congress to fulfill the promise of CHIPS and Science. Please continue reaching out to your delegations to emphasize the importance of these funding increases to your universities and to keeping the United States globally competitive.”
Ultimately, the deal sets a topline spending agreement under which Congress must pass an appropriations package by October 1, 2023 (the start of FY 2024). If Congress does not pass an appropriations package by January 1, 2024 and instead passes a continuing resolution, the deal includes a trigger to automatically reduce spending by 1 percent from FY23 levels.