House Passes Infrastructure Spending Bill With Extra $1 Billion for NASA

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act last week that includes billions of dollars in funds for NASA, NOAA and other scientific and technology agencies.

In addition to funding improvements to physical infrastructure, the measure puts a major emphasis on addressing climate change, a problem that the Biden Administration takes seriously. The previous president described as a Chinese plot to destroy American industry.

The bill now goes to the Senate where its fate is uncertain.

The figures below are from a House Science Committee fact sheet that highlights spending on key initiatives.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
$1,113,000,000

The figure is only one-third the $4.4 billion in the original measure. The amount was trimmed down during Congressional negotiations.

  • Revitalizing NASA’s Infrastructure: $748 million to repair, modify, modernize and construct NASA infrastructure and facilities.
  • Investing in the Future of Aviation: $225 million for aeronautics research and development on sustainable aviation.
  • Assessing and Mitigating Climate Change: $115 million to support climate research and initiatives to understand, observe and mitigate climate change.
  • Wildfire Research: $25 million for research and development to support the wildfire community and improve wildfire fighting operations.

“Congrats to the House for passing @POTUS’ #BuildBackBetter Act – a huge investment in American families and workers, in our climate, and our future. @NASA is ready to do our part! Investing in infrastructure, climate research & resiliency, and green aviation is just the start,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson tweeted.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Forecasting for Weather and Climate: $500 million for NOAA research on climate change including:
    • $200 million to accelerate advancements in research, observations and modeling related to weather, coasts, oceans and climate
    • $100 million for competitive climate research grants
    • $100 million for the development and distribution of climate science information products and services.
    • $100 million for research infrastructure and procurement
  • Climate Education & Computing Capacity: $20 million educational activities and materials to improve public understanding of the climate crisis and $200 million for NOAA to increase computing capacity, data management and storage.
  • Hurricane Hunters: $139 million for additional hurricane hunters – specially equipped aircraft that play an integral role in hurricane forecasting.

“The nation’s infrastructure of the future needs to be climate smart, climate ready, and climate resilient to prepare communities for the on the ground impacts of increasingly intense precipitation, hurricanes, flooding, drought, extreme heat, and fire weather events,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a statement.

“As an integral part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA’s data, analysis and predictions are used by businesses of all sizes to make critical decisions daily. This significant increase in resources for NOAA will benefit the business community across a range of sectors from agriculture to energy to transportation, especially when it comes to products and services that help prepare for extreme weather and climate-driven events,” he added.

Department of Energy

  • Research, Development & Demonstration Projects: $1 billion for demonstration projects carried out by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; $985 million to support research at the Office of Science; and $10 million for demonstration projects to reduce the environmental impacts of produced water.
  • Improving Diversity in Energy Department Projects: $5 million to support DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity to improve diversity across the Department’s research, development and demonstration activities.
  • High-assay Low Enriched Uranium: $500 million to support availability of highassay low enriched uranium (HALEU).

“Today’s House passage of the Build Back Better Act is the latest step in President Biden’s plan to transform our economy and deliver a sustainable, clean energy future for all Americans. From the biggest expansion of affordable health care coverage in a decade to free universal pre-K and the largest investments ever to combat the climate crisis, these sweeping changes and bold investments will uplift the workers, families, and communities who have demanded bold, systemic policy change from their government that prioritizes their needs,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

National Science Foundation

  • Seeking Solutions Through Science: $1.52 billion to fund the Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships to accelerate use-inspired and translational research to address some of the world’s most challenging problems. $25 million for research security activities. $55 million for cybersecurity education and training.
  • Investing in NSF Core & Climate Research: $668 million for NSF research awards, traineeships, scholarships and fellowships across all STEM disciplines and $500 million for climate change related research.
  • Promoting Diversity in Science: $200 million for research capacity building at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), $100 million to fund the modernization of academic research facilities and instrumentation at MSIs, and $25 million to ensure demographic diversity in NSF initiatives.
  • Replacing Obsolete Research Infrastructure: $200 million for the restoration, renovation or replacement of obsolete science and engineering facilities and $200 million for mid-scale and major research infrastructure.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • Air Quality and Climate Research: $100,000,000 to the EPA to conduct air quality and climate research.