FY2021 House appropriations bills include funding for ShakeAlert, IES

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed ten of its twelve appropriations bills for fiscal year 2021.  These bills were passed in two packages, known as a “mini-bus” instead of an omnibus. The federal fiscal year begins October 1.

On July 24, 2020, the House passed H.R. 7608, a $259.5 billion package consisting of four bills that fund federal departments including Commerce, State, Agriculture, Interior, and Veterans Affairs through September 2021. See the H.R 7608 Fact Sheet for a quick overview on what is included. The Trump administration released a statement in opposition to the H.R. 7608 minibus.

Included in the minibus under the United States Geological Survey (USGS) is funding for the ShakeAlert West Coast earthquake early warning (EEW) system. The House Appropriations Committee recommended $25.7 million for continued development and expansion of ShakeAlert, and encouraged USGS to continue collaborating with California, Oregon, and Washington in advancing the program.  

One week later, on July 31, 2020, the House passed H.R. 7617, a six-bill package funding the federal departments of Defense, Commerce, Justice, Energy, Treasury Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development through September 2021 for a total of $1.3 trillion. The H.R. 7617 Fact Sheet includes a comparable overview. The Trump administration similarly opposed the H.R. 7617 minibus in a statement.

Included in the minibus under the Department of Education is $630.5 million in funding for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Notably, the bill includes a $2 million increase for the National Center for Special Education Research to $58.5 million. While the FY21 funding constitutes a $7 million overall increase for IES from the previous fiscal year’s funding, it falls short of the APLU’s $670 million request.

Two remaining appropriations bills have yet to be considered on the floor: funding Homeland Security and the Legislative Branch itself.

For additional resources, see the APLU's detailed analyses of bills of interest to APLU institutions, the APLU priorities chart, and the AAU funding priorities tables.