ShakeAlert, education research funds included in spending bills

U.S. Capitol

Before its August recess, Congress took action on appropriations bills that would benefit UO programs on education research and earthquake early warning. Funding for both was kept at current levels.

The 2018 interior and environment appropriations bill that passed the House Appropriations Committee includes $10.2 million for ShakeAlert, the earthquake early warning system that relies on three seismic networks operated by four universities — the UO, University of Washington, Caltech and University of California, Berkeley. The president’s budget request had eliminated this funding.

The House Appropriations Committee also approved the 2018 labor, health and human services, and education funding bill. The bill would fund the National Institutes of Health at $35.17 billion, an overall increase of $1.09 billion from the current year and $8.25 billion above the president’s proposal. The bill keeps the current level of funding for the Institute of Education Sciences and the National Center for Special Education Research, programs important to the UO’s education research faculty.

Congress has so far rejected many of the Trump administration’s requests for big cuts in key research agency budgets. But Congress has not passed a budget resolution setting overall spending for individual appropriations bills and has not addressed budget caps and the debt ceiling.

With the House and Senate now recessed for August, it remains unclear what path Congress will use to set a budget for 2018.

For more information about the latest federal, state, and local government and community relations actions and initiatives that affect the UO, see the Government and Community Relations Update.