President Biden’s fiscal year 2022 request for discretionary funding sent to Congress on April 9 would line up the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for substantial budget increases that include significant amounts for tech-related spending.

The request, which is a precursor to a formal budget document expected from the White House later this spring, proposes $4.8 billion for IT modernization at VA, along with $2.7 billion for the agency’s electronic health records (EHR) program. NSF would see a 20 percent boost in funding, part of which would be for its new technology directorate.

VA Tech

Overall, the President’s discretionary funding request for FY2022 includes $113.1 billion in discretionary funding for VA, which amounts to an 8.2 percent increase over FY2021 levels. The $4.8 billion requested for IT modernization would help VA’s Office of IT “pilot application transformation efforts, support cloud modernization, deliver efficient information technology services, and enhance customer service experience,” the request document says.

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Further for VA, the $2.7 billion of funding for the EHR program would “ensure veterans receive world-class healthcare well into the future,” and continue the agency’s modernization journey.

NSF Innovation

The President is also requesting $10.2 billion for NSF in the FY2022 discretionary request, which would be a $1.7 billion, or 20 percent increase, from the FY2021 enacted level.

Part of the funding for NSF would go to establishing “a new directorate for technology, innovation, and partnerships within NSF to help translate research into practical applications.”

Additionally, it would work with programs across NSF and other Federal and non-Federal entities to “expedite technology development in emerging areas that are crucial for U.S. technological leadership.” Those areas include: AI, high performance computing, disaster response and resilience, quantum information systems, robotics, advanced communications technologies, biotechnology, and cybersecurity.

NIH Projects

Elsewhere in the budget request, the Biden administration is requesting $6.5 billion to launch the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). ARPA-H would “drive transformational innovation in health research and speed application and implementation of health breakthroughs.”

Overall, the budget request proposes $51 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a $9 billion increase over the FY 2021 enacted level. ARPA-H would fall under the NIH umbrella.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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