Final FY 2000 Figures for the National Science Foundation
"I can't believe it; I just can't believe it," is how Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) put it at the end of the two hour conference committee on the bill. In one of the first instances of true cooperation between the administration and Congress in the final appropriations process, a way was found to add $600 million to the amount available for the over-all bill. This helped to enable the following for the NSF in FY 2000:
Total NSF Budget: Up over this year by 6.5%, or $238.8 million to $3,910 million.
Research and Related Activities: Up 7.1%, or $196.0 million to $2,966.0 million.
Education and Human Resources: Up 5.3%, or $35.0 million, to $697 million.
Major Research Equipment: Up 5.6%, or $5.0 million, to $95 million.
The conference report is due to be filed today, and will become available by the end of the week. This report will contain recommendations for specific programs, and will be summarized in a future FYI.
Preliminary reports indicate that the NASA space science program received another $100 million in the bill. Low-income housing participants received 60,000 additional vouchers. Veterans medical care received its largest increase ever. The EPA received more money than was requested. Americorps was funded. The final bill will easily pass the House and Senate, and President Clinton has said he will sign it.
How was all of this money found? Part of it came from unused housing funds, while other money was advanced from funding for FY 2001.
NSF Director Colwell issued a statement praising House VA/HUD Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman James Walsh (R-New York), Senate VA/HUD Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-Missouri), House VA/HUD Ranking Member Alan Mollohan (D-West Virginia), and Senate VA/HUD Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland.) Colwell remarked that they and their fellow conferees "demonstrated extraordinary leadership and a clear understanding of the importance of investing in science and engineering."
Colwell also thanked other members of the House and Senate "who voiced their support for NSF during the appropriations process." They were Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Mississippi), Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Robert Byrd (D- West Virginia), House Science Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), House Science Committee Ranking Member Ralph Hall (D-Texas), House Basic Research Subcommittee Chairman Nick Smith (R-Michigan), House Basic Research Subcommittee Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), and Representative Vern Ehlers (R-Michigan).
It would be hard to overstate the difficulty these and other members of the House and Senate leadership, and administration officials faced as they crafted the final figures in this bill. Reports indicate that Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew was instrumental in making this happen. Letters of acknowledgment of their efforts are in order.
"The action by the conferees will enable scientists and engineers across the nation to do 21st century science," said Colwell.
Richard M. Jones
Public Information Division
American Institute of Physics