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FYI Number 93: July 19, 2001

Appropriators Complete Work on FY 2002 National Science Foundation Bill

The Senate VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee completed its work yesterday, and this afternoon took its FY 2002 bill before the full Senate Appropriations Committee. Some information on the National Science Foundation portion of the bill has been made available. Despite a higher subcommittee allocation, the Senate bill provides significantly less money for the NSF in FY 2002 than the House bill.

The Senate bill numbers are unexpected because subcommittee chairman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ranking Minority Member Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO) are the strongest advocates in the Senate for a doubling of the NSF budget over five years. Such a doubling would have required roughly a 15% increase to keep the foundation's budget on a steady projection. The lack of a higher allocation was cited as the reason why the NSF numbers are not higher. The Senate bill provides about 1/3 of what is needed for a "doubling" budget.

The subcommittee bill would increase the total National Science Foundation budget for FY 2002 by 5.6% to $4,672.5 million. The House bill would provide a 9.4% increase to $4,840.1 million. The difference between the two bills is $168 million. Both bills are higher than the Bush Administration's request of $4,472.5 million. The current budget is $4,426.1 million.

The Senate bill also provides less for Research and Related Activities than the House bill. The Senate bill recommends an increase of 4.9% to $3,515.5 million. The House bill would increase this budget by 8.7% to $3,642.3 million. The difference between the bills is $127.8 million. The Bush Administration had sought a reduction to $3,326.9 million. The current budget is $3,350.0 million.

The two bills differ markedly in the Major Research Equipment account. The Senate bill would reduce this budget by 10.5% to $108.8 million. In contrast, the House bill recommends an 11.3% increase to $135.3 million. The difference is $26.5 million. The Bush Administration sought a reduction to $96.3 million. The current budget is $121.6 million.

The House bill is also higher for the Education and Human Resources budget. The Senate bill includes an 11.0% increase to $872.4 million, which was the Administration's request. The House bill would increase this budget by 12.8% to $886.0 million. The difference between the two bills is $13.6 million. The current budget is $785.6 million.

Report language from both the House and Senate bills will be summarized in forthcoming issues of FYI, as well as information on the Senate numbers for NASA.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted its approval of this bill this afternoon, and sent it to the full Senate. It appears that no changes were made in the National Science Foundation portion of the bill. The Senate floor schedule is unclear at this point, as Democratic and Republican leaders are arguing over the agenda for the two weeks remaining before the summer recess.

Richard M. Jones
Public Information Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi@aip.org
(301) 209-3095


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