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FYI Number 87: July 11, 2001

House Appropriators Vote for 9.4% Increase in NSF FY 2002 Budget

Yesterday the House VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee drafted their FY 2002 appropriations bill. The National Science Foundation budget would increase 9.4% over the current year under this legislation.

The committee report language has not been released, but some of the numbers have been made available. The below figures represent the percentage increase in the House appropriations bill over the current NSF budget:

National Science Foundation (total)   + 9.4%
Research and Related Activities   + 8.7%
Mathematical and Physics Sciences   + 9.0%
Geosciences   + 9.0%
Engineering   + 9.9%
Polar Programs   + 9.4%
Major Research Equipment   + 11.3%
Education and Human Resources   + 12.8%

House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman James Walsh (R-NY) and Ranking Minority Member Alan Mollohan (D-WV) were operating under a very tight allocation this year. At the May hearing on the NSF budget, Walsh called it an "absolute priority" that more money be provided than the 1.3% increase that President Bush had requested. These appropriations numbers reflect a statement that Mollohan made at this hearing when he said, "this committee makes independent decisions about the budget." "We are looking forward to making some changes," Walsh said at the conclusion of that hearing.

Senate appropriations subcommittee chairman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ranking Minority Member Christopher "Kit" Bond (R- MO) will have an opportunity to make their own changes to the administration's request when they meet next Tuesday (July 17) to draft their own version of this bill. "We went to double the NSF budget over the next five years," Mikulski said at last month's Senate hearing on the NSF budget. With a subcommittee allocation that is only marginally better than that given the House subcommittee, finding the money for the 15% increase that would be needed to keep the foundation's budget on the doubling track may prove, as Mikulski said, "very hard." The action taken yesterday by Walsh and Mollohan and their colleagues is most significant. Within a week, the general parameters of the National Science Foundation's budget for FY 2002 should be known.

Numbers on the NASA portion of this bill are not yet available. These numbers, and report language on both NSF and NASA will appear in future issues of FYI as they become available.

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

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