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FYI Number 83: July 17, 2002

House Appropriators Vote to Increase USGS Funding

Appropriators on both sides of the Capitol have completed their work on the FY 2003 U.S. Geological Survey appropriations bills. The Bush Administration's requested program transfers and reductions, with one very minor exception, were rebuffed.

As reported in FYI #80, the Senate and House Appropriations Committees increased USGS funding over the current year budget of $914.0 million. The Senate bill provides $926.7 million, while the House bill includes $928.4 million. The House committee report (107-564) is now available, and details various recommended funding levels.

As did the Senate report, the House committee report takes issue with the Bush Administration's approach to USGS funding. House appropriators stated:

"For the third year in a row the Committee has restored a number of high-priority research programs that were proposed for reduction or elimination by the Office of Management and Budget during the budget process. Officials at the Office of Management and Budget seemingly believe that the Department of the Interior no longer needs science on which to base natural resource policy decisions. This is not the position of the Congress as articulated in previous Interior bills, nor is it the position of the National Academy of Sciences which has provided recommendations on a program by program basis detailing the need to expand not eliminate the very programs that the Office of Management and Budget has targeted as unnecessary. The Committee strongly urges the Department and OMB to continue to fund these critical science programs in the base budget in future years."

The following numbers and selected passages are from the House report:

Mapping, Remote Sensing, and Geographic Investigations: The House provides a 1.4%, or $1.8 million, increase to $135.1 million. The Senate bill recommended a 1.7% cut to $131.1 million.

The House Appropriations Committee report language was extensive and complimentary on the USGS effort to establish the National Map, a digital database. After discussing the extensive partnerships that will be required, the committee states, "Digital spatial data are essential to almost all sectors of the national economy. . . . The benefits of updated digital geographic data for use in geographic information systems and the projected cost savings merit this project being a high priority within the Department. . . . The Committee strongly encourages the Administration to make completing and maintaining the National Map a high priority."

Geologic Hazards, Resources and Processes: The House provides a 0.8%, or $1.9 million, increase to $234.7 million. The Senate bill recommends a 2.5% increase to $238.7 million. Recommended funding levels for several programs are specified.

Water Resources Investigations: The House provides a 1.9%, or $3.9 million, increase to $209.7 million. The Senate bill recommends $209.6 million. Recommended funding levels for several programs are specified.

Biological Research: The House provides a 2.4%, or $4.0 million, increase to $170.4 million. The Senate bill recommends a 3.5% increase to $172.2 million. Recommended funding levels for several programs are specified.

Science support: The House provides a 1.3%, or $1.1 million, increase to $87.4 million. The Senate bill recommends a reduction of 0.6% to $85.7 million. Specific funding levels for fixed costs and travel are included.

Facilities: The House provides a 2.0%, or $1.8 million, increase to $91.2 million. The Senate bill recommends a 0.1% increase to $89.4 million. Recommended funding levels for several programs are specified.

The House report also includes a section entitled "Bill Language," under which it states: "Language has been included under the Survey's administrative provisions to allow the Survey to use cooperative agreements for research and data collection, and to allow the Survey to obtain space in cooperator facilities."

Following floor action by the full House, a conference committee will be appointed to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. Conferees typically split the differences between differing funding levels.

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi@aip.org
(301) 209-3095

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