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FYI Number 134: September 15, 2005

Status of FY 2006 Physical Sciences/Education Funding Bills

The new fiscal year starts on October 1, and only two of the appropriations bills have been signed into law. With the exception of the appropriation for the U.S. Geological Survey, none of the bills funding physical and astronomical sciences or K-12 math and science education have been passed.

Below is a recap of where these bills stand. The AIP Government Relations website at http://aip.org/gov categorizes budget-related FYIs by agency or department on an on-going basis; see Budget Information.

FY 2006 APPROPRIATIONS BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW:

INTERIOR AND ENVIRONMENT (H.R. 2361): This bill, which funds the U.S. Geological Survey, was the first appropriations bill to be sent to President Bush. The USGS budget will increase by 4.2% or $39.5 million on October 1. President Bush had sought a cut of 0.2% from the current budget of $935.5 million (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/116.html). Since this is signed legislation, it will not be affected by a year-long continuing resolution or omnibus bill (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/133.html), except if subsequent legislation reaches back to reduce funding.


FY 2006 APPROPRIATIONS BILLS PASSED BY BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE:

ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT (H.R. 2419): Both chambers have passed versions of this legislation, rejecting the Bush Administration's proposal to reduce the budget for the Office of Science by 3.8%. The House bill would increase the budget by 1.8%, while the Senate bill proposes a 2.9% increase; see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/098.html. The House and Senate bills differ greatly in funding levels and policies regarding the Administration's nuclear weapons initiatives; see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/099.html and http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/073.html There is also great difference in how each bill would treat spent nuclear fuel: see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/082.html and http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/102.html Remember that this bill also funds the Army Corps of Engineers, which is in the spotlight because of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

HOMELAND SECURITY (H.R. 2360): Both the House and Senate passed versions of H.R. 2360. The House bill would provide a 20.2% increase for the Science and Technology Directorate (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/071.html) while the Senate bill would increase funding by 31.1% (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/106.html). The Administration sought a 23.0% increase. This bill is now in conference. Hurricane Katrina will affect budget and policy decisions in this bill.


OTHER FY 2006 APPROPRIATIONS BILLS:

SCIENCE/STATE/JUSTICE/COMMERCE (House) and COMMERCE/JUSTICE/SCIENCE (Senate) (H.R. 2862): The House passed this bill in June; the Senate version is now on the floor. The bill provides funding for physical sciences research in the three agencies. National Science Foundation: the House would increase funding by 3.1% (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/087.html) and the Senate bill by 1.1% (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/103.html.) The Bush Administration sought a 2.4% increase. NASA: the House bill would provide $16.471 billion (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/089.html) and the Senate bill $16.396 billion (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/105.html.) The Administration sought $16.456 billion. National Institute of Standards and Technology: there are major differences in the two bills. The Administration requested a cut of 23.9% in the overall NIST budget. The House would reduce NIST's budget by 21.5%, which the Senate bill would increase it by 20.8% (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/104.html). Yesterday, the Senate rejected decisively an amendment to eliminate funding for the Advanced Technology Program.

LABOR/HHS/EDUCATION (H.R. 3010): This bill funds the Department of Education's Math and Science Partnership program and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. The House has passed its bill, while the Senate bill awaits floor consideration. For the Partnership program, the House would increase funding by 6.4%; the Senate bill contained no increase (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/110.html.) The Administration requested a change in the program content in its budget request, resulting in an effective cut of 16.6%. For NIBIB, the House voted a 0.5% increase as sought by the Administration, while the Senate would increase funding by 3.7% (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/115.html.)

DEFENSE (H.R. 2863): The Senate Appropriations Committee has not drafted its bill. Under the House-passed bill, funding for defense science and technology programs (6.1, 6.2, and 6.3) would be reduced by 0.6% or $83.6 million (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/091.html.) The Administration requested a cut of 21.1%.

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

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