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FYI Number 122: December 19, 2007

FY 2008 Budget Bill Gives NSF a 2.5% Increase

Later today, the House of Representatives will approve the FY 2008 budget bill. President Bush is expected to sign this bill, which contains a 2.5 percent increase for the National Science Foundation for FY 2008. This increase is but a fraction of the 8.7 percent increase requested by the Administration, the initial 10.0 percent increase approved by the House, and the initial 10.8 percent increase approved by the Senate.

The bill is accompanied by an explanatory statement noting that the language in the House and Senate Appropriations Committees' reports "should be complied with unless specifically addressed to the contrary" in either the bill or the explanatory statement. This statement is available from the House Rules Committee website in an unfinished format at http://www.rules.house.gov/110/text/omni/jes/jesdivb.pdf . The five-page section on NSF starts on page 129 of the pdf (use web browser box.) Selections from this statement follow.

OVERALL NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION:

The FY 2007 budget for the National Science Foundation was $5,917.2 million.
The Bush Administration requested $6,429.0 million, an increase of 8.7 percent or $511.8 million.
The Senate passed an initial bill providing $6,553.4 million, an increase of 10.8 percent or $636.2 million.
The House passed an initial bill providing $6,509.0 million, an increase of 10.0 percent or $591.8 million to $6,509.0 million.

The final bill provides $6,065.0 million, an increase of $147.8 million or 2.5 percent over the current budget.

A doubling of the foundation's budget in ten years requires average annual ncreases of 7 percent.

RESEARCH AND RELATED ACTIVITIES:

The FY 2007 budget for Research and Related Activities was $4,666.0 million.
The Bush Administration requested $5,131.7 million, an increase of 10.0 percent or $465.7 million.
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $5,156.1 million, an increase of 10.5 percent or $490.1 million. (The Committee agreed to the Administration's request to transfer EPSCoR from Education and Human Resources to this account; the Administration request was $107.0 million.)
The House Appropriations Committee recommended $5,139.7 million (which also includes EPSCoR funding), an increase of 10.2 percent or $473.7 million.

The appropriations committees agreed with the Administration request to transfer EPSCoR funding from Education and Human Resources to Research and Related Activities. The Administration requested $107.0 million. The final bill provides an additional $8.0 million for EPSCoR. This transfer must be included when determining year-to-year changes.

The final bill provides $4,821.5 million. However, when the EPSCoR "apples-to-apples" adjustment is made, the Research and Related Expenses figure is an adjusted $4,714.5 million, an increase of $48.5 million or 1.0 percent (figures approximate.)

There is considerable language in the Explanatory Statement regarding Research and Related Activities, which can be viewed at the Rules Committee's link above; see page 130 in the web browser box.

The language discusses the procurement of icebreaking services, and EPSCoR funding. It also states "the Appropriations Committees strongly support increases for the math and physical sciences, computer sciences, and engineering directorates in fiscal year 2008 for research and related activities (R&RA). However, the Committees also believe the Foundation should maintain comparable growth in fiscal year 2008, to the extent possible, for the biological sciences and social, behavioral and economic sciences directorates."

In addition, the appropriations committees direct NSF to examine its policies regarding "transformative research" that is considered to be "revolutionary" and "cutting edge." Other language directs NSF to allocate additional resources for physical infrastructure improvements for the academic research fleet and older NSF facilities. The explanatory statement also directs NSF to provide a report on how the loss of buying power affects NSF-operated international programs.

"The Committees hope the Division of Astronomical Sciences will reconsider its conclusions regarding future funding for the Arecibo Observatory. In addition, the Appropriations Committees direct the Foundation to provide the budget request for operations at its astronomical facilities."

This section of the Explanatory Statement also includes language on the Science and Technology Policy Institute and RaDiUS.

MAJOR RESEARCH EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES CONSTRUCTION:

The FY 2007 budget for Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction is $190.9 million.
The Bush Administration requested $244.7 million.
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $244.7 million.
The House Appropriations Committee recommended 244.7 million.

The Explanatory Statement language provides $220.7 million, without further explanation (see p. 131 in the web browser box.)

EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES:

The FY 2007 budget for Education and Human Resources is $796.7 million.
The Bush Administration requested $750.6 million, a reduction of 5.8 percent or $46.1 million (that reflects the EPSCoR transfer.)
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $850.6 million.
The House Appropriations Committee recommended $822.6 million.

The Explanatory Statement language provides $725.6 million. When an adjustment is made for the EPSCoR transfer, funding increases by 4.0 percent.

The language states: "Increasing the number of highly qualified K-12 math and science teachers is critical to the creation of a new generation of innovators," and specifies funding levels for the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, and other programs. The Statement praises the Math and Science Partnership Program. The final bill does not provide funds for Earth observation education and training as was proposed in the House bill

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

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