FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

Senate NASA, NSF, NIST Funding Bill; White House Views on House Bill

Richard M. Jones
Number 81 - June 25, 2009  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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Later today the Senate Appropriations Committee will meet to review and then vote on its version of the FY 2010 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill, following its approval by the subcommittee yesterday. This bill, a version of which has already been passed by the House, funds the FY 2010 operations of the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The report accompanying the Senate bill containing the all-important report language will not be released until after the subcommittee’s bill, written by Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) with the cooperation of Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL), is approved. Also, last week the Office of Management and Budget distributed a Statement of Administration Policy. While OMB said it “strongly supports passage” of the House version of the bill, it did find issue with several provisions concerning NASA, NSF, and NIST that will be excerpted below.

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS BILL:

The Senate Appropriations Committee issued a three-page summary of $64.9 billion legislation. Overall numbers are as follows:

National Science Foundation:

The FY 2009 appropriation was $6,490.4 million.
The Administration's request was $7,045.0 million, an increase of 8.5 percent or $554.6 million.
The House bill provides $6,936.5 million, an increase of 6.9 percent or $446.1 million.
The Senate Appropriations Committee bill would provide a calculated $6,916.4 million, an increase of 6.6 percent or $426 million.

NASA:

The FY 2009 appropriation was $17.782 billion.
The Administration's request was $18.686 billion, an increase of 5.1 percent or $903.6 million.
The House bill provides $18.203 billion, an increase of 2.4 percent or $420.9 million.
The Senate Appropriations Committee bill would provide $18.68 billion, equal to the Administration’s request.

National Institute of Standards and Technology:

The FY 2009 appropriation was $819.0 million.
The Administration's request was $846.1 million, an increase of 3.3 percent or $27.1 million.
The House bill provides $781.1 million, a cut of 4.6 percent or $37.9 million.
The Senate Appropriations Committee bill would provide $878.8 million, an increase of 7.3 percent or $59.8 million.

OMB STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY:

The full three-page statement can be read here; excerpts follow:

“The Administration strongly supports passage of H.R. 2847, making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, and Science and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010.

“As we face difficult economic and fiscal decisions, it is important to make efficient and effective investments. The bill as considered by the Committee makes important investments in innovation and job creation, community safety, and cutting-edge technologies. This legislation serves as an important piece of the Nation’s economic recovery and is consistent with the President’s commitment to double the funding for basic research over ten years.

“The Administration would like to take this opportunity to share additional views regarding the Committee’s version of the bill.”

National Science Foundation:

“The Administration appreciates the Committee’s support for the President’s goal of doubling the NSF budget as a key component of his Plan for Science Innovation. However, the Committee’s version of the bill is $108 million below the level requested in the Budget, and this reduction will come at the expense of NSF’s research activities and agency operations.”

National Institute of Standards and Technology:

“The Administration appreciates the Committee’s full funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program and the Technology Innovation Program but urges the Congress to provide full funding of the highest-priority research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as part of the President’s Plan for Science and Innovation. The bill underfunds requested NIST research and construction activities by $85 million (13 percent); the bill includes $20 million of unrequested funding for construction grants that could be better spent on highest-priority research.”

NASA:

“The Administration is concerned with the reduction of $670 million from the President’s FY 2010 request for Exploration Systems. This large reduction would likely cause major negative impacts to any options that may emerge from the ongoing blue ribbon [Augustine committee] review of U.S. human space flight plans. The Administration appreciates the Committee’s strong support for the NASA Earth science program, which advances the President’s goal of deploying a global climate change research and monitoring system. The Administration is concerned with the elimination of $21 million from the request for NASA innovation, which uses public-private partnerships to advance important technologies and enable access to new sources of innovation through incentive prizes and partnerships. In addition, the Administration is concerned about funding NASA’s R&D activities with primarily one-year rather than two-year appropriations. Such an action would increase the cost and complexity of budget execution and would diminish flexibility without improving management.”

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