FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

First Information: FY 2012 Senate Appropriations Bill for NASA, NIST, NSF

Richard M. Jones
Number 111 - September 15, 2011  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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In describing the FY 2012 funding bill her subcommittee approved yesterday, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science explained, “In a spending bill that has less to spend, we naturally focus on the cuts and the things we can’t do. But I’d like to focus on what we can do. The bill invests more than $12 billion in scientific research and high impact research and technology development, to create new products and new jobs for the future.”  This afternoon the full Senate Appropriations Committee considers this bill, after which a report will be issued that will have many pages pertaining to NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The committee released a five-page summary of its bill that provides the first information on this key funding bill.  The House Appropriations Committee approved its version of this legislation, H.R. 2596, in mid-July.

Mikulski’s subcommittee had less to spend in writing this bill.  Total discretionary budget authority in this legislation is $52.701 billion, a reduction of $626 million or 1.2 percent from the current year. 

NASA:

The FY 2011 appropriation was $18,448.0 million
The FY 2012 Administration request was $18,724.3 million
The House Appropriations Committee recommends $16,810.3 million, a decline of $1,637.7 million or 8.9 percent

The Senate release states:  “The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is funded at $17.9 billion, a reduction of $509 million or 2.8 percent from the FY2011 enacted level.”

Importantly, the release also states: “The bill provides funds to enable a 2018 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.”    Reports indicate that the Senate bill contains $530 million for the telescope.  Current funding is $438.7 million; the Administration requested $373.7 million.  The House bill contained no funding for this telescope.

National Science Foundation:

The FY 2011 appropriation was $6,859.9 million
The FY 2012 Administration request was $7,767.0 million
The House Appropriations Committee recommends $6,859.9 million – level funding

The Senate release states: “The National Science Foundation (NSF) is funded at $6.7 billion, a reduction of $162 million or 2.4 percent below the FY2011 enacted level.”

National Institute of Standards and Technology:

The FY 2011 appropriation was $750.1 million
The FY 2012 Administration request was $1,001.1 million
The House bill provides $700.8 million, a decline of 6.6 percent or $49.3 million from the current year

The Senate release states: “NIST is funded at $680 million, which is $70 million below the FY2011 enacted level. The bill does not include funding for new grants under NIST’s competitive construction program and eliminates funding for the Technology Innovation Program and the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program.”

Also yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee introduced a bill that will provide funding through November 18.  Current funding expires on September 30.  Of note, the rate used in developing this bill was the level contained in the budget legislation agreed to earlier this year, a promising sign that final funding legislation may be enacted in a timelier manner.

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