FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

Appropriations Actions on NASA, NIST, and NSF Funding Bills

Richard M. Jones
Number 120 - July 16, 2013  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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This morning the Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee approved by voice vote a bill providing FY 2014 funding for NASA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Science Foundation.  This action follows the voice vote approval on July 9 of the counterpart bill by the House Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee.  With this morning’s action the likely parameters of funding levels have been established for the three agencies, subject to action by the full appropriations committees and consideration of the measures on the House and Senate floors. 

An immediate difference in the two bills is their total spending levels.  The House bill, crafted by Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) and his colleagues, contains $47.4 billion in total funding.  The Senate bill, written by Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and her colleagues provides $52.3 billion.  Both bills are a reflection of their chambers’ spending plans and assumptions about the future of sequestration – differences that will make it difficult to pass any of the twelve appropriations bills for the new fiscal year that starts on October 1.  As has been the case for many years, one or more short term extensions of current spending levels are likely to continue into FY 2014.

The following is what is now known about the House and Senate subcommittees’ recommendations.  Action by the full appropriations committees in coming days – the House committee meets tomorrow morning – will likely confirm these funding levels, and will clear the way for the issuance of all-important committee reports.  All of the below figures are taken from materials prepared by the appropriations committees.

NASA:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory 5 percent reduction) is $17,541.7 million
The FY 2014 request is $17,715.4 million, an increase of $173.7 million or 1.0 percent
The House subcommittee recommendation is $16,598.3 million, a decrease of $943.4 million or 5.4 percent
The Senate subcommittee recommendation is “$18 billion” according to this morning’s press release (likely rounded), an increase of $458.3 million or 2.6 percent

National Institute of Standards and Technology:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory 5 percent reduction) is $808.7 million
The FY 2014 request is $928.3 million, an increase of $119.6 million or 14.8 percent
The House subcommittee recommendation is $784.0 million, a decrease of $24.7 million or 3.1 percent
The Senate subcommittee recommendation is “$948 million” according to this morning’s press release (likely rounded), an increase of $139.3 million or 17.2 percent

National Science Foundation:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory 5 percent reduction) is $7,254.3 million
The FY 2014 request is $7,625.8 million, an increase of $371.5 million or 5.1 percent
The House subcommittee recommendation is $6,995.1 million, a decrease of $259.2 million or 3.6 percent
The Senate subcommittee recommendation is “$7.4 billion” according to this morning’s press release (likely rounded), an increase of $145.7 million or 2.0 percent

The Senate Appropriations Committee release commented on the House and Senate versions of the FY 2014 funding bills as follows:

“The Senate bill provides NASA $18 billion which is $1.4 billion more than the House’s level of $16.6 billion, providing better balance for all of NASA’s important missions, including $373 million more for Science that helps us to better understand Earth and own solar system while peering at new worlds way beyond the stars. The Senate also provides $597 million more to let humans explore beyond low earth orbit while safely sending our astronauts to the space station on U.S. made vehicles.

“The Senate bill funds NSF at $7.4 billion, $430 million more than the House’s level of $7 billion, which means 1,350 more research grants will be funded and 15,500 more technicians, researchers, students, teachers can be supported.

“The Senate bill funds NIST at $948 million, $163 million more than the House level of $784 million, which means increased research in NIST labs on cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, forensic science. The Senate bill also provides $33 million more for NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership that leads to more advice and innovation for small and medium sized manufacturers, creating or retaining 15,000 more American manufacturing jobs in the private sector.”

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