House Appropriators Release First Information on FY 2015 NASA, NIST, NOAA, and NSF Funding Bill

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Publication date: 
29 April 2014

Tomorrow the House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee meets to consider and then vote on its FY 2015 appropriations bill.  This legislation provides funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

House appropriators are working at a quick pace.  This is the third of twelve bills that House appropriators have released.  The full House Appropriations Committee has already approved funding bills for the Legislative Branch, and for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

The Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA); Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) is the Ranking Member.  

The House Appropriations Committee has just issued a press release briefly describing provisions of the bill that the subcommittee will consider.  In describing the bill, Chairman Wolf explained: “This legislation reduces discretionary spending while continuing to preserve core priorities such as job creation, fighting crime, gangs, terrorism and human trafficking, bolstering cybersecurity, and boosting U.S. competitiveness through smart investments in science and space exploration.”

Wolf and Fattah and their colleagues had less money to work with in crafting their FY 2015 bill.  While total government-wide discretionary funding increased by 0.2 percent for FY 2015 as compared to the current year, the subcommittee’s $51.2 billion discretionary bill is $398 million below the FY 2014 enacted legislation.

The following are verbatim selections from the committee’s release on the FY 2015 bill:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $17.9 billion in the bill, which is $250 million above the 2014 enacted level. This funding includes:

•$4.2 billion for Exploration – $54 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. This includes funding to keep NASA on schedule for upcoming Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Space Launch System flight program milestones, and to continue progress in the commercial crew program.
•$5.2 billion for NASA Science programs – $42 million above the 2014 enacted level. This includes funding above the President’s request for planetary science to ensure the continuation of critical research and development programs.
•$666 million for Aeronautics – $100 million above the 2014 enacted level. This funding will help to improve airspace safety, and increase the competitiveness of the American aviation industry in the global marketplace.”

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – NIST is funded at $856 million in the bill, which is $5.8 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $44.2 million below the President’s request. Within this total, important core research activities are funded at $671 million to help advance U.S. competitiveness, innovation, and economic growth, and improve cyber security. The bill also includes $130 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, which provides training and technical assistance to U.S. manufacturers in order to boost growth in this important sector of our economy.”

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – The legislation contains $5.3 billion for NOAA, virtually equal to the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. Within this total, National Weather Service operations and systems are funded above the President’s request, denying proposed cuts to hurricane forecasting and tsunami warning grants. The bill includes full funding for the Joint Polar Satellite System weather satellite program and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite to help maintain and improve weather forecasting to warn communities about potentially devastating natural disasters.”

National Science Foundation (NSF) – The legislation funds NSF at $7.4 billion, an increase of $237 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. This funding is targeted to programs that foster innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness, including funding for research on advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, neuroscience and STEM education.”

A review of the Obama Administration’s FY 2015 requests for these agencies is available here.   The 102 page draft bill, also released today, is here.   The all-important text of the committee report has not been released.