FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

First Information on House FY 2012 Appropriations for NASA, NIST, NSF, OSTP, USGS

Richard M. Jones
Number 82 - July 6, 2011  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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This morning the House Appropriations Committee released two documents providing an overview of the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill and the Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill for FY 2012.  No agency received an increase in funding.  The National Science Foundation budget would be maintained at the current level, and the other budgets cut, in one case, significantly.  Of particular note, the release states: “The bill also terminates funding for the James Webb Space Telescope, which is billions of dollars over budget and plagued by poor management.”

More information on specific funding levels and policy recommendations will be made available after the full House Appropriations Committee considers both bills, which is expected to occur next week. 

COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE APPROPRIATIONS BILL

In the release on the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill which provides funding for NASA, NIST, NSF, and OSTP, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) highlighted science and competitiveness.  Said Rogers:

“This legislation includes funding for some of the most critical aspects of government -- the protection of our people here at home, the competiveness of our businesses and industries, and the scientific research that will help America continue to lead the world in innovation. However, given this time of fiscal crisis, it is also important that Congress make tough decisions to cut programs where necessary to give priority to programs with broad national reach that have the most benefit to the American people.”

Wolf commented:

“I believe the subcommittee mark achieves significant spending reduction goals while at the same time preserving core priorities. Within a tight allocation, we have focused resources on the most critical areas -- fighting crime and terrorism; and boosting U.S. competitiveness through investments in science. Despite the difficult choices that were made, this legislation includes a number of positive initiatives to create jobs by promoting economic growth and innovation here at home.”

Total funding provided through this bill - $50.2 billion – is 6 percent less than this year, and 13 percent less than that requested by the Obama Administration. 

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 decrease of 8.9 percent or $1,637.7 million.

The committee release states the following regarding NASA:

“$3.65 billion for Space Exploration which is $152 million below last year. This includes funding above the request for NASA to meet Congressionally mandated program deadlines for the newly authorized crew vehicle and launch system.

“$4.1 billion for Space Operations which is $1.4 billion below last year’s level. The legislation will continue the closeout of the Space Shuttle program for a savings of $1 billion.

“$4.5 billion for NASA Science programs, which is $431 million below last year’s level. The bill also terminates funding for the James Webb Space Telescope, which is billions of dollars over budget and plagued by poor management.”

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 Appropriations Committee recommends $700.8 million, a decrease of 6.6 percent or $49.3 million.

The committee release states the following regarding NIST:

“Within this total, important core research activities to help advance U.S. competitiveness, innovation, and economic growth are increased by $10 million above last year’s level. In addition, funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program - which provides training and technical assistance to U.S. manufacturers - is maintained at last year’s level of $128 million.”

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, maintaining funding at the current level.

Regarding NSF, the committee release states:

“Within this funding, NSF’s core research is increased by $43 million to enhance basic research that is critical to innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness.”

Office of Science and Technology Policy:

The FY 2011 appropriation was $6.7 million
The FY 2012 Administration request was $6.7 million
The House Appropriations Committee recommends $3.0 million, a decrease of 55.2 percent or $3.7 million.

The committee release states:

“The bill includes several general provisions, including . . . A prohibition on NASA or the Office of Science and Technology Policy from engaging in bilateral activities with China unless authorized by Congress.”

 

INTERIOR AND ENVIRONMENT APPROPRIATIONS BILL

Total funding provided through this bill, which includes the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Forest Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and several agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services, is $27.5 billion.  This funding level is 7.1 percent less than this year, and 12.2 percent less than that requested by the Obama Administration.  The committee release notes: “The legislation also includes a total cut to climate change programs of $83 million - or 22% - from last year.”

U.S Geological Survey:

The FY 2011 appropriation was $1,084 million
The FY 2012 Administration request was $1,118 million
The House Appropriations Committee recommends $1,054 million, a decrease of 2.8 percent or $30 million.

The committee release states:

“The majority of the reductions are in climate change and satellite imaging programs, while energy and minerals, natural hazards, and water programs are prioritized. The bill also does not provide funding for the President’s costly and flawed proposal to transfer the ‘LandSat’ satellite imaging program from NASA to the USGS.”

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