FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

Recent Developments Regarding FY 2013 Funding

Richard M. Jones
Number 34 - February 27, 2013  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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There are three recent developments regarding federal funding for the remainder of this fiscal year.  House Republicans appear poised to bring a bill to the floor next week to provide flat funding for the rest of this fiscal year.  The Office of Management and Budget has prepared a list of recommended funding adjustments in this legislation.  National Science Foundation Director Subra Suresh issued a notice today about how the foundation will prioritize funding following an expected 5 percent reduction that will automatically occur in the agency’s budget on Friday.

Continued Funding for the Rest of FY 2013:

Funding for the first six months of FY 2013 was provided through a legislative mechanism called a continuing resolution when it became clear last fall that appropriations bills would not be enacted by October 1.  This six-month bill expires on March 27.

A senior member of the House leadership, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced yesterday that the House of Representatives will consider a bill next week to provide flat funding – the FY 2012 level - for the remainder of this fiscal year.

Office of Management and Budget Funding Changes:

When Congress and a president agree to maintain flat funding through a continuing resolution, exceptions – usually quite limited – are made.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has prepared a preliminary list of these recommended funding “anomalies.”  The list is categorized by the name of the relevant appropriations subcommittee.

Under the Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee, OMB is seeking to transfer $286 million from the Exploration and Space Operations accounts for construction projects.  “Without this anomaly, NASA will not have the ability to execute construction projects planned for 2013, which will cause mission schedules to slip throughout the Agency” OMB declares.  Current funding for these two accounts totals $7,899.8 million. 

Under the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, OMB requests a change in language to correct a “clerical error” that will provide the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy with additional time to obligate grant funding.


NSF Director Suresh issued the following notice today:

“National Science Foundation
Office of the Director
Arlington, VA 22230

“Notice No. 133 February 27, 2013


“Subject: Impact of FY 2013 Sequestration Order on NSF Awards

“As you may know, since passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the President has been working with Congress to reach agreement on a balanced deficit reduction plan. If an agreement is not reached by the end of this month, the President will be required to issue an order on March 1, 2013 that will implement across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration. As a result of this expected sequestration order, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 appropriations of the National Science Foundation (NSF) will be reduced by 5 percent.

“We intend to make the necessary FY 2013 reductions with as little disruption as possible to established commitments, and are using the following set of core principles to guide our sequestration planning activities:

• Protect commitments to NSF’s core mission and maintain existing awards;
• Protect the NSF workforce; and
• Protect STEM human capital development programs.

“By adhering to these core principles and the government-wide guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Memorandum 13-03, Planning for Uncertainty with Respect to Fiscal Year 2013 Budgetary Resources, we expect to be able to accommodate the sequestration reductions in ways that minimize, to the extent possible, the impact on our mission, both short- and long-term.

“Because the sequestration order takes effect at mid-year, its impact is somewhat greater than might otherwise be the case. At NSF, the major impact of sequestration will be seen in reductions to the number of new research grants and cooperative agreements awarded in FY 2013. We anticipate that the total number of new research grants will be reduced by approximately 1,000.

“In keeping with the first core principle listed above, and to assure continuity and minimize disruption of scientific research, all continuing grant increments in FY 2013 will be awarded, as scheduled, and there will be no impact on existing NSF standard grants. The same intent applies to annual increments for cooperative agreements, though overall funding constraints may require reductions to certain major investments. These will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

“It is also important to advise you that the Foundation is currently operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will expire on March 27, 2013. Once NSF has appropriations in place beyond March 27th, we will revise this notice as necessary.

“Subra Suresh

Richard M. Jones
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics