Created by on 05/01/2012

This month, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees passed fiscal year (FY) 2013 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bills that included funding increases for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The House Committee approved its version of the legislation on April 26th by a voice vote, providing $7.333 billion for NSF. This funding level is a $299 million (4.3 percent) increase over the enacted FY 2012 level of $7.033 billion and is $41 million below the President’s FY 2013 request of $7.373 billion. Included in the overall House NSF appropriation is $5.943 billion for Research and Related Activities, $196 million for Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction, and $876 million for Education and Human Resources. On April 19th, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY 2013 CJS appropriations bill by a vote of 28-1. The Senate legislation funds NSF at a level of $7.273 billion, which is $240 million (3.4 percent) above the enacted FY 2012 level and $100 million below the President’s FY 2013 request.
During the House subcommittee and full committee mark-ups, CJS Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA), full Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), and Ranking Members Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and Norm Dicks (D-WA) made statements in support of robust funding for research at NSF. The House bill’s accompanying report, however, expresses the committee’s confusion about how cross-Foundation activities, such as OneNSF initiatives, are administered. Report language also prioritizes research areas with “significant potential impacts on national security and economic competitiveness,” opposes the agency’s proposed termination of the Communicating Science Broadly program, requires participants in NSF’s Innovation Corps program to commit to domestic production of goods or services, and encourages NSF to establish a neuroscience crosscutting budget theme. The committee voted to adopt an amendment offered by Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) that adds report language encouraging the retention of foreign graduate level science and technology students in the U.S. A press release summarizing the proceedings and the adopted amendments are available on the committee website. Chairman Rogers indicated the CJS bill would be the first appropriations bill to be considered on the House Floor on May 8th.
During the Senate full committee mark-up, CJS Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Appropriations Committee Member Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) both noted the importance of NSF research and referenced the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) was the only member to vote against the bill. Opening statements of Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS), a summary of the bill, and audio-only webcasts of the subcommittee and full committee mark-ups are available on the committee website.