Created by on 09/19/2011

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its fiscal year (FY) 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) funding bill (S 1572) by a vote of 29-1. The legislation provides the National Science Foundation (NSF) with $6.7 billion, approximately $162 million (2.4 percent) below the FY 2011 enacted level and the amount included in the House CJS bill. Funding for some of the specific programs within NSF includes:

  • Research and Related Activities: $5.443 billion ($120 million below the FY 2011 enacted level of $5.563 billion)
  • Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction: $117 million (equal to the FY 2011 enacted level)
  • Education and Human Resources: $829 million ($32 million below the FY 2011 enacted level of $861 million)

Full committee consideration followed approval of the bill by the Senate CJS Subcommittee on September 14th. At the subcommittee mark-up, Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) expressed disappointment in the reduced NSF budget, noting that the committee had traditionally followed funding guidelines set by the bipartisan America COMPETES Act and had initially hoped to increase NSF’s appropriation in FY 2012. She added that the subcommittee’s limited budget allocation forced nearly every account in the CJS bill to be funded below current levels, and that some programs were completely eliminated.

In the bill’s accompanying report, the committee recognized the importance of science and engineering to global competitiveness, expressed appreciation for the agency’s efforts to terminate ineffective programs, and praised a new NSF initiative to encourage translation of basic scientific discoveries into new technologies and products. An audio-only webcast of the subcommittee meeting and a summary of the legislation are available on the Appropriations Committee website.