Created by on 5/29/2012 12:00:00 AM

On May 10th, the House of Representatives passed HR 5326, the FY 2013 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill, by a vote of 247-163. The legislation provides the National Science Foundation (NSF) with $7.333 billion, a $299 million (4.3 percent) increase over FY 2012, and upholds the funding level approved by the House Appropriations Committee on April 26th. The complete bill text and committee report are available online, as is a House Appropriations Committee press release, which includes a list of adopted amendments. In a May 7th Statement of Administration Policy, President Obama indicated that if presented with HR 5326 in its current form, he would veto the bill because it undermines the bipartisan agreement on discretionary spending caps established in the Budget Control Act of 2011. 
During debate on the House Floor, Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) offered an amendment (H AMDT 1058) proposing to reduce the NSF budget by $1.2 billion. Two other amendments (H AMDT 1065 and H AMDT 1066) were proposed by Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Paul Broun (R-GA) to make across-the-board cuts to the bill. In anticipation of these attempts to cut the NSF budget, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) issued an e-action alert on May 8th, asking scientists across the country to urge their Representative to reject any amendments that would lower FY 2013 NSF funding below $7.333 billion. Over the nearly three days the bill was considered by the House, FASEB’s alert generated 1,571 messages to Congress. The Flake amendment was defeated by a vote of 121-291, and the Blackburn and Broun proposals also failed.
Unfortunately, a narrowly approved amendment (H AMDT 1094) by Representative Flake prohibits the use of funds to carry out the functions of the Political Science Program in the NSF Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. In addition, an amendment (H AMDT 1088) by Representative Chip Cravaack (R-MN) banning the use of funds for activities of the NSF Climate Change Education Program also passed.