Created by on 8/2/2011 12:00:00 AM

On July 13th, the House Appropriations Committee passed its fiscal year (FY) 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) funding bill (HR 2596) by a voice vote. The legislation provides the National Science Foundation (NSF) with $6.9 billion, equal to the FY 2011 enacted level and $914 million below the President’s FY 2012 request of $7.8 billion. A $43 million increase for NSF’s basic research activities is included within the total funding level.

Although several amendments were offered during the mark-up of the bill, the Appropriations Committee did not make any significant changes to the NSF provisions passed by the CJS Subcommittee on July 7th.  However, a proposal offered by Representative Sam Farr (D-CA) to reduce funding across the entire bill by 0.10 percent to make an additional $48 million available to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration passed by voice vote. Additional amendments may be considered when the bill is debated on the House floor, but further action on the legislation is not expected before the August recess.
In their opening remarks at the mark-up, members of the subcommittee and full committee leadership voiced strong support for investment in science and innovation. Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Norm Dicks (D-WA) also expressed concern that the NSF Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction account was underfunded. Complete statements of Ranking Member Dicks, Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), and CJS Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) are available on the committee website.

The accompanying bill report outlined a number of recommendations regarding NSF, directing the agency to prioritize new activities towards cybersecurity and cyberinfrastructure improvements; advanced manufacturing; materials research; and disciplinary and interdisciplinary research in the natural and physical sciences, math, and engineering. Appropriators encouraged NSF to continue efforts to document the outcomes of scientific research and to examine potential implications of public access policies. The report also included a requirement that the agency provide detailed quarterly reports on the status of funds for unobligated balances and commitments.