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NSF & Congress

When Congress returns in September

July 22, 2016

U.S. Capitol
Congress is in recess for the party conventions and the month of August. When the members return after Labor Day, they will have to act quickly on appropriations legislation before the fiscal year ends on September 30. While none of the 12 regular appropriations bills have been enacted into law, so far, Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate have approved versions of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that includes funding for NSF for FY 2017. On May 24, the House Appropriations Committee approved H.R. 5393. It would provide NSF with $7.414 billion, a decrease of about $57 million from the current FY 2016 level. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed S. 2837, its version of the CJS appropriations bill, on April 21. It would provide $7.5 billion for NSF, an increase of $46 million over the FY 2016 level. See our major legislation page for links to the bills and committee reports. One possibility is for Congress to pass a continuing resolution in September that funds the government through early 2017.

Legislation to reauthorize NSF also was moving in the Senate. On June 29, the Senate Commerce Committee approved S. 3084, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act. The bill reaffirms NSF's two merit review criteria and authorizes appropriations for the agency of $7.61 billion for FY 2017 and $7.81 billion for FY 2018. In May 2015, the House passed H.R. 1806, the American COMPETES Reauthorization Act. It would set specific authorization levels for NSF's research directorates, and cut support for the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences and the Directorate for Geosciences by 58 percent and 12 percent, respectively. See the Statement of Administration Policy and the NSF statement on the impact of H.R. 1806.

In June 2016, the House passed legislation to implement changes to NSF's management of major research facility projects. H.R. 5049 awaits action in the Senate.

Finally, the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Space and Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a joint hearing on astronomy, astrophysics and astrobiology on July 12. In his testimony, Jim Ulvestad, director of NSF's Division of Astronomical Sciences, described the decadal surveys and their impact. He also noted the construction of two major astronomical observatories -- the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, LSST.


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Visit Testimony and Summaries page   Hearings: Testimony and Summaries
  Reports to Congress
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Visit Major Legislation page   Major Legislation
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Visit NSF and Congress Archive   NSF & Congress Archive
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