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NSF Congressional Highlight
FY 1997 Appropriations Conference Moves to Completion

September 19, 1996

On Wednesday, September 18, House and Senate negotiators resolved their differences on H.R. 3666, the VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act for FY 1997.

For NSF, the conferees agreed on a total appropriation of $3.270 billion, an amount that is $50 million, or about 2%, over the FY 1996 level. For research and related activities, the conferees adopted the Senate's recommendation of $2.432 billion which is $118 million -- or 5.1% over the FY 1996 level. The appropriation for research and related activities includes $50 million for large-scale academic research instrumentation. Also available in this appropriation account is $1.4 million as a contingency to meet tariff requirements associated with the Gemini telescope project.

The education and human resources activity is to be funded at $619 million -- an amount equal to the budget request. This is $7 million above the House recommendation and $5 million below the Senate’s recommendation. With in the agreed upon funding level, the conferees made the following changes to the education budget request: +$10 million for informal science education to be used in conjunction with overall systemic reform efforts; +$2.5 million for EPSCoR; -$2 million from graduate programs; -$5 million from undergraduate programs; -$2.5 million from precollege curriculum development; and -$3 million from research, evaluation, and communications.

The major research equipment (MRE) activity, which supports the construction of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) and South Pole Station Safety project, is funded at $80 million. The MRE appropria- tion is sufficient to keep these two important projects on schedule. The conferees agreed to fund NSF's salaries and expenses account at the Senate level of $134 million. This amount is equal to the NSF request for FY 1997 and averts the staffing and operational disruptions that could have occurred under the House passed level for this account. The Office of Inspector General is funded at $4.69 million, which is identical to the budget request.

The conferees dropped a House provision from the bill concerning restric- tions on the use of funds regarding the procurement of a supercomputer.

The conference report is expected to be filed and ready for House floor action before the week is out. Additional details will be available as soon as the conference report is released.

NSF
Acct

FY95
Level

FY96
Level

FY97
Req

FY97
H Auth

FY97
H Appr*

FY97
S Appr

FY
C Cap

RRA

2245

2314

2472

2380

2431*

2432

2432

EHR

606

599

619

600

612*

624

619

ARI

118

100

0

100

0

0

0

MRE

126

70

95

80

80*

80

80

S&E/REL

129

132

134

125

125*

134

134

OIG

4

5

5

5

5*

5

5

Total

3227

3220

3325

3290

3253*

3275

3270

*The House bill included a general provision which contained a .4% across the board reduction for most accounts in this bill, including the NSF accounts. The across the board reduction provision was dropped in conference.

RRA -- Research and Related Activities
EHR -- Education and Human Resources
ARI -- Academic Research Infrastructure
MRE -- Major Research Equipment
S&E -- Salaries and Expenses
REL -- Relocation
OIG -- Office of Inspector General

Related information:

Text of the NSF Section of the House Appropriation Report for FY 97.
Text of the NSF Section of the Senate Appropriation Report for FY 97.
Text of the NSF Section of the Conference Appropriation Report for FY 97.

See also:

 

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