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NSF Congressional Highlight
Senate and House Action on NSF's FY 98 Budget

July 28, 1997

Senate and House Action on NSF's FY 98 Budget; House recommends a 6.6% increase; Senate mark includes a 3.3% increase; NSF Authorization Bill Makes Progress in the Senate, too.

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS ACTION

On July 22, the Senate passed by an overwhelming margin, S. 1034, the FY98 VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations bill. This bill includes funding for the National Science Foundation, as well as HUD, VA, EPA, NASA, FEMA, and numerous other agencies. For NSF, the Senate is recommending a total appropriation of $3.377 billion. This amount is $10 million more than the request and represents a 3.3% increase over the FY 1997 level. It is $110 million below the level recommended by the House.

For Research and Related Activities, the Senate is recommending $2.524 billion. This amount is $10 million more than the request and represents a 3.8% increase over FY 1997. At the same time, it is below the House mark for this account by $13 million. Within this account, the committee has included $40 million for a plant genome initiative to be supported consistent with NSF's competitive, merit-based procedures. The committee also included bill and report language delaying the availability of some of the funds for the Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence and the Life and Earth's Environment initiatives until a report is submitted that outlines appropriate "milestones and benchmarks".

For the Major Research Equipment account, the Senate bill recommends the budget request of $85 million to support the requests for South Pole Station, LIGO, and the Polar Cap Observatory. The accompanying committee report includes report language requiring that the Polar Cap Observatory be co-located with a DOD radar research facility. The Senate provided, from within the request, an additional $4 million for the Gemini telescope and directed these funds come from the request for the Millimeter Array Radio Telescope. The Senate's recommendation of $85 million is $90 million below the House level largely because the House provided upfront funding for the rehabilitation of South Pole Station.

For Education and Human Resources, the Senate is recommending the request of $625 million, which is $7 million below the House level. Within the amount provided, the committee report directs that $6 million be used for an initiative to support historically black colleges and universities.

Both the Salaries and Expenses and Office of Inspector General accounts were funded at the request level, which is the same as in the House bill.

HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS ACTION

In addition to the Senate's action on the appropriations bill, the House also completed debate and passed its version of this bill on July 16. For NSF, the only change made was the voice vote adoption of an amendment to reduce the research appropriation by $174,000. This amendment was related to Congressional concerns about a political science grant made by the Foundation.

Copies of the NSF sections of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees' reports that accompany the respective versions of the appropriations bills are available on this web site.

SENATE AUTHORIZATION ACTION

At the same time the FY98 appropriations bill for NSF was finishing up in the House and Senate, the Senate Labor and Human Resources, under the leadership of Senator James Jeffords, marked up and reported out its version of an NSF authorization bill for FY 1998 and 1999. S.1046, the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 1997, authorizes $3.505 billion for NSF in 1998, providing the same 7.2% increase contained in the NSF authorization bill that passed the House in April. For fiscal year 1999, the Senate bill authorizes $3.636 billion.

The major difference between the authorization bill marked up by the Labor Committee and the House passed bill was in the funding level provided for Education and Human Resources. The Senate version would provide $20 million more for math and science education than the House version, with the offset coming from the Major Research Equipment account. The Labor Committee's bill also includes an explicit authorization for NSF participation in the Next Generation Internet program. The committee's bill also modifies the House's provision for an OSTP study on indirect costs by seeking a more comprehensive analysis of the various factors that affect university overhead.

The authorization bill will next be referred to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee for consideration, followed by Senate floor action, hopefully sometime in September.

The table below provides a quick summary of the NSF budget as it continues to make its way through the authorization and appropriations process.

STATUS OF THE FY 1998 NSF BUDGET REQUEST
$ in millions

Account

FY97

REQ

HAUTH

SAUTH

CAUTH

HAPPR

SAPPR

CAPPR

RRA

2432.0

2514.7

2563.0

2563.3

 

2537.7

2524.7

 

EHR

619.0

625.5

625.5

645.5

 

632.5

625.5

 

MRE

80.0

85.0

175.0

155.0

 

175.0

85.0

 

S&E

134.0

137.0

137.0

137.0

 

137.0

137.0

 

OIG

5.0

4.8

4.8

4.8

 

4.8

4.8

 

Total

3270

3367

3505

3505

 

3487

3377

 

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

REQ - FY 1998 NSF Budget Request
HAUTH - House passed FY98-99 NSF Authorization Bill (H.R. 1273)
SAUTH - Senate FY98 NSF Authorization Bill (S. 1046)
CAUTH - Conference Agreement on NSF Authorization Bill
HAPPR - FY98 House VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2158)
SAPPR - FY98 Senate VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill (S. 1034)
CAPPR - FY98 Appropriations Conference Agreement

See also:

 

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