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NSF & Congress
House VA-HUD Appropriations Committee Report for FY 2000

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Research and Related Activities
Major Research Equipment
Education and Human Resources
Salaries and Expenses
Office of Inspector General
"Additional Views" Excerpt from Subcommittee Report Related to NSF

Below is the text of the NSF section of the House Appropriations Committee report that accompanies the House's version of our FY 2000 appropriations bill. This bill has been reported from committee and is expected to be acted upon by the full House in early September. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee is expected to act on its version of this appropriations bill in early September as well. At the end of the NSF section of the report, an excerpt from the "additional views" filed by Representative David Obey -- the ranking minority member of the House Appropriations Committtee -- is included.

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

Fiscal year 2000 recommendation

$3,646,825,000

Fiscal year 1999 appropriation

$3,671,200,000

Fiscal year 2000 budget request

$3,921,450,000

Comparison with fiscal year 1999 appropriation

-$24,375,000

Comparison with fiscal year 2000 request

-$274,625,000

The National Science Foundation was established in 1950 and received its first appropriation of $225,000 in 1951. The primary purpose behind its creation was to develop a national policy on science, and support and promote basic research and education in the sciences filling the void left after World War II.

The Committee recommends a total of $3,646,825,000 for fiscal year 2000. This recommendation is a decrease of $24,375,000 below last year's appropriation and $274,625,000 below the President's budget request.

Of the amounts approved in the following appropriations accounts, the Foundation must limit transfers of funds between programs and activities to not more than $500,000 without prior approval of the Committee. Further, no changes may be made to any account or program element if it is construed to be policy or a change in policy. Any activity or program cited in this report shall be construed as the position of the Committee and should not be subject to reductions or reprogramming without prior approval of the Committee. Finally, it is the intent of the Committee that all carryover funds in the various appropriations accounts are subject to the normal reprogramming requirements outlined above.

RESEARCH AND RELATED ACTIVITIES

Fiscal year 2000 recommendation

$2,778,500,000

Fiscal year 1999 appropriation

$2,770,000,000

Fiscal year 2000 budget request

$3,004,000,000

Comparison with fiscal year 1999 appropriation

+$8,500,000

Comparison with fiscal year 2000 request

-$225,500,000

The appropriation for Research and Related Activities covers all programs in the Foundation except Education and Human Resources, Salaries and Expenses, NSF Headquarters Relocation, Major Research Equipment, and the Office of Inspector General. These are funded in other accounts in the bill. The Research and Related Activities appropriation includes United States Polar Research Programs and Antarctic Logistical Support Activities and the Critical Technologies Institute, which were previously funded through separate appropriations. Beginning with fiscal year 1997, the President's budget provided funding for the instrumentation portion of Academic Research Infrastructure in this account.

The Committee recommends a total of $2,778,500,000 for Research and Related Activities in fiscal year 2000, an increase of $8,500,000 above last year's funding level and a decrease of $225,500,000 below the budget request. The Committee's recommendation includes the following program levels which it expects the Foundation to adhere to: (1) Biological Sciences, $391,000,000; (2) Computer and Information Science and Engineering, $312,670,000; (3) Engineering, $369,000,000; (4) Geosciences, $473,000,000; (5) Mathematical and Physical Sciences, $735,000,000; (6) Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences, $138,000,000; (7) U.S. Polar Research Programs, $183,000,000; (8) U.S. Antarctic Logistical Support Activities, $62,600,000; and (9) Integrative Activities, $114,230,000.

Within the amount provided to the Computer and Information Science and Engineering directorate, $35,000,000 is to support individual and team research projects consistent with H.R. 2086, the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act, which, as introduced, authorizes a sizable increase for Information Technology (IT) research over the next five fiscal yerars. Budget constraints make it impossible for the Committee to provide the funding level as provided in H.R. 2086 or the full budget request for this new initiative without adversely disrupting funding in all other program areas. Nevertheless, the Committee believes $35,000,000 is a significant down-payment towards what it expects will be a long-term, comprehensive research program in this important field of computing and information technologies.

Included in the amount provided to the new Integrative Activities directorate is $35,000,000 for the new Biocomplexity Initiative; $50,000,000 for Major Research Instrumentation; $25,000,000 for Science and Technology Centers; and $4,230,000 for the Science and Technology Policy Institute. Although acknowledging the funding flexibility afforded the Foundation through its use of the Opportunity Fund, the Committee has, for fiscal year 2000, included no funds for this activity. Should the NSF find it necessary to pursue funds for ``emergency'' research needs at any time during the fiscal year, the Committee will make every effort to respond to appropriate reprogramming requests as quickly as possible.

MAJOR RESEARCH EQUIPMENT

Fiscal year 2000 recommendation

$56,500,000

Fiscal year 1999 appropriation

$90,000,000

Fiscal year 2000 budget request

$85,000,000

Comparison with fiscal year 1999 appropriation

-$33,500,000

Comparison with fiscal year 2000 request

-$28,500,000

This account provides funding for the construction of major research facilities that provide unique capabilities at the cutting edge of science and engineering.

The Committee recommends a total of $56,500,000 for the major research equipment account for fiscal year 2000. This appropriation reflects the budget request levels of $8,000,000 for the Millimeter Array, $15,900,000 for the Large Hadron Collider, $12,000,000 Polar support aircraft upgrades, $5,400,000 for continued construction of the new South Pole Station, and $7,700,000 for the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation.

As outlined under the Research and Related Activities account, the Committee has included $35,000,000 for new research related activities consistent with the Information Technology Initiative (IT). The Committee, however, is not prepared at this time to commit resources to the construction of a single site, five teraflop computing facility as requested in the budget submission. The Committee has taken this action, without prejudice, due to budget constraints and other, higher priority pressures on available financial resources. The Committee expects to consider this request in future year budget submissions and would hope to have the benefit of any new IT research that may be available to assist during those forthcoming deliberations.

Finally, the Committee has provided $7,500,000 to begin production of the High-Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER). The Committee recognizes the atmospheric science community's need for such a new high-altitude research aircraft, and notes that this aircraft has gone through a multiple-year review and selection process prior to its approval and endorsement by the National Science Board. Upon its completion, this aircraft will be available to support outstanding research opportunities over the next 25 to 30 years.

EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES

Fiscal year 2000 recommendation

$660,000,000

Fiscal year 1999 appropriation

$662,000,000

Fiscal year 2000 budget request

$678,000,000

Comparison with fiscal year 1999 appropriation

-$2,000,000

Comparison with fiscal year 2000 request

-$18,000,000

The Foundation's Education and Human Resources activities are designed to encourage the entrance of talented students into science and technology careers, to improve the undergraduate science and engineering education environment, to assist in providing all pre-college students with a level of education in mathematics, science, and technology that reflects the needs of the nation and is the highest quality attained anywhere in the world, and extend greater research opportunities to underrepresented segment of the scientific and engineering communities.

For fiscal year 2000, the Committee recommends $660,000,000, a decrease of $2,000,000 below last year's appropriated level and a decrease of $18,000,000 below the budget request. The Committee's proposal includes the following program funding levels: (1) Educational System Reform, $114,200,000; (2) Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), $48,410,000; (3) Elementary, Secondary and Informal Education, $193,520,000; (4) Undergraduate Education, $103,540,000; (5) Graduate Education, $69,650,000; (6) Human Resource Development, $73,680,000; and (7) Research, Evaluation and Communication, $57,000,000.

The Committee has provided the budget request for the HBCU UP initiative. However, the Committee strongly encourages the Foundation to take all appropriate steps to increase funding, through both the Education and Human Resources and the Research and Related Activities accounts, to support enhanced education and research opportunities at additional HBCU institutions.

The Committee views the Advance Technological Education program as crucial to ensuring a highly competent technical workforce. The Committee is pleased that the Foundation is using a portion of the H1 B visa receipts along with effective partnership with the relevant, local scientific and technical business sector to further expand the scope and significance of the program.

The Committee believes that it is important to promote agricultural and related environmental awareness through improved curriculum and materials development targeted at the K 12 level of education. Recent reports by the National Research Council, the Farm Foundation, and other organizations have highlighted the need for improved education efforts in this vital area for all students. The Committee urges the Foundation to actively encourage and to provide appropriate support for competitive proposals that will improve agricultural and environmental literacy, promote critical thinking and problem solving skills, and improve the quality of agricultural and environmental education materials being used by K 12 teachers in our Nation's schools. Such efforts should be coordinated with similar efforts to be undertaken by the Department of Agriculture, particularly as it incorporates several years of effort developed by the National Resource and Conservation Services to prepare an agro-ecosystem curriculum for teachers focusing on land, food, and people.

SALARIES AND EXPENSES

Fiscal year 2000 recommendation

$146,500,000

Fiscal year 1999 appropriation

$144,000,000

Fiscal year 2000 budget request

$149,000,000

Comparison with fiscal year 1999 appropriation

+$2,500,000

Comparison with fiscal year 2000 request

-$2,500,000

The Salaries and Expenses activity provides for the operation, support and management, and direction of all Foundation programs and activities and includes necessary funds that develop, manage, and coordinate Foundation programs.

The Committee recommends an appropriation of $146,500,000 for salaries and expenses, a decrease of $2,500,000 from the President's budget request and an increase of $2,500,000 over last year's appropriated level.

OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL

Fiscal year 2000 recommendation

$5,325,000

Fiscal year 1999 appropriation

$5,200,000

Fiscal year 2000 budget request

$5,450,000

Comparison with fiscal year 1999 appropriation

$125,000

Comparison with fiscal year 2000 request

-$125,000

This account provides National Science Foundation audit and investigation functions to identify and correct management and administrative deficiencies which could lead to fraud, waste, or abuse.

For fiscal year 2000, the Committee has recommended $5,325,000 for the Office of Inspector General. This amount is $125,000 above last year's funding level and is a decrease of $125,000 below the budget request.


ADDITIONAL VIEWS

Excerpt related to NSF issued by Rep. David Obey in the Minority Views contained within the House VA HUD Appropriations Subcommittee Report

National Science Foundation

One of the most insidious reductions reflected in this bill is the one for the National Science Foundation. The committee's recommendation is $275 million below the President's request, reducing the Foundation to less than the amount provided in 1999. It is difficult to predict exactly how and where a reduction of this magnitude in our nation's premier science agency will be felt. But everyone should be able to understand and appreciate the comment of the NSF Director after hearing of the committee's recommendation: "We are able and ready to do 21st century science and engineering--but we can not do it on a 20th century budget."

One program that would be especially damaged under the committee's action is the Administration's Information Technology for the 21st Century Initiative. The National Science Foundation is leading a six-agency multi-year effort to prepare the groundwork for continued American leadership and innovation in computing and software systems. The committee's recommendation to provide only $35 million of the $146 million requested for the initiative will delay investment in fundamental, long-term information technology research. With the information technology industry employing millions of Americans and contributing $700 billion to the U.S. economy, this action is terribly shortsighted. Another troubling reduction that would result from the committee's recommendation is the 30 percent cut in the Foundation's biocomplexity initiative designed to study the interdependencies among elements of specific environmental systems.

 

 

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