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Frontiers
Congressional Update: NSF Budget Status, August 1996

September 1996

Congress recessed for the month of August on Friday, August 2, without taking up H.R. 3666, the FY 1997 VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations bill. This bill includes funding for the National Science Foundation, as well as NASA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Veterans Affairs Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and numerous other independent agencies. It is expected that the Senate will begin consideration of this bill when it returns on Tuesday, September 3. A conference with the House will have to convene soon after Senate passage in order for this bill to have a chance of being enacted into law by the time the Congress adjourns in early October.

Coming out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which marked up this bill on July 11, H.R. 3666 contains several recommendations for NSF. Overall, the bill includes a total of $3.275 billion for FY 1997. This is $55 million more than the level for FY 1996, $50 million below the President¹s request, and $22 million more than the House-passed level. Within this total, the Committee's bill would provide $2.432 billion for Research and Related Activities; $80 million for Major Research Equipment such as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory and the South Pole safety project; $624 million for Education and Human Resources--a $5 million increase over the budget request; $134.3 million for Salaries and Expenses--an amount equal to the budget request; and $5.2 million for the Office of the Inspector General.

During the full committee mark up, an amendment was offered by Chairman Bond--with the support of Senators Mikulski (D-MD), Burns (R-MT) and Kerrey (D-NE)--to add $5 million to the subcommittee's recommendation for Education and Human Resources, bringing this account to the $624 million level. The additional funds were targeted for the informal science education program and the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCOR).

In addition, the Senate version of this bill, as reported out of the committee, does not contain a general provision included in the House bill concerning an ongoing supercomputer procurement being conducted by an NSF-supported research institution.

The table provides a summary of the NSF budget request for FY 1997 as it continues to move through the Congressional budget process.

NSF
ACCT

FY 95
Level

FY 96
Level

FY 97
Req

FY 97
H Auth

FY 97
H Appr*

FY 97
S Appr

FY 97
C Appr

RRA

2245

2314

2472

2380

* 2431

2432

divider line

EHR

606

599

619

600

* 612

624

divider line

ARI

118

100

0

100

0

0

divider line

MRE

126

70

95

80

* 80

80

divider line

S&E/Rel

129

132

134

125

* 125

134

divider line

OIG

4

5

5

5

* 5

5

divider line

Total

3227

3220

3325

3290

* 3253

3275

divider line

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

* The House bill includes a general provision which contains a 4% across the board reduction for most accounts in this bill, including the NSF accounts.


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