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NSF Congressional Highlight
House Passes FY 2000 Conference Report for VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies

October 14, 1999

On October 14, the House of Representatives debated and passed the conference report -- H.Rept 106-379 -- accompanying H.R. 2684, FY 2000 VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act. This legislation includes funding for the VA, HUD, EPA, NASA, national service as well as the National Science Foundation. The Senate is expected to consider the conference report early next week and the Clinton administration has expressed support for the bill.

The conference report provides NSF with a total budget of $3.912 billion -- this amount represents an increase of $240 million or 7% over the FY 1999 appropriation. For the Research and Related Activities account, the conferees have agreed to provide a total of $2.966 billion -- nearly $200 million or 7% over the FY99 level. Within this account, the conferees provided $90 million for the Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering (CISE) directorate for "individual and team research projects related to information technologies, specifically in the areas recommended in the PITAC report and in H.R. 2086." HR 2086 is the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act, reported by the House Science Committee on June 9, 1999.

The conference report also provides $50 million for biocomplexity; $60 million for the plant genome program; and $25 million to support arctic logistics. The conference report directs NSF to develop a multi-year, multi-agency plan for the implementation of joint United-States Japan Arctic research activities and to provide $5 million within available funds for logistical activities in support of US-Japan international research activities related to global change . The conferees included bill language that limits NSF support for internet domain registration -- a provision similar to the one included in last year's appropriations bill and consistent with National Science Board policy. In addition, the conferees agreed to the Senate's proposal to include buy/build America language concerning the future acquisition of a research vessel with icebreaking capability.

Also within the RRA account, NSF is encouraged to consider providing from with available funds up to $3 million for the Civilian Research and Development Foundation. The report provides no funding, without prejudice for the NSF Opportunity Fund in FY 2000. NSF is directed also to provide up to $5 million for the National Oceanographic Partnership Program and to explore the feasibility of establishing a multi-disciplinary research program that will estimate the benefits and costs of gambling. Language commending NSF for its support of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory is also included.

For the Major Research Equipment account, the conferees agreed to provide $95 million -- this is $10 million above the request. The additional funds are for initial steps towards the acquisition of a high altitude research aircraft. Within the conference agreement $36 million is provided for the terascale computing system -- this is identical to the request and is in addition to the $90 million provided for information technology research in the research and related activities account. Also included in the conference agreement are the funds requested for the Large Hadron Collider, the Millimeter Array, the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, polar aircraft upgrades, and South Pole Station modernization.

For Education and Human Resources, the conferees agreed to provide $696.6 million -- this is a $34.6 million increase over the FY99 level. Within this account the conferees have agreed to provide: a total of $55 million for EPSCOR and $10 million for a new innovation partnership effort. The conferees direct that funds for these two efforts be combined in a single program office within the EHR account, under the direct supervision of the Director's office. According to the conference language, the new office should examine means of helping non-EPSCoR institutions receiving among the least federal research funding expand their research capacity and competitiveness. The new innovation partnership office is expected to work with CISE to insure access to advanced networking and computing activities for rural and insular areas with research institutions and to coordinate with all other research directorates.

Also within the EHR account, $46 million is provided for informal science education - the level requested; and $10 million to support undergraduate activities at historically black colleges and universities -- of which $8 million is from the Education account and $2 million is to be provided from the Research account.

For both the EHR and the RRA accounts, the conferees included language directing NSF to use any remaining additional funds - except where specified in the conference report - to be distributed proportionately and equitably across the directorates, consistent with the ratio of the budget request level above the FY 99 funding level.

The Salaries and Expenses account is funded at the level of $149 million. The conference report directs NSF to fund program travel only from within the S&E account and to improve its oversight activity of its many programs, using available funds from with the S&E account. The Office of Inspector General is funded at the level of $5.45 million -- both levels are equal to the budget request.

FY 2000 National Science Foundation
Appropriations Table

Account

FY99

Req

House

Senate

Conf

RRA

2770.00

3004.00

2778.50

3007.30

2966.0

MRE

90.00

85.00

56.50

70.00

95.0

EHR

662.00

678.00

660.00

688.60

697.0

S&E

144.00

149.00

146.50

150.00

149.0

OIG

5.20

5.45

5.33

5.55

5.0

Total

3671.2 

3921.45

3646.83

3921.45

3912.0


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