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NSF Congressional Highlight

NSF Operating Under Continuing Resolution; NSF Director Testifies at Four Congressional Hearings in Late September

October 2, 2006

Congress has passed a stop-gap funding bill that will keep the National Science Foundation and most other federal agencies operating for the first few weeks of the 2007 fiscal year that began on Oct. 1, 2006. The continuing resolution, passed as part of H.R. 5631, the Department of Defense FY 2007 appropriations bill, provides funds for many federal departments and agencies through Nov. 17, 2006.

The resolution was necessary because Congress has not completed action on most of the annual appropriations bills that fund federal civilian agencies' operations for FY 07. On June 29, the House passed H.R. 5672, the Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2007, which includes funds for NSF. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version on July 13, and the measure now awaits a vote on the Senate floor. The House version provided NSF with its full FY 2007 request of $6 billion, or $439 million (eight percent) over the FY 2006 enacted level (details). The Senate Committee recommended $5.99 billion for NSF, a level that is $28.3 million below NSF's FY 2007 budget request and $410.5 million over the FY 2006 enacted level (details).

Congressional leaders have promised to complete action on the appropriations bills following the November elections. The House and Senate stand adjourned until Nov. 9.

In the days leading up to the congressional recess, NSF Director Arden L. Bement, Jr., spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill, testifying before five congressional committees at four separate hearings. The hearings covered the upcoming International Polar Year; the current state of icebreaking for polar research; and the environmental, health and safety impacts of nanotechnology research.

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