As we’ve reported recently, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved two markedly different versions of the FY 05 VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Appropriations bill that contains funding for NSF and NASA. The House bill, which stuck strictly to House approved budget caps, cut NSF by 2.0 percent across the board. The Senate bill employed some rule-bending and freed up enough funding in the bill to provide NSF with a 3 percent increase (the President’s requested level), including a 4.1% increase for CISE. Neither bill made it far enough in the appropriations process to get approval from either chamber.
It now appears that the VA-HUD bill will get folded in to the omnibus appropriations bill expected to be assembled when Congress returns on Nov 16th, but will include numbers far more similar to the House levels than the Senate.
In response to the original House bill, CRA activated its Computing Research Advocacy Network (CRAN) to urge the Senate to adopt higher numbers for NSF and the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) in particular. CRAN’s effort was reasonably successful: CISE’s increase in the Senate bill was the largest of any of the major directorates.
In response to the latest developments, CRA is once again calling on CRAN to get involved. Members of the appropriations conference committee need to hear from CRAN members, especially those whose representatives sit on the House and Senate Appropriations committee (who will serve as the conferees), about the importance of supporting NSF at the highest possible level. And they need to hear before November 16th!.
We’ve updated the CRAN Alert page to reflect the new situation and changed our sample letters as well. If you’re a member of CRAN, please contact your Senators and Representative in the House. If you’re not, please join!
We’ll have more details on the effort and the outcome as they emerge.