The House and Senate Appropriators are in their end game on the FY 10 appropriations process and yesterday released the “conference agreement” for an omnibus appropriations bill they’ve created that bundles all the outstanding appropriations bills save one (Defense). Included in the conference bill are the agreed upon funding levels for several key science agencies. NSF and NIST seem to do well. NSF will receive $6.9 billion in FY 10, an increase of $436 million over FY 09 (about 6.7 percent — assuming the conference passes, and it’s safe to say that it will). NIST will receive an increase of $37.6 million, bringing their core research funding up to $662 million ($65 million more than FY 09).
Interestingly, the Defense appropriation, which includes research funding at DARPA and the other Defense labs, was held out of this omnibus — likely because the Democratic leadership wants to save it for the very end of the session as a last-ditch vehicle on which to attach other difficult-to-pass Democratic priorities. Congress faces a Dec 18th deadline for wrapping up appropriations, so we should have some idea of the final numbers in the Defense bill within the next week or so.
We’ll also have a full breakdown of all the science funding in the 1088 page bill, including budgets for NASA and NIH, very soon.
Update (12/10): The Joint Explanatory Statement — the report of the conference committee accompanying the bill — takes the Administration to task following reports that the President’s budget request for NSF in FY 11 will be much less generous than the FY 10 budget:
The conference agreement includes $6,926,510,000 for the National Science Foundation (NSF), consistent with the on-going effort to double the agency’s budget over a ten-year period.
The conferees are concerned with continuity in the level of support for research and development at the National Science Foundation and reiterate concerns expressed by the House that the request for fiscal year 2011 should represent at least a seven percent increase for NSF over the conference agreement level for fiscal year 2010 in order to sustain the planned doubling of the Foundation’s budget.
That’s strong show of support for the agency and good indication of how the President’s rumored 2.9 percent proposed increase for NSF in FY 11 might be received by Congress.