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Conflicting rumors abound regarding the outlook for NSF in the FY 05 appropriations process. As House and Senate negotiators attempt to put the finishing touches on an omnibus appropriations bill by Friday or Saturday, word comes that NSF will likely not fare well in the bill. GovExec.com reports that a bit of rule-bending employed by the Senate to “find” an additional $1.2 billion in funding in their version of the VA-HUD-Independent agencies appropriation bill, which includes funding for NSF, isn’t acceptable to the House leadership or the White House budget office. So in order to stay within the budget cap, appropriators will have offset any increase in spending with funding from elsewhere in the bill.
In order to fund the President’s lunar/Mars initiative at NASA, it appears other agencies in the bill will bear the brunt. GovExec.com reports that NSF is slated for a $60 million cut overall compared to the agency’s FY 2004 funding level, but that “research funding” — presumably the agency’s Research and Related Activities account, which contains funding for NSF CISE — will “remain frozen” at FY 2004 levels.
A second rumor making the rounds suggests that the situation at NSF may be even more grim, with funding levels below the levels approved by the House appropriations committee. That level, you may recall, would be a 2.0 percent reduction in NSF’s budget compared to FY 2004.
We continue to press Congress on the importance of supporting funding at NSF at adequate levels. Keep an eye on this space for the latest details….
Update (11/19 12:30pm): Now hearing that the $60 million cut to NSF’s non-research account is in addition to an across-the-board 0.75 percent to all agencies, which would translate into another $41 million from NSF. Also hearing the bill will be released at 2 pm today.
Update (11/20 11:30am): We’ve got the final numbers for NSF in the bill. $98 million cut from the Education and Human Resources account (plus an increase of $19 million to the Major Research Equipment account), and an across-the-board cut of 0.75 percent. Here’s a copy of <a href=bill language (pdf, 360kb) for NSF. Here’s the final breakout:
|FY 2005 NSF Appropriations
FY 05 Final vs FY 04
FY 05 Final vs FY 04
|Research and Related Activities||$4,251||$4,452||$4,152||$4,402||$4,221||-$30||-0.7%|
|Major Research Equip||$155||$213||$208||$130||$174||$19||12%|
|Education and Human Resources||$939||$771||$843||$929||$841||-$98||-10%|
|Salaries and Expenses||$219||$294||$250||$269||$223||$4||1.8%|
|National Science Board||$4||$4||$4||$4||$4||$0||0%|
|*includes 0.80 percent across-the-board cut|
Last Update: We’ve got the joint statement from the conferees regarding the NSF funding levels online now.
I lied. One More Update: Two things. One, the Energy and Water Appropriations bill did make it into the Omnibus, and it did contain $30 million for DOE’s Leadership Class Supercomputer ($25 million for hardware, $5 million for software development) we’ve covered recently.
Two, the across the board cut was actually 0.8%, not 0.75% as I reported above. I’ll make the corrections soon, but at NSF’s level of resolution, it shouldn’t change things too much. Ok, chart is updated (11/22).