…and they look pretty good! Better than we thought, certainly.
You’ll recall we worried that the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative would face problems in the Senate due to the need to pay for cuts to NOAA and NASA in the President’s budget. But the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee marked up their bill today (link doesn’t render on my Mac, however) and managed to get NOAA $1.1 billion more than the House included in their bill, and about $126 million more for NASA, without carving it out of the other science agencies. NSF and NIST managed to make it out of the markup with significant increases still intact. I haven’t seen the mark yet, so I don’t know all the details. But the short story appears to be that NIST will get its requested level and NSF gets almost everything requested — about $29 million shy of the request, actually — but still a healthy increase of $410 million over FY 06.
Here’s the detail the committee’s released so far (comparisons to the House bill in parentheses):
- NIST: $764 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (vs. $627 million in the House bill) — $11.9 million above the FY06 enacted level and $182 million above the budget request. $106 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) (vs. $92 million in the House). No mention of ATP funding (zeroed in the House). It’s not clear how much of that $764 million would go to the NIST Labs, but considering the House included the full $104 million called for in the ACI in their smaller allocation, odds are decent that NIST Labs will actually receive their requested funding.
- NSF: $5.99 billion for National Science Foundation: $410 million above the FY06 enacted level; $29 million less than the House bill.
- NOAA: $4.43 billion for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (vs. $3.4 billion in the House bill): $536 million above the FY06 enacted level, excluding supplemental appropriations, and $753 million above the budget request.
- NASA: $16.8 billion for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (vs. $16.7 billion in the House): $126 million above the FY06 enacted level.
If these numbers survive the full committee markup — scheduled for Thursday — and then again on the Senate floor, then NSF and NIST (and likely DOE Office of Science, when it gets its turn in the Energy and Water bill) will just about be assured of getting nearly the level of increase called for by the President back in January. The only possible monkey wrenches at that point — at least that I can see — would be Presidential veto (unlikely) or some sort of appropriations meltdown that would lead to another across-the-board cut as happened last year. Even then, it’s hard to imagine an across-the-board cut stunting much of the growth NSF, NIST and DOE SC should experience as a result of these appropriations.
Further good news is a recent indication from OMB that the out-year increases for ACI called for in the President’s FY07 budget are likely to be realized, at least in the next budget (FY 08) — meaning the Administration doesn’t see ACI as a one-shot deal; it’s committed to a multi-year increase for these agencies.
So, we’re in pretty good shape at the moment (knocking on wood).
Of course, we’ll have more details as they come available….