NSF Flat-funded in House FY12 Approps Draft

The House Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, Science today released its draft of the FY12 CJS appropriations bill, containing funding for the National Science Foundation at the same level the agency received in FY11. The bill totals over $50 billion for FY12 spending in programs at the Department of Commerce, Department of Justice, NASA, NSF, and other agencies — down $3 billion from FY11 levels, and down more than $7.4 billion from levels requested by the President for FY12. Though NSF holds ground compared to FY11, the committee’s plan for FY12 is well below the President’s requested levels for the agency ($907 million less). While not a good result for NSF — a “flat” budget is essentially a cut when inflation is factored in — it’s also not nearly as bad as it could have been given the current climate and cuts elsewhere within the bill. NASA, for example, would absorb a $1.6 billion cut vs. FY11, if the House appropriators plan is approved.

Though they flat-funded the agency overall, House appropriators included an increase to NSF’s core research account (R&RA) of $43 million compared to FY12 to “enhance basic research that is critical to innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness,” according to a statement released by the committee today. At the same time, the bill calls for cuts to both the Education and Human Resources directorate ($26 million vs. FY11) and Major Research Equipment and Facilities account ($17 million vs. FY11).

The subcommittee is set to mark up the bill tomorrow, where it may undergo further changes. We’ll have the details here as soon as we learn them.

In the meantime, the committee has prepared a summary chart featuring the funding levels contained in the bill for all the major programs, as well as a comparison to FY11 and the President’s FY12 Budget Request.

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