First Information: FY 2012 Senate Appropriations Bill for NASA, NIST, NSF

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Publication date: 
15 September 2011
Number: 
111

In  describing the FY 2012 funding bill her subcommittee approved yesterday,  Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on  Commerce, Justice, and Science explained, “In a spending bill that has less to  spend, we naturally focus on the cuts and the things we can’t do. But I’d like  to focus on what we can do. The bill invests more than $12 billion in scientific  research and high impact research and technology development, to create new  products and new jobs for the future.” This afternoon the full Senate Appropriations Committee considers this  bill, after which a report will be issued that will have many pages pertaining  to NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards  and Technology.        The  committee released a five-page summary of its bill that provides the first  information on this key funding bill.  The House Appropriations Committee approved  its version of this legislation, H.R. 2596, in mid-July.

Mikulski’s  subcommittee had less to spend in writing this bill.  Total discretionary budget authority in this  legislation is $52.701 billion, a reduction of $626 million or 1.2 percent from  the current year. 

NASA:

The  FY 2011 appropriation was $18,448.0 million     The  FY 2012 Administration request was $18,724.3 million     The  House Appropriations Committee recommends $16,810.3 million, a decline of $1,637.7  million or 8.9 percent

The  Senate release states:  “The National  Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is funded at $17.9 billion, a reduction  of $509 million or 2.8 percent from the FY2011 enacted level.”

Importantly,  the release also states: “The bill provides funds to enable a 2018 launch of  the James Webb Space Telescope.”    Reports indicate that the Senate bill  contains $530 million for the telescope.   Current funding is $438.7 million; the Administration requested $373.7  million.  The House bill contained no  funding for this telescope.

National  Science Foundation:

The  FY 2011 appropriation was $6,859.9 million     The  FY 2012 Administration request was $7,767.0 million     The  House Appropriations Committee recommends $6,859.9 million – level funding

The  Senate release states: “The National Science Foundation (NSF) is funded at $6.7  billion, a reduction of $162 million or 2.4 percent below the FY2011 enacted  level.”

National  Institute of Standards and Technology:

The  FY 2011 appropriation was $750.1 million     The  FY 2012 Administration request was $1,001.1 million     The  House bill provides $700.8 million, a decline of 6.6 percent or $49.3 million  from the current year

The  Senate release states: “NIST is funded at $680 million, which is $70 million  below the FY2011 enacted level. The bill does not include funding for new  grants under NIST’s competitive construction program and eliminates funding for  the Technology Innovation Program and the Baldrige Performance Excellence  Program.”

Also  yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee introduced a bill that will  provide funding through November 18.   Current funding expires on September 30.   Of note, the rate used in developing this bill was the level contained  in the budget legislation agreed to earlier this year, a promising sign that  final funding legislation may be enacted in a timelier manner.