The House Appropriations Committee has passed and sent to the House floor the FY 2005 VA, HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill. Under this bill, the National Science Foundation's budget would be cut by 2.0% or $111 million.
Here are the numbers:
The current NSF budget is $5,577.9 million.
The Bush Administration request is $5,744.7 million. This is an increase of 3.0% or $167 million over the current budget.
The House appropriations bill recommends $5,467.0 million for FY 2005.
Neither the draft version of the committee's report or the press release issued yesterday explains why this reduction was made.
The committee's report provides further detail on various budget components:
RESEARCH AND RELATED ACTIVITIES (R&RA):
The current budget is $4,251.4 million. The administration requested $4,452.0 million. The House bill would provide $4,151.8 million, which is a reduction of $99.6 million or 2.3% from this year.
The committee report shows two different figures for the R&RA reduction, explaining that after various accounting revisions are made, funding would be reduced $73.7 million from this year. Notably, the Math and Science Partnership Program would continue to be funded in the Education and Human Resources budget instead of in R&RA as proposed by the administration in its budget submission. Administrative costs now funded in R&RA were shifted to the foundation's salary account.
The committee report explains that "Given the overall funding constraints, no funds are provided for the proposed [$20 million] Workforce for the 21st Century program, the proposed new class of Science and Technology Centers, or the proposed Innovation Fund."
The full request of $350 million was provided for the Office of Polar Programs, the report stating, "The Committee expects NSF to provide the necessary resources for operations, research support and logistics, and science and research grant support to fully fund the Antarctic operations."
Regarding nanotechnology, the report states, "the Committee remains concerned that researchers are reaching the physical limits of current complementary metal oxide semiconductor process technology and that this will have significant implications for continued productivity growth in the information economy." After commending NSF's activities, the report "encourages NSF to consider increasing research support, where feasible, through this program."
MAJOR RESEARCH EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES CONSTRUCTION:
Several facilities would be funded at approximately the requested level: ALMA (at $49.7 million), EarthScope (at $47.3 million), and Rare Symmetry Violating Process (at $30.0 million).
The report states: "The Committee recommends $51,200,000 for the IceCube Neutrino Detector Observatory, an increase of $9,450,000 above fiscal year 2004 level and $17,800,000 above the request. The Committee has accelerated the funding profile to enable certain economies to be achieved that will reduce the overall total project cost."
The Integrated Ocean Drilling program would be funded at $30.0 million; the request was $40.9 million.
The administration requested $12.0 million for the National Ecological Observatory Network in this account. The committee did not provide this funding, but did include $6.0 million in the R&RA account above for "continued planning and design activities."
EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES (EHR):
EHR funding would be cut under the House bill. As is true for the R&RA component, the draft committee report shows two different reductions because of the accounting changes described above.
The current EHR budget is $939.0 million. The administration requested $771.4 million. The House bill would provide $843.0 million. This is a reduction of 10.2% or $96.0 million from the current year.
The committee report draft language provides detail about various EHR programs, and should be available shortly at the following site under VA/HUD: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app05.html
Under this bill, program funding would be changed from the current year as follows:
Math and Science Partnerships: $82.5 million recommended; $139.2 million current year EPSCoR: $94.4 million recommended; $94.4 million current year
Elementary, Secondary and Informal Education: $175.5 million recommended; $212.3 million current year
Undergraduate Education: $160.3 million recommended; $155.5 million current year
Graduate Education: $156.0 million recommended; $156.0 million current year
Human Resource Development: $115.3 million recommended; $115.9 million current year
Research, Evaluation and Communication: $53.2 million recommended; $65.8 million current year.