Senate Readies its Stimulus Bill

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Publication date: 
9 February 2009

If all goes according to schedule, the Senate will vote tonight on a procedure allowing it to hold a vote tomorrow on its version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  This will in turn set up what is expected to be a contentious conference between the House and Senate to write a final version of this legislation that is to be sent to President Obama by the weekend.

Getting the necessary sixty votes for the approval of this evening’s procedural vote has been difficult.  After it was determined that no Republican senator would vote for the bill as originally drafted by the Senate leadership, a group of moderates in both parties worked late last week to craft a compromise version that cut about $100 billion in proposed spending.  The Senate bill totals $820 billion in new spending and tax reductions.

Below is a comparison of the $819 billion House-passed version of this legislation, and the Senate “compromise” version that will be voted on tomorrow.  FYI #10  reviews the original Senate bill.  Note that the below Senate language is taken from a lengthy summary of the compromise amendment, and is fundamentally different from committee report language.  Selections from the House language below previously appeared in FYI #7 that was taken from the House Appropriations Committee report.

There is a considerable range in the recommended funding levels in the House and Senate versions of this bill for science and technology programs.   In the remainder of this week, House and Senate appropriators and the Obama Administration will craft a final bill that can be passed by both chambers and be signed by the President.

HOUSE: National Institute of Standards and Technology

Scientific and Technical Research and Services   Recovery funding: $100 million

Manufacturing Extension Partnership and Technology Innovation Program   Recovery funding: $100 million   The House report states: “Industrial Technology Services includes the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Technology Innovation Program: $30 million is for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and $70 million is for the Technology Innovation Program (TIP).”

Science Building Construction Grants   Recovery funding: $300 million   The House report states: “This program is a competitive construction grant program for research science buildings. These grants are awarded to colleges, universities, and other nonprofit, science research organizations on a merit basis.”

SENATE: National Institute of Standards and Technology

The Senate summary states: “$475 million total for NIST including: $307 million for renovation of NIST facilities and new laboratories using green technologies; $168 million for scientific and technical research at NIST to strengthen the agency’s IT infrastructure; provide additional NIST research fellowships; provide substantial funding for advanced research and measurement equipment and supplies; increase external grants for NIST-related research.”



Science   Recovery funding: $400 million   The House report states: “Within the funds provided, not less than $250 million will be used to accelerate the development of the Tier 1 set of Earth science/climate research missions recommended by the National Academies decadal survey as being critically important for answering key Earth science/climate research questions. . . . “


The Senate summary states: “$1.3 billion total for NASA including: $450 million for Earth science missions to provide critical data about the Earth’s resources and climate; $200 million to enable research and testing of environmentally responsible aircraft and for verification and validation methods for complex aerospace systems and software; $450 million to reduce the gap in time that the U.S. does not have a vehicle to access the International Space Station; and $200 million for repair, upgrade and construction at NASA facilities.”


HOUSE: National Science Foundation

Research and Related Activities   Recovery funding: $2.500 billion   The House report states: “Within the R&RA appropriation, $300 million is provided for the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program.”

Education and Human Resources   Recovery funding: $100 million   The House report states: “$100 million is provided for Education and Human Resources at the NSF. Within this amount, $60 million is provided for the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program and $40 million for Math and Science Partnerships.”

Construction and Development of Major Research Equipment and Facilities   Recovery funding: $400 million

SENATE: National Science Foundation

The Senate summary states: “National Science Foundation (NSF) Research: $1.2 billion total for NSF including: $1 billion to help America compete globally; $150 million for scientific infrastructure; and $50 million   for competitive grants to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.”


HOUSE: Department of Energy - Science

Science   Recovery funding: $2.000 billion   The House report states: “Within this amount, $400 million is included for the Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy to support high-risk, high-payoff research to accelerate the innovation cycle for both traditional and alternative energy sources and energy efficiency.”

SENATE: Department of Energy - Science

The Senate summary states: “The Department of Energy’s Science program sees $330 million for laboratory infrastructure   and construction.”


HOUSE: U.S. Geological Survey

Repair and Restoration of Science Facilities and Scientific Equipment   Recovery funding: $200 million

SENATE: U.S. Geological Survey:

No mention in the Senate summary.


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