When Congress returns next week one of the major items on its agenda will be the initial drafting of the FY 2012 appropriations bills. The House and Senate authorization and appropriations committees have held hearings to review the FY 2012 request, with other hearings to be scheduled. Information on the Administration’s budget request and on selected S&T hearings is available here.
Last month the Republicans on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee released a report that highlights areas of agreement and disagreement with the Administration’s FY 2012 requests for agencies under the committee’s jurisdiction. Intended to guide the House Budget Committee in its preparation of the FY 2012 Budget Resolution that was adopted by the House on April 15, this document will also inform the appropriators.
The 38-page “Views and Estimates; Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; Fiscal Year 2012” is available here. The Republican document was signed by every Republican on the committee except for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). Also a part of this filing were the “Minority Views of the Democratic Caucus of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on the FY 2012 Budget Request,” which was signed by every Democrat on the committee with the exception of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). Individual members also submitted statements.
The following selections are from the Republican Views and Estimates on programs within the committee’s jurisdiction that are tracked by FYI:
Starting on PDF page 2, the document states “The Committee supports NASA’s FY12 budget request of $18.7 billion, the same amount appropriated by Congress for FY10 . . . . “
The document briefly discusses “serious cost and scheduling challenges” for the James Webb Space Telescope. “The most troubling aspect of this year’s request lies within the agency’s human space flight program,” the document declares.
National Science Foundation:
Starting on PDF page 4: “While supporting a robust budget request for NSF, the Committee is concerned that the levels requested exceed what is fiscally responsible in the current economic climate. Further, new and expanded Administration priorities continue to excessively divert precious research and development (R&D) funds from other worthy endeavors.” Among those program areas that the Republican committee members express concern about are “applied areas of R&D,” the Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability program, the Climate Change Technology and Education programs, a proposed new STEM program, and proposed changes to existing STEM programs.
Department of Energy
On PDF page 6: “The Committee recognizes the importance of energy technology development to America’s economic future, but has serious concerns with the overall spending and relative prioritization within the President’s budget request.”
Department of Energy: Office of Science
Starting on PDF page 6: “The Committee recognizes the unique role of the Office of Science in supporting world-class scientific research and facilities and notes its continued strong support for SC activities as a key driver of innovation and long term growth. We also recognize SC’s strong record in managing construction and operation of major scientific facilities that are delivering cutting-edge research breakthroughs in areas such as materials science and chemistry. Accordingly, we believe the Office of Science should be the top funding priority among DOE R&D programs.”
Committee Republicans express concerns about Biological and Environmental Research programs, the Fusion Energy Sciences program, and spending by the Office of Science on science education and workforce development.
Department of Energy: Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy
On PDF page 7, the committee’s Republicans call for an evaluation of the projects now receiving funding before ARPA-E receives “funding above existing levels necessary to oversee ongoing projects.”
Department of Energy: Energy Innovation Hubs
On PDF page 11: “The Administration’s proposal to double the number of Hubs is not warranted under current fiscal strains. The newly proposed hubs all replicate ongoing research in multiple DOE programs.”
National Institute of Standards and Technology: Laboratories and Construction
On PDF page 15: “As a trusted arbiter regarded for its high-quality work, maintaining strong support for the laboratories is vital to our economic security. Nevertheless, the $164 million or 32 percent increase over FY10 requested for the laboratories needs to be scrutinized to ensure that these additional funds are necessary.
“While state-of-the-art facilities are essential to the capabilities of NIST’s intramural laboratories, the Committee supports the Administration for requesting no funds for the extramural construction grant program.”
National Institute of Standards and Technology: Industrial Technology Services
On PDF page 15: “The Committee is concerned about the proposed expansion of the industrial technology services programs requested by the Administration. In particular, the Technology Innovation Program (TIP) is requested to receive a $5 million increase.”
The Republican and Democratic leaders on the House Appropriations Committee have both said that they want all twelve FY 2012 funding bills to be passed by the House by early August. Markups by the appropriations subcommittees are expected to begin about a month from now. Under the House-passed Budget Resolution, the subcommittees will have $30 billion less money to spend for FY 2012 than they had for the FY 2011 appropriations package that was just passed – more than six months into the fiscal year.