As both chambers of Congress prepare to bring funding bills to the floor for consideration, the White House has issued several statements of administration policy (SAP) on funding bills. Recently, the White House issued an SAP regarding H.R. 2643, the House funding bill for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, stating, “The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 2643 because, in combination with the other FY 2008 appropriations bills, it includes an irresponsible and excessive level of spending and includes other objectionable provisions.” Additional veto threats have been issued if appropriations bills continue in their current form. In a June 16 radio address, President Bush stated, “I put Democratic leaders on notice that I will veto bills with excessive levels of spending.”

As reported in the 11 June 2007 AIBS Public Policy Report, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) have held a “mark up” for the fiscal year (FY) 2008 appropriations bill. The legislation, which still must be passed by the full committee and House, would allocate $53.6 billion to the agencies that fall within the Committee’s jurisdiction. It would fund $1.9 billion in climate change initiatives and activities, $171 million over the President’s FY 2008 request. The House CJS legislation would allocate $6.509 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF). Of this amount, Research and Related Activities (R&RA) would receive about $5.14 billion and Education and Human Resources (EHR) would receive $822.6 million. The House Committee on Appropriations has announced plans to resume consideration of the CJS bill on 11 July.

On 28 June, the Senate Committee on Appropriations approved its FY 2008 funding legislation for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. According to committee documents, the measure funds “…scientific research and technology that will improve America’s ability to compete in a global economy.” If adopted, the Senate legislation would provide NSF with $6.55 billion. This is $636 million over the FY 2007 enacted amount and $124 million more than proposed in the President’s budget.

The Senate CJS appropriations bill, in its current form, allocates $44 million more than its counterpart in the House for the NSF including an additional $28 million for EHR and $16.4 million more for R&RA. Both appropriations bills (House and Senate) are above the President’s request of $6.429 billion for the NSF, including $8 million more in the House subcommittee-passed bill and $24.4 million more in the Senate committee-passed bill.

NASA would receive $17.46 billion, including $5.66 billion for science programs. The Senate Committee on Appropriations mark is $1.2 billion above the FY 2007 enacted amount, less than the current House level of $17.6 billion, and $150 million more than the President’s budget request. Additionally, science would receive $408 million more than the FY 2007 enacted level.

The current Senate proposal would provide $4.215 billion to NOAA, which is $137 million more than the FY 2007 enacted level, slightly more than the House level of $4 billion and $405 million over the President’s budget request. Within this funding, $636 million would be provided to the National Ocean Service; $927 million to the National Weather Service, $765 million to the National Marine Fisheries Service; $1 billion for satellite programs, and $439 million for research. The committee also allotted $795 million for the recommendations set forth by the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative.

 


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