The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations has approved a spending plan for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for fiscal year (FY) 2010, which begins on 1 October 2009. On 4 June 2009, the subcommittee approved a $64.4 billion spending package for the Departments of Commerce and Justice and several independent agencies. Included in the appropriations plan is $6.937 billion for NSF, just under a 7 percent increase from FY 2009. The panel recommends providing NSF with $108.5 million less than the President’s budget request, with most of the reduction coming from NSF’s research budget. Funding for major research equipment and facilities construction would receive $3 million less than the President requested. Education and Human Resources programs at NSF would receive $5.1 million more than requested, putting the Directorate at $862.9 million.

NOAA would receive $4.6 billion, an increase of $129.1 million over the President’s budget request of $4.5 billion. If enacted as proposed by the subcommittee, NOAA would receive roughly a 5 percent bump from their FY 2009 funding level. Some of the new funding would be utilized to establish a new National Climate Service to provide and coordinate regional and national climate data.

Subcommittee Chairman Alan Mollohan (D-WV) saw the value of increasing funding for NOAA. “The Subcommittee heard testimony that NOAA research is not markedly different or less important than other science disciplines supported by NSF and NIST, and there was little reason that NOAA research activities not be considered in the context of the doubling path envisioned in the COMPETES Act. These investments are critical as our Nation establishes a National Climate Service.”

Other science agencies were less fortunate. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Institute of Science and Technology would receive less funding than requested in the President’s budget, reductions of $482.7 million and $24.6 million, respectively. However, even at these levels, the agencies would receive more funding than in FY 2009.

The Subcommittee was the first of the twelve House Appropriations subcommittees to act on the FY 2010 budget. The funding levels approved may still change as they are considered by the whole Appropriations Committee, the House of Representatives, and ultimately reconciled with Senate appropriations legislation. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet begun marking-up the 2010 budget.

 


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