The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have been rushing to complete as many of the appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY) 2011 as possible in the weeks leading up to the August Congressional recess. Over the past two weeks, the committees have advanced a number of spending plans, although to date only two bills have passed the House of Representatives. No bills have yet cleared the Senate. In a typical year, the House has passed most, if not all, of the twelve appropriations bills prior to the August recess.
The following summarizes the current status of spending bills for select science agencies:
- Department of Energy: The Office of Science would receive $5.012 billion in the bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on 22 July, $108 million more than last year. Of this, $614.5 million would be directed to the Biological and Environmental Research program, an increase of $10.3 million. The House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee approved legislation that would hold funding for the Office at Science flat at $4.9 billion.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment approved a budget of $10 billion for the EPA, $271 million less than last year. This would include $855 million for Science and Technology, an increase of $9 million. The Senate has yet to act on the bill.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH): Both the full Senate committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education approved bills that would provide NIH with $32 billion, a $1 billion increase over last year.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): NOAA would be funded at $5.54 billion in the bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee on 22 July. This is the same as the budget approved by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science. Both spending plans represent a 17% increase for the agency.
- National Science Foundation (NSF): The spending plan approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on 22 July would fund NSF at $7.35 billion, $74 million less than approved by the House appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the agency. Despite this discrepancy, the spending plans of both chambers would provide an increase of more than $400 million to the agency in FY 2011. Most of this increase would go towards Research and Related Activities, which both the House and the Senate bills would fund at approximately $5.9 billion. The Education and Human Resources budget line would receive $892 million in the Senate bill, $66 million less than the House bill, but still an increase of $19 million. Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction would be funded at $155 million in the Senate versus $165 million in the House.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): The Senate Appropriations Committee approved $2.818 billion for research at USDA in FY 2011, including $1.251 billion for the Agricultural Research Service and $1.310 billion for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Within NIFA, the competitively awarded, extramural research grant program, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), would receive $310 million. This increase of nearly $48 million is comparable to the amount passed in June by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture.
- U.S. Geological Survey (USGS): The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment approved a budget of $1.15 billion for the USGS, $39 million more than FY 2010. However, the spending plan does not fully fund the agency's fixed costs, such as rent and salary increases, of $13.5 million. Despite this, USGS would be one of the few agencies in the Department of the Interior to receive a budget increase in FY 2011. The Senate has yet to act on the bill.
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