The National Science Foundation (NSF) could receive $7.3 billion next year if legislation approved by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees is enacted. The proposals were approved with bipartisan support last week.

A bill (S. 2323) endorsed by Senate appropriators would increase funding for NSF by $240 million, a 3.4 percent increase over the current spending level. The House Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction over NSF unanimously approved a proposal that would increase funding for NSF by $59 million more than the level proposed by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Both the versions of the legislation would direct new funding to NSF’s research directorates, which would receive a 4.5 percent increase under the House bill and a 3.4 percent bump under the Senate plan. Education funding would increase by 5.6 percent. The Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction account would remain essentially flat at the fiscal year 2012 level. Funding for agency operations and grant administration would also remain flat.

Although the $7.3 billion proposed for NSF is less than President Obama requested, the mark is notable because other agencies and programs are facing the prospect of budget cuts under the House and Senate spending plans.

“This legislation roots out extraneous, duplicative and unnecessary programs to save the taxpayers $300 million while prioritizing some of the most critical aspects of government,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) at the subcommittee mark-up of the draft bill. “Within the overall reductions, strategic increases are included for … those which promote the scientific research that will help America continue to lead the world in innovation.”

“The bill invests more than $13 billion in scientific research and high-impact research and technology development, to create new products and new jobs for the future,” Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said of the Senate bill. Mikulski is chairwoman of the Senate subcommittee responsible for drafting the appropriations bill that funds NSF.

 


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