American Geological Institute

Government Affairs Program


CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ALERT

Action Now Completed (for this year!)

September 10, 1996 (Last updated October 19, 1996)

FINAL OUTCOME: Members of the House-Senate conference committee showed strong bipartisan support for the National Science Foundation, in all cases rejecting the lower numbers passed by the House in favor of the Senate numbers, which either reached or came very close to the President's request. Funding for NASA was also set at the higher Senate levels with no specific cuts to Mission to Planet Earth but a $100 million cut to the account where it is located. H.R. 3666 passed Congress on September 24 th and was signed by the President two days later. It was the last individual appropriations bill passed -- all remaining appropriations bills were folded into an omnibus package that passed on the last day of the current fiscal year. Many thanks to thos e who wrote to their congressional delegation in support of NSF and NASA's Mission to Planet Earth.

Action needed to support NSF, NASA funding (as issued 9-10-96)

A conference between members of the House and Senate will take place later this week and next week in an effort to hammer out their differences on funding levels for the National Science Foundation, NASA, EPA, and other agencies funded by H.R. 3666 -- the VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies appropriations bill. The Senate version provides greater support for NSF, more closely matching the President's request. As a result, AGI is joining with other members of the Coalition for National Science Funding to u rge the House/Senate conferees to agree to the Senate numbers for NSF funding. The Senate-passed bill also provides higher funding levels for NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. Your letters and calls to the conferees are needed to ensure that the confere es will accept the Senate's higher levels of support for NSF and NASA's MTPE.

The House version was saddled with a number of amendments that passed when it was debated on the floor. One of these amendments cut NSF funding as part of an across-the-board increase for veterans' benefits, a reminder of the popularity of programs again st which these science agencies are competing within the bill. Another successful amendment was introduced by House Science Committee Chairman Bob Walker (R-PA), shifting $9 million from the NSF Salaries and Related Expenses account to the Research and R elated Activities account. The shift is intended to bring these accounts more in line with levels authorized by H.R. 3322, The Omnibus Civilian Science Authorization bill, sponsored by Walker and passed by the House but not taken up by the Senate. NSF is widely commended as a lean agency, and the staff cuts resulting from this reduction will affect the agency's ability to distribute research funds in an efficient manner.

Overall, the Senate bill provides $3.275 billion for NSF compared to $3.253 billion in the House version. Both versions provide nearly identical funds for the Research and Related Activities account ($2.432 billion vs. $2.431 billion), but the Senate bill provides $12 million more for Education and Human Resources ($624 million vs. $612 million) and $9 million more for Salaries and Expenses ($134 million vs. $125 million).

In the case of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth, the House cut $200 million from the President's request, providing $1.2 billion, which is $87 million below last year. In the Senate, the account funding Mission to Planet Earth received a boost but is still $100 million short of the President's request. Cuts are unspecified, however, allowing NASA to determine where to make them. House VA/HUD Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) has given assurances that he would support the higher numbers in conferenc e.

The conferees will include most of the members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on VA, HUD & Independent Agencies. Please contact subcommittee chairmen Lewis and Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO) along with the other House and Senate sub committee members to express support for the Senate version. A list of likely conferees can be found below. Also contact your own representative and senators, urging them to contact the conferees (see below).

For additional information on this and other geoscience-related appropriations bills, an update is available at this site. Earlier this year, AGI provided testimony before Lewis's subc ommittee in support of geoscience funding in this bill.


Conferees on H.R. 3666

Senate Subcommittee on VA, HUD, & Independent Agencies

Republicans (6)				Democrats (5)
(in order of seniority)			(in order of seniority)

Christopher Bond (MO), chairman		Barbara Mikulski (MD), ranking member
Phil Gramm (TX)				Patrick Leahy (VT)
Conrad Burns (MT)			J. Bennett Johnston (LA)
Ted Stevens (AK)			Frank Lautenberg (NJ)
Richard Shelby (AL)			Robert Kerrey (NE)
Robert Bennett (UT)

	Mark Hatfield (R-OR), full committee chairman
	Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), full committee ranking member

House Subcommittee on VA, HUD, & Independent Agencies

Republicans (6)				Democrats (5)
(in order of seniority)			(in order of seniority)

Jerry Lewis (CA/40th District), chairman	Louis Stokes (OH/11th District), ranking member
Tom DeLay (TX/22nd)			Alan Mollohan (WV/1st)
Barbara Vucanovich (NV/2nd)		Jim Chapman (TX/1st)
James Walsh (NY/25th)			Marcy Kaptur (OH/9th)
David Hobson (OH/7th)
Joe Knollenberg (MI/11th)
Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ/11th)
Mark Neumann (WI/1st)

Robert Livingston (R-LA/1st), (full committee chairman)
David Obey (D-WI/7th) (full committee ranking member)

Letters to the subcommittee chairmen can be sent to (attention line for envelopes only):

The Honorable Christopher Bond, Chairman
Attention: Stephen Kohashi, SD-131
Subcommittee on VA, HUD & Indpendent Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-7211 phone; (202) 228-0542 fax

The Honorable Jerry Lewis
Attention: Frank Kushing, H-143 Capitol
Subcommittee on VA, HUD & Indpendent Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
Washington DC 20515
(202) 225-3241 phone; (202) 225-3598 fax

Letters to other senators should be addressed:

The Honorable _____________
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Letters to other representatives should be addressed:

The Honorable _____________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Additional contact information is available through the Senate and House of Representatives home pages.


If you have any questions or need additional information on your senators, please contact David Applegate, AGI Government Affairs Director, at (703) 279-2480 or govt@agiweb.org.

Last updated October 19, 1996

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