On September 9th, the House Appropriations Committee passed their
plan for funding the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Housing and
Urban Development, and Independent Agencies in FY05. The Committee
recommended $5.47 billion for the overall budget of the National Science
Foundation. This amount represents a decrease of $111 million from
the FY04 allocation and a $278 million decrease from the President's
budget request. The Committee expressed disappointment that the NSF
submitted their budget request in a strategic plan format with the
strategic goals: 'People,' 'Tools,' and 'Ideas.' The NSF has been
instructed to prepare a traditional appropriations account structure
of greater detail, to be submitted no later than October 15, 2004.
Given the lack of a detailed budget request from the NSF, the Committee
did not made funding recommendations for all programs and directorates,
including the Geosciences Directorate or the Network for Earthquake
On September 21, 2004, the Senate Committee on Appropriations passed
the Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 Veteran's Affairs and Housing and Urban
Development and Independent Agencies Bill, S.2825. The Committee recommended
$5.7 billion for the National Science Foundation. This follows the
president's request and gives the agency a 3% increase over the current
funding level. The report states, "The Committee continues to
be supportive of the efforts achieved in the National Science Foundation
Authorization Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-368) and the pursuit of
a doubling path for NSF funding. However, due to funding constraints,
the Committee is not able to provide such funding at this time, but
will continue to pursue these efforts in the future."
The Committee rejected the administration's request to transfer the Math and Science Partnership [MSP] program to the Department of Education. According to the report, "the MSP program is an important asset in providing improved math and science education by partnering local school districts with faculty of colleges and universities." Therefore, the MSP program is recommended to receive $110 million, 38% more than requested but 21% less than current funding.
The Committee recommended $15.6 billion for NASA, flat funding from
FY04 and 4% less than requested. According to the report, "the
current Federal fiscal environment is not favorable to supporting
completely the budget NASA has presented for fiscal year 2005. The
out-year costs also seem overly optimistic at time when both the administration
and Congress are committed to reducing the Federal budget deficit.
However, steps toward laying the foundation of future NASA initiatives
must be taken in order for there to be a future for many NASA activities
once the Shuttle program is retired and the International Space Station
is completed." An additional $300 million is intended for emergency
funding of an emergency servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.
The Environmental Programs and Management account would receive
$2.3 billion under the Senate's funding plan. This is the same as
the president's budget request and a 1.3% increase over the current
enacted level. The Hazardous Substances Superfund account is slated
to receive the requested $1.4 billion, 9.7% more than the current
level. The Committee recommends $70 million for the Leaking Underground
Storage Tank Trust Fund, 7.3% less than the current level and 3.4%
less than the president's request. State and Tribal Assistance Grants
are slated to receive $3.9 billion, roughly equal to the current funding
but 20% more than the budget request. Within this account, the Clean
Water State Revolving Funds would continue the FY04 level of $1.4
billion. That's $50 million, or 3.8%, more than the budget request.
The Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund would also receive the
FY04 level $850 million as requested by the budget. The Brownfields
account would receive $140 million, 16% above the budget request at
the current enacted level.
On September 14th, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY05 Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. The bill divides a total budget of $20.2 billion amongst its constituent agencies. The Senate recommended $939.5 billion for the USGS, $1.5 million more than requested by the President. This increase of 2.1% restores the funding cut proposed by the Administration but does not meet the rate of inflation. The Senate's report cautions, "The Committee is concerned that both Department of the Interior [DOI] and administration-wide priorities, as well as the Survey's administrative changes, are being balanced on the backs of the programs disciplines that are the basis for the Survey's existence and its scientific reputation. The strength of the Survey's existing efforts in many program areas is deserving of additional support. The Committee urges that future budget requests place a stronger emphasis on the Survey's core programs, which have proven value and strong public support."
The Committee recommends $542.5 for fossil energy research and development at the Department of Energy, a decrease of $130 million or 19% below the enacted level and a decrease of $93 million or 14.6% from the budget request. Within this account, the Committee would allocate $41 million for Natural Gas Technologies, 4.7% less than current funding and 58% more than requested by the President. Petroleum - Oil Technologies would receive $31 million, a 107% increase over the $15 million requested but an 11.4% decrease from the current level. The Exploration and Production account received $13 million above the request. According to the report, "The Committee is aware of the success of the Carbon Capture Project" and has agreed to the budget request of $49 million for Carbon Sequestration research, 19.5% more than the current funding level.
More information on these programs as well as the Bureau of Land Management, Minerals Management Service, National Park Service, Smithsonian and Forest Service is available at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis108/appropsfy2005_interior.html#Senate.
On September 15th, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its Commerce, State, Justice and the Judiciary (CJSJ) Appropriations bill for FY05. The Committee recommended a $6.9 billion total budget for the Department of Commerce, a 14% increase over the budget request, a 16% increase over the FY04 enacted level, and just over a billion more than recommended by the House.
The budget recommendation for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which includes the National Weather Service, the National Ocean Service, and the Oceanic and Atmospheric Research account, are available at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis108/appropsfy2005_commerce.html#Senate.
On September 15th the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY05 spending plan for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill. The Committee recommended $61.4 billion dollars for the Department of Education, 10% more than the FY04 enacted level and 7% more than the President's request. The Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) Program would receive $200 million, $9 million or 4.5% less than requested but $51 million or 34% more than current funding. The report states, "These funds will be used to improve the performance of students in the areas of math and science by bringing math and science teachers in elementary and secondary schools together with scientists, mathematicians, and engineers to increase the teachers' subject-matter knowledge and improve their teaching skills."
More information about funding for the MSP program at the Department of Education is available on AGI's website at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis108/appropsfy2005_labor.html.
Special update prepared by Emily M. Lehr, AGI Government Affairs Program and David Millar, AGI/AAPG 2004 Fall Semester Intern.
Sources: National Science Foundation; Thomas Legislative Database;
NOAA; EPA; Greenwire; Energy and Environment Daily.
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program.
Posted October 8, 2004