I am posting this message on behalf of the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences:
There is a great deal of activity on Capitol Hill right now, and I want to give you an update. In Monday's newsletter, I wrote articles about two bills affecting NSF funding (see links below). Here's additional information on the two bills:
1. House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill: The bill as introduced and reported out of subcommittee seemed to provide some protection for the NSF Directorates. Since it did not provide funding at the Directorate level, the bill made it more difficult for Members of Congress to offer amendments in Committee or on the House floor to decrease
funding for the Social, Behavioral and Economic (SBE) Sciences Directorate (or any
others for that matter).
HOWEVER, yesterday morning, the Subcommittee released a report that accompanies the bill. It provides specific instructions to NSF regarding how they should spend the research funds. The instructions specify minimum spending for 4 research directorates (MPS, CISE, BIO, ENG) as well as three offices. The funds that remain in the research account will not cover even current funding for the SBE and Geosciences Directorates, requiring over a $250 million cut to these research Directorates. I am not sure how the NSF Director would divide the cut between the two research directorates, but any cut is significant for SBE since it is currently funded at only $272 million dollars. The Geosciences funding level is much higher at $1.3 billion, but important research will be lost here as well.
Yesterday, we worked on a letter, which was sent to the House Appropriations Committee last night. That Committee will be marking up the bill this morning at 10:30am. For those who want to watch the Committee webcast, here's the link: http://appropriations.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=394207. (Note: Multiple agencies are funded in this bill, so you will hear amendments related to the Department of Justice, Department of Energy, and others).
2. The America COMPETES bill which reauthorizes NSF programs will be on the House
floor today for a vote. The bill cuts authorized funding for the SBE Directorate by 55%.
Geosciences is cut by 8% and the Education and Human Resources Directorate is flat-
funded. If you want to multi-task (I'll be doing it!), you can likely watch the vote on the
web at house.gov or on C-SPAN. (Note: The House will be taking up another bill today,
and I think the America COMPETES is second.)
We have done all we can do to change the course on these bills. We'll keep working on the CJS bill as it comes to the House floor for a vote -- and we'll turn our attention to better bills in the Senate (which we have already started working on).