Taxacom US Members: NSF Funding

James H. Beach jbeach at NSF.GOV
Thu Apr 18 11:47:39 CDT 1996

This article is about the FY 1997 US Federal Governement NSF Budget
process.  It is worth reading, especially down to the last sentence.

Dr. James H. Beach                                 Tel:   703 306-1470
Program Director                                   Fax:   703 306-0356
Database Activities, Room 615                   E-mail: jbeach at
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 96 09:35:34 EST
From: tquarles at
To: birpd at
Subject: FYI #65 - FY 97 NSF Outlook

The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News
Number 65: April 16, 1996

Uncertain Waters: National Science Foundation Outlook

"The differences in discretionary spending between Congress and the
White House are so large it is likely that the struggle with FY 96
appropriations may pale when compared to the battle for FY 97
  -- House Budget Committee staff memo to the House leadership

It will not be until around Memorial Day that the outline of the FY
1997 appropriation for the National Science Foundation comes into
focus.  A pre-recess hearing of the House Subcommittee on Basic
Research on NSF gives early warning that the foundation's budget
request for the next fiscal year may encounter some static.

NSF Director Neal Lane and Deputy Director Anne Petersen were the
only witnesses at this hearing on the FY 1997 NSF Authorization.
Lane discussed the foundation's over-all budget increase request of
4.6%, the 8.7% increase sought for Research and Related Activities
spending, and the proposed termination of the Academic Research
Infrastructure Program.

Subcommittee members were almost uniformly complimentary toward the
foundation.  Chairman Steven Schiff (R-NM) said his questions did
not amount to "serious criticism," asking about the Academic
Research Infrastructure Program.  He also referenced a subcommittee
staff chart showing deeper cuts in discretionary spending under the
administration's budget projections in future years, asking how it
would affect future NSF spending.  Schiff asked about a report that
the foundation was considering providing money for a proposed
fictionalized television show about scientists.  "I would...offer
a caution" about such funding, Schiff said.

Rep. Bill Baker (R-CA) was much more combative.  He charged the
administration's proposed increase in the NSF budget was an
"election year blip." Looking at the staff chart and the
administration's projected cuts in over-all discretionary spending,
Baker said "after four years, you really go in the toilet."  He
pressed Lane to "take the blip" out, saying "the rest of the House
is not going to let us do it."  His pleas to Lane were ineffectual,
Lane saying it would be "irresponsible" of him to suggest
reductions in science and technology spending.  To which Baker
replied, if NSF funding is going to be a partisan issue, he would
"wave" the proposed television show "like a bloody shirt."

The House VA, HUD Appropriations Subcommittee intends to finish
work on its FY 1997 bill by Memorial Day.  It is predicted, as the
above quotation from the House Budget Committee staff memo warns,
that this is going to be another difficult year.  A remark made by
Chairman Schiff at the beginning of his hearing is worth repeating:
"The science community is going to have to make its voice heard if
it is going to be treated fairly."

Richard M. Jones
Public Information Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi at
(301) 209-3095

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