NSF Spending Bill Advances in Senate

June 29, 2018

On June 14, the Senate Appropriations Committee marked up the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill, which includes funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), among other federal agencies and programs.

The Senate CJS Appropriations bill includes $8.1 billion in funding for NSF for FY19, $301 million above the enacted FY18 level, and $597 million above the administration’s original request for NSF for FY19.

The Senate bill specifically includes $6.6 billion for the Research and Related Activities (R&RA) line, which funds six research directorates, excluding the Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate. The R&RA increase represents a 3.5 percent increase over the enacted FY18 levels. The Senate bill also includes $915 million for the Education and Human Resources (EHR) directorate, a $13 million or 1.4 percent increase over enacted FY18 levels.

The report language accompanying the bill gives FABBS reason to be optimistic that funding for basic, core research conducted by all directorates will continue to be preserved as NSF moves forward with its “Big Ideas” in 2019:

“The Committee is supportive of NSF using its position as the lead Federal agency in supporting basic research in all fundamental science areas and expects that as NSF uses the 10 Big Ideas as a focusing tool, the funding for the fundamental scientific disciplines will be maintained. The Committee has provided significant funding above the amount provided in fiscal year 2018 and also above the amount requested in fiscal year 2019. Therefore, NSF shall maintain its core research at levels not less than those provided in fiscal year 2017.

While the Senate Appropriations CJS bill represents an increase from enacted FY18 levels, the proposed House Appropriations CJS bill would fund NSF and its R&RA account at slightly higher levels for FY19 ($8.2 billion and $6.7 billion, respectively). FABBS has joined other organizations in a Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) letter thanking the Senate Appropriations Committee for providing an increase in NSF funding.