Alert to APS Membership - October 4, 2011

Funding Cuts to NSF, NIST: Immediate Action Required


IMMEDIATE Action Required

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Contact your Senators immediately to emphasize the devastating impact on American science, innovation and economic growth the Senate plan would cause. To assist you in framing your message, we have provided pre-written messages to your senators and representative, which you should personalize or rewrite as you deem appropriate.
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Issue in Brief

The Senate Appropriations Committee has proposed cuts to both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in its FY 2012 budget for Commerce, Justice and Science agencies.

Details

In a September 15 markup, the Committee cut spending for several science agencies in the $52.701 billion plan it approved for those portions of the FY 2012 federal budget. The science portion of the budget is $626 million, or 1.2%, below the total CJS budget for the current fiscal year, and nearly $5 billion below the president's 2012 request for those agencies. This included cuts to the NSF and NIST budgets.

Under that budget, NSF has been cut by $161,077,000, or 2.3%, from the current fiscal year.s $6.86 billion and nearly 14% below the $7.767 billion requested by the Administration.

The NIST budget was cut by $70 million, or 9.3%, to $680 million. Those cuts included elimination of funding for all new grants under its competitive construction program and trimmed construction funding to $60 million from $69.86 million in the current fiscal year; Obama proposed $84.6 million. NIST also saw the Senate panel eliminate funding for two of its programs, the Technology Innovation Program, and the Baldridge Performance Excellence Program, which promotes management among businesses, schools, and other organizations.

In order to keep activities moving forward, Senators need to hear from us that the FY 2012 NSF budget should be no lower than the FY 2011 NSF budget, the level the House Appropriations Committee has proposed.

Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Subcommittee Chair Barbara Mikulski stated that the science budget cuts were made grudgingly -- she has been an ardent supporter of NSF and NIST funding, but said that she had less to work with for the FY 2012 budget. Mikulski's subcommittee had less to spend in writing this bill. 

The total discretionary budget authority in this legislation is $52.701 billion, a reduction of $626 million or 1.2 percent from the current fiscal year. However, other areas of the CJS budget were increased. Therefore, it is important for APS members to let their Senators know that cuts to NSF and NIST budgets are damaging and that money should be found to restore them. For NSF, this means, at a minimum, matching what the House did: keeping funding at the FY2011 level.