NSF receives budget increase for fiscal 2012

Late Monday evening, a finalized conference report was released after a week of intense negotiations between members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. The “minibus” bill set FY12 spending levels for several government agencies such as agriculture, criminal justice, transportation and housing agencies and several science-funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation.

Science-funding agencies, particularly the NSF, were big winners in the final bill. Over the summer, the proposed House Commerce/Justice/Science appropriations bill held the NSF budget steady at $6.68 billion for FY12. The corresponding Senate bill proposed a reduction of $162 million for NSF, putting the FY12 budget at $6.7 billion. Many in the science and legislative communities believed the final FY12 spending level for the NSF would end up somewhere in between the two numbers. Surprisingly, in the final bill from the joint conference, the NSF received an increase of $173 million from FY11, setting the FY12 NSF budget at just over $7 billion.

Attached to the FY12 funding bill is another short-term continuing resolution that keeps the government funded until Dec. 16. Appropriations leaders hope to bring the bill to a vote by the House on Thursday, with the goal of complete passage by Friday when the current continuing resolution expires.

Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., made the following statement on the conference report:

“The legislation introduced today represents a bipartisan compromise that will prevent a potential government shutdown, support important programs and services that the American people rely on, and make hard but necessary cuts to help rein in the nation’s deficit.”

Stay tuned to the ASBMB blotter for continued coverage of the FY12 appropriations process.

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