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AAS Informational Email 2008-10
Marcos Huerta, John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow
huerta at

Last week, the House of Representatives and the White House reached a compromise supplemental funding bill that includes money for science. If this becomes law, it is a major victory for science groups, as the debate about the supplemental has focused on a variety of issues including education benefits for veterans, general controversy surrounding war funding, and presidential veto threats over the amount of domestic spending in the bill.

The supplemental adds money to the previously enacted FY 2008 budget. We are over halfway through the 2008 fiscal year which runs from October 1, 2007 through September 31, 2008. An earlier Senate version of the Supplemental added $150 million each to the three agencies - NASA, NSF, and DOE Office of Science. The compromise bill reduces that by over half to $62.5 million each.

Specifically, the legislation includes money for NASA, NSF, and DOE Office of Science:

* NASA - The amended bill includes $62,500,000 for Science, Aeronautics and Exploration. Nasa's Science Mission Directorate's FY 2008 enacted budget was $4.44 billion.

* NSF - Research and Related Activities - The amended bill includes $22.5 Million for "Research and Related Activities". $5 million is tagged for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCOR. This is added to a Research and Related Activities FY 2008 appropriation of $4.8 billion.

* NSF - Education And Human Resources - $40,000,000 for Education and Related Activities for the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, the purpose of which is to "to develop and implement a program to encourage top college juniors and seniors majoring in mathematics, science, and engineering at the grantee's institution to become mathematics and science teachers. This is on top of a Education and Related Activities appropriation of $725.6 million.

* Department of Energy Office of Science - An additional $62,500,000 for Science. From the language of the bill - "The Department of Energy is instructed to utilize this funding to eliminate all furloughs and reductions in force which are a direct result of budgetary constraints." The FY 2008 appropriation was $4.72 billion.

The bill passed the House last week and still must be considered in the Senate and passed there before becoming law. You can see the text of the amendments at the Government Printing Office (PDF) view of the Congressional Record: