Revised Budget Information for the NSF

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June 26, 1996

Addendum to June 14 Alert re: NSF Appropriations

Today the full House considered the FY 1997 VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies appropriations bill. Two amendments affecting the NSF were adopted. The first amendment reduces all accounts in the bill by 0.4 percent and transfers the funds to veterans medical care accounts. The second amendment transfers $9.1 million from the NSF's Salary and Expenses account to the NSF research account. These changes are incorporated in a revised budget table below.

The NSF is very concerned about the reduction in salaries and expenses, as cuts in this account hamper its ability to conduct reviews and manage grants effectively. More specific arguments against the reduction are appended below.

On another matter, my earlier alert neglected to mention that the appropriations committee's $7 million cut from the NSF's request for Education and Human Resources was apportioned as follows: $5 million would be taken from undergraduate curriculum development and $2 million would be taken from graduate fellowships.

The budget request for the Division of Undergraduate Education's curriculum and laboratory development program is $66 million. A $5 million cut in curriculum development will impair DUE's ability to support a desirable number of faculty-initiated projects, many of which are focused on or involve the mathematical sciences.

These cuts have a good chance of being restored if the Senate hears from the academic community about the adverse impact they will have on the NSF's planned activities. Please consider mentioning the affected programs in your letters to your senators. Ask that funding be restored to the levels in the NSF's budget request.

Lisa Thompson, Congressional Liaison
202/234-9570, 202/462-7877 FAX,


(in millions, current dollars)                  budget     House      CNSF
                                     estimate   request     bill   Recommdtn
                             FY 95     FY 96     FY 97     FY 97     FY 97
Research and Related
   Activities                 2282      2314      2472*     2421*     2522*
Education and Human
   Resources                   612       599       619       610
Academic Research
   Infrastructure              118       100         0         0
Major Research Equipment       126        70        95        80
Salaries and Expenses          124       127       129       120
other admin. expenses           10        10        10        10
                              ----      ----      ----      ----
TOTAL, NSF                    3270      3220      3325      3241

*includes $50 million for the academic instrumentation program that was
 previously funded from the Academic Research Infrastructure account.

Additional Information On NSF's Salaries and Expenses Account

The following arguments against cuts in the NSF's Salaries and Expenses (S&E) account were provided by the Coalition for National Science Funding and may be used in your contacts with senators:

  1. Reducing NSF's S&E account would hinder the management and operation of NSF's programs, particularly the merit review decision-making process. It would seriously hurt the quality, timeliness and effectiveness of important research and education programs.

  2. NSF is already a lean operation. Since the 1980s, the NSF budget has tripled, the workload doubled, and its staffing levels have actually declined. There is no reason to increase the burden on staff.

  3. You cannot eliminate travel altogether if NSF is to function properly. On-site visits are an important part of NSF oversight of its funding. The Inspector General has noted that regular site visits to research centers and other complex NSF activities are necessary to assess and maximize performance.

  4. There has been no demonstrated reason for reducing these expenditures. The agency is not operating irresponsibly. It is not wasting funds on irrelevant activities. On the contrary, it is often viewed as a model agency, spending less than 4 percent of its budget on administration. This figure has actually declined by 2 percent in the past fifteen years.

  5. The sweetener of adding resources to research, while cutting administration, does not make sense if we cut into the agency's ability to effectively manage those additional resources. We believe this is what the amendment does and it should be opposed.

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