NSF Authorization Corrected. The real scoop.

M. Brian Riley (antmbrx@GSUSGI2.GSU.EDU)
Thu, 2 May 1996 18:40:51 -0400

Patsy Evan's previous public post about the drastic cuts to NSF's social
science division for the next fiscal year is untrue. This is a letter just
forwarded to me from a reliable NSF contact concerning the 1997 NSF Social
Science Division's budget. I was not sure about the public nature of this
memo so for the protection of the sender, I have deleted their name and
address. The text follows below:

> Last week, in an often rancorous session, the House Science Committee
> marked up legislation authorizing appropriations for the National
> Last week, in an often rancorous session, the House Science Committee
> marked up legislation authorizing appropriations for the National
> Science Foundation for FY 1997. The NSF title, which is Title I in
> the Committee's Omnibus Civilian Science Authorization Act of 1996 (HR
> 3322), authorizes a total of $3.25 billion for NSF. This is $75
> million below the President's request of $3.325 billion.
> For NSF's Research and Related Activities account, the Committee
> approved a budget of $2.340 billion. This is $132 million below the
> President's request. It represents an increase of $26 million or 1%
> above the just completed FY 1996 appropriation.
> In addition to reducing the President's request for Research and
> Related Activities, the Committee also reduced the requests for
> Education and Human Resources, Major Research Equipment, and NSF's
> Salaries and Expenses. The reduction in NSF Salaries and Expenses
> amounts to a $7 million reduction below the level appropriated for the
> current year and would likely lead to major disruptions in the
> operation and management of the Foundation.
> The Committee used part of these reductions to reinstate the Academic
> Research Facilities Modernization program which had been proposed by
> the Administration for termination in FY 1997.
> In addition, the Committee's bill includes a provision that limits to
> 6 the number of directorates the Foundation may have. NSF currently
> has 7 programmatic directorates. The bill DOES NOT specify which
> directorate the Foundation should eliminate, nor does it target any
> specific discipline(s) or programs to absorb the budget reduction in
> Research and Related activities.
> The accompanying report, which provides additional information on the
> Committee's rationale for this provision, is likely to leave to NSF
> how best to reorganize to meet this mandate, should it become law.
> Nevertheless, the report is expected to suggest that NSF consider the
> social sciences directorate as a candidate for elimination. The
> report language is not as harsh as last year's, nevertheless, it is
> unwelcome at best.
> It is important to note the Committee's bill has not mandated the
> elimination of the resources, the organization, or the programs to
> support social and behavioral science at NSF. Nevertheless, the
> Committee's view of the social and behavioral sciences should be
> strongly oppposed by the Foundation. We are preparing a letter for
> the Director's signature opposing this bill which will also address
> this specific issue.
> NSF Accounts FY 1996 FY 1997 FY 1997
> Estimate Request House Bill
> Research 2314 2472 2340
> Education 599 619 600
> Aca Res Facilities 100 0 100
> Maj Res Equipment 70 95 80
> Sal and Expenses 127 129 120
> Relocation 5 5 5
> Inspec General 4 5 5
> Total, NSF 3220 3325 3250
> The bill also includes a number of important technical provisions. As
> already described, the bill limits to 6 the number of scientific
> directorates the Foundation may have. In addition, the bill includes
> an amendment offered by Rep. Joe Barton (R-T X), which was agreed to
> by the vote 23-22, to change the name of the Foundation to the
> National Science and Engineering Foundation and to change the name of
> the board to the National Science and Engineering Board. The bill
> also includes a requirement that the Office of Science and Technology
> Policy undertake a study of the indirect cost issue.
> An amendment in the nature of a substitute was offered by Rep. George
> Brown which would have restored the funding to the levels requested by
> the President. Rep. Brown's amendment was rejected on a party line
> vote 21 to 27. Rep. Bud Cramer (D-AL) also offered an amendment to
> restore funding to NSF's salaries and expenses and remove the
> limitation on the number of directorates. Instead, the Cramer
> amendment would have had NSF report back to the Committee on
> reorganization options. The Cramer amendment also lost on a party
> line vote.
> The Omnibus Civilian Science Authorization Act, which will also
> include an authorization of appropriations for NASA, NOAA, EPA, the
> National Earthquake Hazards Reduction program, and other programs, is
> scheduled for House floor action on May 9.
Brian Riley Phone: (404) 651-3302 E-Mail: << briley@gsu.edu >>
Ctr. for Applied Research in Anthropology / Georgia State University