FWD: NSF Authorization legislation

John Cole. (jrc@TEI.UMASS.EDU)
Thu, 16 May 1996 13:05:58 -0400

Your May 14 posting regarding NSF's authorization in the House was
forwarded to me by colleagues. I want to assure you of AAA's concern
about the issue and clarify AAA's view. Following this message is a copy
of AAA's response to numerous members who requested information on the
situation after viewing an initial posting from the LBJ School of Public
Affairs in Texas. AAA's response was more cautionary than the posting of
the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) to which you refer.
AAA forwarded COSSA's posting on the Net.

As I pointed out in the response, watching this bill is like watching a
hurricane. You closely monitor the storm, judging its strength and
direction. You don't ask people to evacuate (act) until you can predict
the hurricane's course and intensity.

Right now we are in the hurricane warning stage. AAA's response puts
anthropologists on notice that action may be necessary should the bill
gain momentum (with support from the House Appropriations Committee,
Senate Appropriations Committee, or Senate authorizing committees) and
alter from the predicted course of no or negligible impact to imminent,
major impact.

I'd like to include an additional update, too. Since the bill was
approved by the House Science Committee in April, NSF and the White House
stated publicly their opposition to the bill on May 9 and May 8

According to the letter from NSF Director Neal Lane to House Science
Committee Chair Robert Walker, NSF opposes the bill on a number of counts
(it reduces overall funding, reduces salaries and expenses that would
require elimination of 120 FTE's or 10% of the workforce, changes the
name of NSF, and reduces the number of science directorates). On the
reduction of science directorates, Lane wrote: "I am similarly opposed to
the provision reducing the number of science directorates by one --
particularly since the Committee's accompanying report once again
suggests that the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate
should be the organization eliminated. I remain opposed to any
suggestion that the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences should be
de-emphasized within the NSF portfolio. The simple elimination of a
single directorate would be viewed as a blow to the research currently
supported in that directorate."

Similarly, the President's Office of Management and Budget registered
opposition to portions of the entire bill, citing adverse impacts on
Commerce Dept. technology research programs, National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) programs, NASA programs, EPA programs,
NSF, etc. According to the statement, "objectionable elements" for NSF
include interfering "with the Foundation's ability to effectively manage
its programs through reductions in its workforce and unwarranted
organizational restructuring." OMB stated that if the bill were
presented to the President in its current form, affected agency heads
would recommend that the bill be vetoed.

Action on the bill on the House floor has been delayed until May 20.

Peggy Overbey, PhD
Director of Government Relations
American Anthropological Association
4350 N Fairfax Drive, Suite 640
(703) 528-1902, ext 3006; FAX (703) 528-3546

To: MAIL @ CSERVE *******
Subject: Re: NSF funding
Date: 5/02/96 Time: 3:15p

AAA Response to NSF Threat

Following approval of the Omnibus Civilian Science Authorization Act of
1996 (HR 3322) by the House Science Committee on April 24, hasty postings
and email regarding the impact on anthropology (and other behavioral and
social science) funding have stirred again the emotions of last year's
battle. I write to calm concerns of the immediate impact of the bill
yet, also, to alert you to the possibility of a renewed, concerted
response should the bill alter from the predicted path. This is much
like a hurricane watch.

AAA and other social science organizations have been monitoring the
situation closely. The current bill (HR 3322) is an amended version of a
previous Omnibus bill, authorizing NSF, EPA R&D, NOAA, NASA and others,
that passed the House last year and now sits in the Senate. Last year's
bill, like this year's, authorizes funds for no more than 6 scientific
directorates (NSF has 7) and, in the report accompanying the bill, urges
the NSF Director to consider eliminating the Social, Behavioral and
Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate. However, the bill leaves the
decision up to the Director and funding of SBE programs is not eliminated
in the proposed authorization funding levels.

The bill is expected to go the House floor May 9 and pass the House (as
last year's version did). It is expected to sit in the Senate (as last
year's version does) and analysts are predicting that anauthorization of
NSF will not get through Congress this year (the second and last year of
the 104th Congress).

Rep. Walker, sponsor of the bill and Chair of the House Science
Committee, who retires from Congress this year, hopes that the bill will
influence House Appropriations Committee members, who actually allocate
the funds for NSF, et.al. However, last year's bill did not influence or
affect decisionmaking in the House Appropriations Committee and we expect
that to be the same this year.

NSF, not happy with the bill because of cuts in research andeducation, a
10% layoff of personnel associated with other internal changes proposed,
is meeting with the Administration on how to respond to the bill. With
the research cuts to EPA and other programs important to the
Administration included in HR 3322, President Clinton may recommend a
veto of the bill.

If an anthropologist wants to take pen in hand at this point, he or she
would do well to write his or her Congressional delegates a positive
letter, identifying the results of his or her NSF (SBE) funded research
through the university in the Congressional members' district, and how
those results and grants have benefitted the Congressional district, the
state, and the Nation. He or she may want to express concern that any
downsizing of NSF would undercut research and knowledge development
important to the future of the Nation.

AAA will notify you if further action is needed. Thank you for your
support of anthropology at NSF.

Peggy Overbey, PhD
Government Relations
American Anthropological Association
(703) 528-3546 ext. 3006; FAX (703) 528-3546

House Appropriations Committee

Bob Livingston (R-LA-1) Chair, Committee on Appropriations
David Obey (D-WI-7), Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Appropriations

Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies (Appropriations)
(that handles NSF)

Jerry Lewis (R-CA-40), Chair
Louis Stokes (D-OH-11), Ranking Minority Member
Tom DeLay (R-TX-22)
Barbara Vucanovich (R-NV-2)
James Walsh (R-NY-25)
David Hobson (R-OH-7)
Joe Knollenberg (R-MI-11)
Rodney Frelinghysen (R-NJ-11)
Mark Neumann (R-WI-1)
Alan Mollohan (D-WV-1)
Jim Chapman (D-TX-1)
Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9)