US House subcommittee moves NSF/NASA funding bill

On April 30, the US House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce Justice, Science, and Related Agencies passed its FY15 appropriations bill. The legislation includes $51.2 billion in funds for the Department of Commerce, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies. Included in this legislation is $17.9 billion for NASA, which is almost $250 million above FY14 levels or 1.3 percent above the FY14 level.

NSF, which is funded at $7.409 billion, also received an increase in funding over FY14 levels of about $237.3 million. Within that total, the bill includes $5.98 billion for Research and Related Activities, an increase of $170 million, or 2.9 percent; $876 million for Education and Human Resources, an increase of $31 million, or 3.5 percent; and $200 million for Major Research Equipment and Construction, which is level funding.  Some programs are seeing reductions. The bill would also fund the Manufacturing Extension Program within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at $130 million, which is lower than the Administration’s Budget request and the Association of American Universities (AAU) and Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ (APLU) request of $141 million.

Within the total for NASA, the Science directorate would receive about $5.2 billion, which is $42 million, or one percent, above the FY14 level.  The bill includes $100 million to continue planning a mission to Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, for which the Administration requested just $15 million. The bill would cap construction spending for the James Webb Space Telescope at $8 billion.  

Aeronautics would be funded at $666 million, which is $100 million, or 17.7 percent, above the FY14 level.  Space Technology would receive $620 million, which is $44 million, or 7.6 percent, above the FY14 enacted level.  Additionally, the Space Grant Program at NASA is being funded at $30 million, which is $10 million below the FY14 funding level and also AAU and APLU’s request.

This bill now moves to the full House Appropriations Committee. More information is provided in the Committee’s press release here.