Senate Passes Science Appropriations Bill

November 13, 2009

On Thursday, November 5, the Senate passed the FY2011 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill by a margin of 71-28. The Senate's version of the bill created a 6.9 percent increase in total funding for the National Science Foundation (as compared to the requested 8.5 percent increase), a 5.1 percent increase in NASA funding (equal to the requested amount) and the total funding for NIST to increase by 7.3 percent (compared to a request for a 3.3% increase.

Debate on the bill was mostly regarding NASA's human space flight program and Senator Tom Coburn's proposed amendment. Many Senators acknowledged that NASA is at a crossroads and expressed their support for the space program, citing the job creation and advancement of technology that NASA provides as invaluable to our country. Senator Coburn's amendment, which was ultimately voted down, would have prohibited the NSF from spending government funds on its political science program.

A Conference Committee is now being formed in order to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.