House Approps Panel Approves Funding Boosts for NSF, NIST

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS), and Related Agencies approved by voice vote a $71.4 billion funding bill for fiscal year 2021.  The funding total under the legislation is $1.7 billion lower than the enacted FY2020 level.  The bill will now head to the full House Appropriations Committee for a markup.

The bill appropriates $1.04 billion for NIST – up from the $718 million requested by the White House earlier this year.  That total includes $153 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, and $789 million for core NIST research activities “to help advance U.S. competitiveness, economic growth, cybersecurity, and other important efforts.”

The legislation also funds the FBI at $9.7 billion for salaries and expenses—a $235.4 million bump from FY2020. The subcommittee said the increase is critical for the FBI to continue to address cybercrime and cyberthreats, foreign intelligence, human trafficking, and background checks. The bill funds the Department of Justice (DOJ) at $33.2 billion, an increase over the White House’s requested $31.7 billion.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is looking at a $270 million increase above the FY2020 budget level – for a total of $8.55 billion – to be used toward, among other areas, research on AI, quantum information science, advanced manufacturing, physics, mathematics, cybersecurity, neuroscience, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. The bill also includes $22.63 billion for NASA, $126 million of which is geared toward STEM engagement—a $6 million increase over FY2020 levels. The White House originally requested $7.7 billion and $25.2 billion for NSF and NASA, respectively.

“As we confront the twin crises of coronavirus and systemic racism, the American people are demanding action to build safer and stronger communities for all people,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. said. “The fiscal year 2021 CJS appropriations bill recognizes and acts on the urgent need for meaningful police reform, racial justice, and the defense of civil rights for every American.”

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