Federal Relations

FY12 Commerce-Justice-Science Bill Released

The House Appropriations Committee today released their FY12 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow.  The bill funds the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies.  In total, the draft legislation contains $50.2 billion in funding.  This is a reduction of $3.1 billion or 6 percent below FY11 levels, and $7.4 billion or 13 percent below the President’s request for these programs.  This total is also 3 percent below the pre-stimulus, pre-bailout level of 2008.

Bill Highlights:

Department of Commerce – The bill contains $7.1 billion for the Commerce Department – a reduction of $464 million or 6 percent below last year’s level, and $1.7 billion or 19 percent below the President’s request.  This includes funding for the following agencies:

  • Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) – The bill provides $2.7 billion for the PTO – the full amount requested by the President.  This funding is equal to the estimated amount of fees to be collected by the PTO during FY12, and is an increase of $588 million or 28 percent above FY11 enacted level.  The bill also includes language that allows PTO to keep and use any fees in excess of the estimated collected amount, subject to standard Congressional approval, and includes language requiring PTO to report on efforts to reduce the patent application backlog
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – NIST is funded at $701 million in the bill, which is $49 million below last year’s level and $300 million below the President’s request.  Within this total, important core research activities to help advance US competitiveness, innovation, and economic growth are increased by $10 million above the FY11 level.
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – The legislation contains $4.5 billion for NOAA, which is a cut of $103 million below last year’s level and $1 billion below the President’s request.  Within this total, National Weather Service operations and systems are fully funded at the requested level, and an increase of $430 million is included for the Joint Polar Satellite System weather satellite program to ensure the continuation of important weather data collection.
  • Economic Development Administration (EDA) – The bill includes $258 million in funding for the EDA – $26 million below last year’s level and $67 million below the President’s request.  This includes $5 million in grant funding to attract US jobs that have gone to other countries back into the US, and $5 million in loan guarantees to help advance innovative manufacturing technologies.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $16.8 billion in the bill, which is $1.6 billion below last year’s level and $1.9 billion below the President’s request.  This funding includes:

  • $4.5 billion for NASA Science programs, which is $431 million below FY11 enacted levels.  The bill also terminates funding for the James Webb Space Telescope.

National Science Foundation (NSF) – The legislation funds NSF at $6.9 billion, the same as last year’s level and $907 million below the President’s request.  Within this funding, NSF’s core research is increased by $43 million to enhance basic research that is critical to innovation and US economic competitiveness.

Other Provisions – The bill includes several general provisions, including:

  • A prohibition on the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees into the U.S.
  • Rescissions of over $1 billion in unobligated balances left over from previous years
  • A prohibition on NASA or the Office of Science and Technology Policy from engaging in bilateral activities with China unless authorized by Congress.