Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill easily passes committee

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In a bipartisan effort, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies unanimously passed their Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 appropriations bill allocating a total of $51.2 billion. This bill appropriates $1 billion more than the White House budget request, but $398 million less than the FY 2014 enacted budget.

The committee appropriated roughly $7.3 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF), which matches the President’s requested level and is $83 million more than the FY 2014 enacted level. However, the committee disagreed with the President’s request to decrease funding for NASA and instead appropriated $439 million more for a total NASA budget of $17.9 billion. The committee judged Mars exploration, the Space Launch System, and the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle to be priorities and agreed that the President’s budget provides insufficient resources.

The committee allocated more than $5.4 billion to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is an increase over last year’s enacted level, but is more than $68 million below the President’s request. In the bill the NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) receives more than $950 million. The committee believes that NWS programs provide essential weather forecasts that make the nation safer and help the economy.

The committee appropriated roughly $900 million to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and around $5.6 million to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), both of which are funded at the level requested.

The bill will next be brought to the full Senate for consideration.

Source: Senate Committee on Appropriations