NSTA Legislative Update: Senate Appropriations Committees Mark Up FY2007 Spending Bills

In the last two weeks, two Senate panels have approved bills that include increased funding for key science and math education programs in FY2007.

National Science Foundation:
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science and the full Appropriations Committee marked up their FY2007 appropriations bill for several science-related agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF). Under the Senate bill NSF will receive $5.99 billion, a 7.4% increase ($410.5 million) over the FY 2006 enacted level.

The NSF Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate, which houses most of the K-12, graduate, and undergraduate STEM education programs, will receive $835 million in the Senate bill, a 4.9% increase ($39.06 million) above FY2006. Report language in the Senate bill calls attention to the fact that the NSF education programs were not included in the Administration’s American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI). “The Committee feels that the ACI neglects the education work NSF does in support of research across the country.”

It is uncertain when this bill will come to the Senate floor for a vote.

As reported in a previous issue of NSTA Express, the House-passed FY2007 Science, State, Justice, and Commerce appropriations bill provided $6.020 billion for the NSF, the amount requested by the Administration and an increase of over $438 million above FY2006.

The Education and Human Resources Directorate received $832 million, an increase of $35 million over FY 2006 and $16 million above the President’s request.

Department of Education:
The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education Appropriations Subcommittee and the full Senate Appropriations Committee voted on their spending bill for the U.S. Department of Education programs last week.

The Senate Appropriations Committee provided $195 million for the U.S. Department of Education Math and Science Partnerships (MSP) for FY2007. Earlier this spring the House Appropriations committee funded the Department of Education MSPs at $225 million, a 23.5% increase, up from $182 million last year.

The Senate Appropriations Committee provided $5 million for the National Math Panel (House funding is $10 million), and the Math Now programs for both elementary and middle level students requested by President Bush as part of the American Competitiveness Initiative were not funded in the Senate bill. The House bill also does not fund these initiatives. The Senate also did not fund the President’s Adjunct Teacher Corps (the House provided $25 million for this program).

Math/Science Advanced Placement programs received $40 million in the Senate bill; the House Appropriations Committee funded these programs at $80 million. The President had sought $122 million to bolster this initiative.

An amendment on minimum wage is keeping both the House and Senate Labor, HHS, and Education bills from floor votes, and it is not anticipated that funding for U.S. Department of Education programs will be finalized until after the November elections.

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