Fiscal Year 2000 Appropriation

October 18, 1999

By a vote of 93-5, the Senate passed the final version of the "Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act" for Fiscal Year 2000 on October 15. This legislation includes funding for the VA, HUD, the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, national service as well as the U.S. National Science Foundation. The House passed the compromise bill on October 14. The president has indicated that he will sign the bill.

The conference report provides NSF with a total budget of $3.912 billion, an increase of $240 million or 7% over the FY 1999 appropriation. For the Research and Related Activities account, the conferees have agreed to provide a total of $2.966 billion — nearly $200 million or 7% over the FY 1999 level. Within this account, the conferees provided $90 million for the Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering (CISE) directorate for "individual and team research projects related to information technologies, specifically in the areas recommended in the PITAC report and in H.R. 2086." HR 2086 is the "Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act," reported by the House Science Committee on June 9, 1999.

The conference report also provides $50 million for biocomplexity; $60 million for the plant genome program; and $25 million to support Arctic logistics. The conference report directs NSF to develop a multi-year, multi-agency plan for the implementation of joint United-States Japan Arctic research activities and to provide $5 million within available funds for logistical activities in support of US-Japan international research activities related to global change. The conferees included bill language that limits NSF support for internet domain registration — a provision similar to the one included in last year's appropriations bill and consistent with National Science Board policy. In addition, the conferees agreed to the Senate's proposal to include buy/build America language concerning the future acquisition of a research vessel with icebreaking capability.

Also within the Research and Related Activities account, NSF is encouraged to consider providing from available funds up to $3 million for the Civilian Research and Development Foundation. The report provides no funding, without prejudice for the NSF Opportunity Fund in FY 2000. NSF is directed also to provide up to $5 million for the National Oceanographic Partnership Program and to explore the feasibility of establishing a multi-disciplinary research program that will estimate the benefits and costs of gambling. Language commending NSF for its support of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory is also included.

For the Major Research Equipment account, the conferees agreed to provide $95 million, $10 million above the request. The additional funds are for initial steps towards the acquisition of a high-altitude research aircraft. Within the conference agreement $36 million is provided for the terascale computing system, identical to the request and in addition to the $90 million provided for information technology research in the Research and Related Activities account. Also included in the conference agreement are the funds requested for the Large Hadron Collider, the Millimeter Array, the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, polar aircraft upgrades, and South Pole Station modernization.

For Education and Human Resources, the conferees agreed to provide $696.6 million, a $34.6 million increase over the FY 1999 level. Within this account the conferees have agreed to provide a total of $55 million for EPSCoR and $10 million for a new innovation partnership effort. The conferees direct that funds for these two efforts be combined in a single program office within the Education and Human Resources account, under the direct supervision of the director's office. According to the conference language, the new office should examine means of helping non-EPSCoR institutions receiving among the least federal research funding expand their research capacity and competitiveness. The new innovation partnership office is expected to work with Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) to insure access to advanced networking and computing activities for rural and insular areas with research institutions and to coordinate with all other research directorates.

Also within the Education and Human Resources account, $46 million is provided for informal science education (the level requested) and $10 million to support undergraduate activities at historically Black colleges and universities — of which $8 million is from the education account and $2 million is to be provided from the research account.

For both the Education and Human Resources and the Research and Related Activities accounts, the conferees included language directing NSF to use any remaining additional funds — except where specified in the conference report — to be distributed proportionately and equitably across the directorates, consistent with the ratio of the budget request level above the FY 1999 funding level.

The Salaries and Expenses account is funded at the level of $149 million. The conference report directs NSF to fund program travel only from within the Salaries and Expenses account and to improve its oversight activity of its many programs using available funds from this account. The Office of Inspector General is funded at the level of $5.45 million. Both account levels are equal to the budget request.

Please see the table below for details. Numbers are presented in millions of dollars. 

NSF Account

FY 1999 Level  ($)

FY 2000 Request ($)

FY 2000 House Appropriation ($)

FY 2000 Senate Appropriation ($)

FY 2000 Final ($)

Research and Related Activities






Major Research Equipment






Education and Human Resources






Salaries and Expenses






Office of Inspector General












Totals may not add due to rounding.