On June 7, the full House Appropriations Committee marked up H.R.
4635, the FY 2001 VA/HUD appropriations bill. Under the bill,
NASA would receive $13,713.6 million, an increase of 0.8 percent
over the agency’s FY 2000 budget, but 2.3 percent less than the
Administration’s FY 2001 request. Below are the Committee’s
recommendations for selected accounts within NASA, and related
quotes from its report (H. Rpt. 106-674). Space science and life
and microgravity science would see substantial increases over
current funding. The human space flight account would increase
by 0.2 percent as requested, while Earth science funding would
drop by 2.6 percent, also as requested.

HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT: This account would receive $5,499.9 million,
equal to the budget request and $12.0 million (0.2%) more than FY
2000 funding. The report states, “This appropriation provides
for human space flight activities, including development of the
international space station and operation of the space shuttle.
This account also includes support of planned cooperative
activities with Russia, upgrades to the performance and safety of
the space shuttle, and required construction projects in direct
support of the space station and space shuttle programs.”

SPACE SCIENCE: This account would receive $2,378.8 million. This
is $20.0 million (0.8%) less than the request, but $186.0 million
(8.5%) over current funding. According to the report, “The
Committee notes that the ‘Living with a Star’ program is a new
start in fiscal year 2001, and while the cost is initially quite
low, the costs escalate rapidly to $64,000,000 in 2002 and
balloon to $177,000,000 by 2005. The Committee is concerned with
the manner in which NASA is administering the program and
believes the NASA Inspector General should review the program at
this time to ensure that contract awards are made only after full
and open competition. Pending completion of this review, the
Committee recommends no funding for the program in fiscal year

would provide $329.0 million for this account. This is $25.0
million (8.2%) greater than requested, and $54.3 million (19.8%)
greater than current funding. According to the report, “The
increase is for NASA to fund ground-based investigators to
prepare for space flight opportunities, particularly in the area
of life sciences. The Committee has previously expressed concern
for a lack of dedicated life and microgravity research missions
being flown on shuttle during assembly of the International Space
Station. The lack of manifested flight opportunities, along with
schedule delays in station assembly, is making research flight
opportunities both unpredictable and unreliable. The lack of
flight opportunities is not only leading to a backlog of critical
research, but is also having harmful effects on the long-term
health of the academic and commercial communities who are
intended to be the primary users of the space station.” The
Committee calls for a report by January 2001 describing
microgravity and life science research opportunities on the
shuttle until the space station reaches full capability.

EARTH SCIENCES: The Committee recommendation for this account is
$1,405.8 million, equal to the request. This amount is $37.6
million (2.6%) less than FY 2000 funding. “The Committee is
aware of the need for NASA to obtain global wind profile data to
improve the understanding of the climate. The Committee
encourages NASA to obtain this data through purchase from
commercial sources.”

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS: This account would receive $105.4 million, an
increase of $5.4 million (5.4%) over the request. The additional
$5.4 million is designated for the EPSCoR program, returning it
to the FY 2000 funding level of $10.0 million.

GENERAL PROVISIONS: The report includes a provision prohibiting
“the expenditure of funds for joint NASA and Air Force research
programs. The Committee directs NASA to terminate all joint
aeronautics and space related research programs with the United
States Air Force. In addition, the Committee directs NASA to
terminate participation with the AF-NASA Council on Aeronautics
and the AFSPC-NRO-NASA Partnership Council.”

RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS: The report contains several paragraphs
addressing “continuing concerns within the research community
about NASA support for Research and Analysis (R&A) activities.”
It states, “The Research and Analysis program contributes
directly to NASA’s mandate to engage in effective science and
provides the clear scientific goals and questions which define
our nation’s space exploration missions. The Committee is
concerned that shortfalls in R&A degrade the public return from
more visible and expensive flight programs, while diminishing
science capability, flexibility and overall competitiveness
within space science and technology fields. Program support
costs and internal ‘taxes’ are also eroding the very marginal
increases in these accounts.” The report chides NASA for not
“enthusiastically” embracing 1998 NRC recommendations for
strengthening research and data analysis, “despite their clear
potential for improving the effectiveness of NASA’s flight
programs…” Thus the Committee “directs NASA to conduct a joint
study with the National Research Council and the National Academy
of Public Administration on the health and resilience of R&A and
DA,” to include “specific guidance on optimal funding levels,”
due by March 2001.

under the section providing funding for the White House Office of
Science and Technology Policy, the committee included language
addressing concerns over restrictive satellite technology export
regulations, which affect some NASA and university-based
research: “Public Law 105-261 transferred responsibility for
satellite technology export licensing from the Department of
Commerce to the Department of State as part of the International
Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). An unfortunate and
unintended consequence of that move has been that university-
based fundamental science and engineering research, widely
disseminated and unclassified, has become subject to overly
restrictive and inconsistent ITAR direction. The result has been
critical delays in NASA-funded research projects and has forced
some universities to forego participation in such projects. Such
research traditionally has been excluded from export controls
under the fundamental research exception. The Committee finds
the current situation to be unacceptable and directs the Office
of Science and Technology Policy Director, in consultation with
the NASA Administrator and the Secretary of State, to
expeditiously issue clarification of ITAR that ensures that
university collaborations and exchanges vital to the continued
success of federally-funded research are allowed to continue in a
manner consistent with the long-standing fundamental research

Audrey T. Leath
Public Information Division
The American Institute of Physics
(301) 209-3094