WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) released the following statement today on the portion of the Omnibus Appropriations bill dealing with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):

“I’m very pleased with the appropriations for NSF and NASA.  The bill and statement of managers language reflect the strong working relationship between the Science and Appropriations committees.  My colleague, neighbor and friend VA-HUD Subcommittee Chairman Jim Walsh (R-NY) is to be congratulated for once again being sympathetic to the needs of science at a time of budget stringency.  Obviously, we did not get everything we had sought, but that is par for the course in any legislative process — and we did better than par.

“The most recent good economic news – the 8.2 percent quarterly jump in the Gross Domestic Product – is largely the result of prior investments our nation has made in education and research.  We need to continue to make such investments to provide a solid foundation for future economic advances.

“The appropriations bill recognizes the importance of NSF to our scientific enterprise and future economic health, increasing the agency’s budget by about 5 percent to its highest level ever.  We will continue to push for an even faster rate of growth, in line with the NSF Authorization Act, which calls for doubling the agency over five years.  But in the meantime, NSF will continue to grow and prosper.  I am especially pleased to see increases for important education initiatives that I have pushed, including the President’s Math and Science Partnerships, the Noyce Scholarship Program, and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Talent Expansion (STEP, or Tech Talent) program.

“The bill also takes an appropriately measured approach with NASA, providing some increased funding, emphasizing safety, recognizing the need to fund the full range of NASA programs, and moving ahead cautiously with new program requests.  I am especially pleased with the language accompanying the bill that echoes the statements Ranking Member Ralph Hall (D-TX) and I have made regarding the Orbital Space Plane and other aspects of the human space flight program.  Like the Science Committee, the Appropriations Committee is emphasizing the need to comply fully with the Columbia Accident Investigation Board’s recommendations and the need to have a better sense of the cost and purpose of the Orbital Space Plane before moving too far ahead with that project.”