Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives yesterday approved a package of spending bills that include money for a range of science programs and President Barack Obama is likely to sign it into law today. The bill includes some good news for research efforts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and mixed results for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Science Insider has been reporting on pieces of the so-called “minibus”—an appropriations bill that consolidates $182 billion in spending by five departments (Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development) and a number of independent agencies, including the National Science Foundation. The minibus moniker is a play on the “omnibus” tag used when Congress consolidates all 12 annual appropriations bills into a single package.
Yesterday, the House approved the minibus bill (H.R. 2112) on a vote of 298-121, and Senate followed suit hours later by a vote of 70-30.
Although researchers were bracing for cuts, both NIST and USDA’s major competitive research initiative emerged relatively unscathed.
- NIST: The bill grants NIST part of its wish for more money for core research programs, but the boost came with some strings attached. Lawmakers want nearly one-half of the $60 million increase, to $567 million, spent on two cybersecurity programs: a$10 million Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, championed by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and $16.5 million to implement National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, released by the White House in early 2011.