National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Political Science Program  funds an array of political science research on citizenship, government, and politics, including in subfields such as American government and politics, comparative government and politics, international relations, political behavior, political economy, and political institutions. In addition, the Political Science Program has supported undergraduate research and methodological innovations in the field. The NSF also funds multidisciplinary research projects.

FY19 NSF Appropriations
The Presidential Budget Request for the 2019 fiscal year maintained essentially flat funding  at $7.47 billion for the National Science Foundation from FY17 enacted levels.The FY19 budget request initially proposed a $2.2 billion cut to NSF funding. However, the cut was negated in an addendum from the Office of Management and Budget that adjusted the proposals in light of the recently passed legislation that raised budget caps.The request, while flat from FY17, was released prior to the passage of the FY18 omnibus bill, which increased FY18 funding to $7.767 billion. 

On May 17, 2018 The House Appropriations Committee approved the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill, including funding for the NSF. The bill includes $8.2 billion for the NSF overall and $6.7 billion for research and related activities, a $408 million and $317 million increase, respectively, over FY18 enacted levels of funding. 

On June 14, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies FY19 funding bill (S.3072). The bill includes $8.1 billion for the National Science Foundation overall, a 3.9 percent increase from FY18 funding levels. The bill would allocate $6.6 billion for research and related activities, a 3.5 percent increase from FY18.

FY18 NSF Appropriations

On March 23, 2018 President Trump signed an FY18 omnibus spending bill (H.R. 1625). The National Science Foundation’s budget was increased overall by nearly 4 percent from FY17, to $7.767 billion. The Research and Related Activities account was funded at $6.334 billion.

On July 27, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations legislation (S.1662). The bill allocates the National Science Foundation $7.31 billion for FY18, a 2.2 percent overall decrease from the current fiscal year. The Senate bill includes a 1.9 percent cut to funding for research and related activities. In contrast, the House Appropriations Committee's corresponding legislation holds flat the NSF's budget for research. 

On July 13, 2017, the House Appropriations Committee approved funding legislation (H.R. 3267) for the NSF and other agencies. The legislation provides 7.34 billion dollars for the NSF, a decrease of $133 million from the current fiscal year. However, the bill holds flat the allocated budget for research and related activities at $6 billion. Overall, the subcommittee approved funding for the NSF at a higher level than the presidential budget request, which included $5.4 billion for research. 

On May 23, 2017 the White House released the FY18 presidential budget request. The president’s budget reduces funding for the National Science Foundation by about 11 percent overall and at approximately 10.6 percent for research and development (compared to FY 2016 enacted levels) at the independent agency. The budget proposes cuts to all directorates within NSF, starting at a 7.1 percent cut for the Biological Sciences directorate and including a 10.4 percent cut to the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) directorate. The NSF's requested FY18 overall budget is $6.653 billion, including $5.361 billion for research and related activities, and $244.02 million for the SBE directorate.

The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act

On December 10, 2016 the Senate passed the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act  (S.3084), which addresses support for federal science research. The House of Representatives passed the bill under suspension of the rules during a pro forma session on December 16. The compromise bill follows a previous version in the Senate and a bill in the House that would have authorized appropriations for the National Science Foundation. The earlier version of S. 3084 that passed the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee in June included a four percent increase in NSF authorizations from FY 2017 ($7.51 billion) to FY 2018 ($7.81 billion). The bill also included language supporting the NSF’s merit review process. In contrast, the America COMPETES Act ( H.R. 1806), which passed the House in May 2015, included directorate-specific authorization levels, with heavy cuts to the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences directorate. The compromise bill that passed this December did not include authorization levels. It retained language supporting the NSF merit review process. Authorization for the NSF expired in 2013.


APSA Action

APSA is a member of the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) and the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF). Each year, APSA participates in COSSA's Advocacy Day, which brings scholars to Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of political science research and express support for strong funding for the National Science Foundation. Other recent activities include:

NSF Appropriations Committees
NSF Authorizing Committees
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