Chairman Hall Statement on Passage of Science Appropriations Bill

May 10, 2012

Washington D.C. – Today, Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-TX), Chairman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology applauded passage of H.R. 5326, the Commerce/Justice/Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, which funds the Department of Commerce, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies within the Committee’s jurisdiction for the next fiscal year. The bill prioritizes funding for agencies and programs, while making tough choices and promoting fiscal constraint.  H.R. 5326 passed by a vote of 247 – 163.

Chairman Hall released the following statement:

I am pleased with the passage of the final CJS appropriations bill, and I want to commend the gentleman from Virginia, Chairman Wolf, for his continued passionate support for science and space issues in a very challenging fiscal environment. 

With regards to NASA, this legislation recognizes the budget realities that we must confront by responsibly imposing measured reductions across the agency’s portfolio.  Importantly, this bill maintains development of a new heavy-lift launch system and crew capsule.  It maintains a healthy space science enterprise, continues to support innovative aeronautics research, and funds the Administration’s commercial crew program at the authorized level of $500 million.  Our Committee will continue to provide oversight of the commercial crew program and work with Appropriators to support a program that has the best chance to succeed on schedule, with appropriate safeguards for the crew, and with the best use of taxpayer dollars.   

With regards to the National Science Foundation, the modest increase for the Foundation is appropriate, as basic research and development play a critical role in our economic success.  I strongly encourage NSF to broadly use this funding for fundamental research which keeps the United States at the leading edge of discovery, and not to blur this essential role with other initiatives that are best left to the private sector.

The bill sustains the programs of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that directly benefit our nation’s competitiveness.  The critical link between fundamental measurement science and our economic success allows NIST to innovate new ways to help U.S. companies excel within a global marketplace and create high-paying jobs. 

With respect to NOAA, I thank Chairman Wolf for his continued strong support and oversight of NOAA’s satellite programs, and for his efforts to restore balance to NOAA’s research portfolio.  The bill does this in part by redirecting the Administration’s proposed significant increases for climate science to higher priority weather research that will help to protect lives and property through improved severe weather forecasting.  This topic is important to all regions of our Nation and most recently to Northeast Texas, where an outbreak of tornadoes and severe weather in April caused significant damages to homes and property, including my home county.