Congress is expected to approve three spending bills by week's end that would grant the National Science Foundation a 2.5% bump in it's 2012 budget.
It might not sound like a lot, but a 2.5% budget boost translates to a 173-million dollar increase over this year's funds; that's 173-million dollars that the NSF can put towards everything from cancer research to education & outreach programs.
According to ScienceInsider:
It's an unexpected turn of events for the agency. Earlier this fall, the Senate passed a spending bill that would have cut NSF's budget by $161 million, and a House of Representatives spending panel this summer embraced a flat budget.
Science lobbyists are hailing the vote of confidence in basic research from Congress and applauding the efforts of Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), who chair the relevant appropriations subcommittee in the House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively. NSF officials declined to comment pending final passage of the bill.