Science Funding February 8, 2007Posted by gordonwatts in politics, science.
The continuing resolution recently made it out of the house. I was a little worried that it would not treat science well by keeping funding levels the same as they were the year before (as is often done in a CR). That turned out not to be the case, fortunately: the house did add additional funds for both the DOE’s Office of Science and also the NSF. While the funds weren’t restored to the full level of the original budget request, they are enough to avert most of the dire consequences. I’m not sure where this is in the Senate, but I hope it makes it out! BTW, check out that first link. I have no idea how the lobbyist from UW managed to decipher that and determine actual break outs. It must take a long time to read that law-speak. And I can see how things could slip in unnoticed!
The president recently sent his budget to congress. And thus we start again. I’m curious to see if congress can complete its job this time. The budget still calls for a doubling of the budgets of the NSF, DOE’s Office of Science, and NIST over 10 years. So, check this out. Bush asks for an increase of $57 billion in various discretionary accounts (science is in that bucket). But he routes almost $3.6 billion to security-related spending — which means about a 1% increase in discretionary spending: way less than inflation. In other words, an overall cut.
But science does fairly well. The key is that lots of other stuff got cut. So this could end up being a fight between science and all the other good stuff that got cut, I suppose. The NSF sees a 6.8% increase. The DOE’s Office of Science is looking at a 7% increase. Fusion science gets a large chunk of that (hmm, think that came up at dinner the other night). All of this is great — more science funding is fantastic. But now congress will argue over it, so we’ll see how things make out in the end. If Congress gets its job done, the budget bills will be passed by Oct 1st. We’ll see.