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AAAS R&D Analysis
Focuses on DOE Funding
The AAAS Update on FY 2003 Appropriations for Federal R&D reports that the US House of Representatives would provide flat or declining funding for the US Department of Energy's investments in high energy physics, fusion, basic energy sciences, and biological and environmental research.
Overall, however, the House would provide a modest 2.1 percent increase for research and development for the federal energy department (DOE) in FY 2003, bringing its total R&D budget to $8.5 billion. As it stands, the appropriations bill would increase spending for energy R&D by 7.5 percent and for defense R&D by 2.0 percent). There would be a 0.3 percent cut in funding for the DOE's Office of Science, leaving a total of $3 billion, with only computing research and nuclear physics proposed for increases.
"What this says is that the House does not have enough money to spread around for science," says Kei Koizumi, director of the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program. "If you look at the language in the bill, it is very supportive of the science programs, but the words clash with the amount of money they are willing to appropriate for these programs."
The AAAS report notes that it is unlikely that the DOE budget will reach the floor in the House before the November elections, and points out that the entire FY 2003 appropriations process is dragging on Capitol Hill.
President Bush has signed a continuing resolution that provides funding at FY2002 levels until Congress acts. For the moment, Koizumi says, the AAAS analysis of R&D funding that was prepared in August is still current. The Senate has proposed boosting the defense department research and development budget by 15.7 percent, or $7.8 billion, for a total of $57 billion, lifting funding for the department over its peak FY 1987 high.
Non-defense R&D agencies, other than the National Institutes of Health (NIH), would together receive a 4 percent increase to $30 billion, or $1.1 billion over FY 2002. The National Science Foundation (NSF) would begin to benefit this year from a plan to double the research agency's budget. The Senate would provide it with an 11.9 increase to $3.9 billion in FY 2003. The AAAS report notes, however, that the Bush Administration, with the support of House Republicans, has threatened to enforce a spending limit, which could decrease funding for non-defense R&D.
4 October 2002