The House has now joined the Senate in boosting the Department of Commerceís
R&D programs in 2008 appropriations with a dramatic 17.7 percent increase
of $185 million to $1.2 billion (see Table), slightly
less than the Senate increase, with large increases for both the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute of Standards
and Technology (NIST).
Both chambers have now agreed to proposed increases for NISTís intramural research
in the second year of the Presidentís American Competitiveness Initiative.
NISTís Scientific and Technical Research Services (STRS) would see its R&D
funding increase 12.8 percent to $420 million. The House would add $35 million
to an already-substantial requested increase for the normally intramural Construction
of Research Facilities (CRF) account, to fund competitively awarded extramural
construction grants. CRF R&D would more than double to $129 million in the
Both the House and the Senate would reject proposed cuts in NISTís extramural
programs. Instead of eliminating NISTís extramural Advanced Technology
Program (ATP) as requested, the House would give it $93 million, 18 percent more
than this year. The House would join the Senate in rejecting a proposal to
slash funding for the non-R&D Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership
(MEP) program by half, and instead give it $109 million, a $4 million increase.
R&D in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would
climb 9.9 percent to $585 million in the House instead of a slight requested cut
(see Table). The largest increases would go to
oceans and climate research in NOAAís Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR).
OAR R&D would climb 23 percent to $346 million; the Senate would provide even
more for these programs. The House would also establish a Climate Change Study
Committee at the National Academy of Sciences.
Commerce R&D in FY 2008 House Appropriations
July 12, the House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2008
Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill (HR 3093) providing funding for the
National Science Foundation (NSF), the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Department of Commerce.
The full House is expected to debate and approve the bill by the end of July.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has already drafted its own version (S 1745).
The House bill contains nearly $54 billion in
2008 discretionary spending for its programs, $3.2 billion more than the current
year and $2.3 billion more than the Presidentís request.
House, following the Senateís earlier actions, would give increases to the entire
range of Commerce R&D, both the intramural and extramural parts of the NIST
portfolio and also NOAA. The House would give Commerce $1.2 billion for its
R&D portfolio in 2008, an increase of $185 million or 17.7 percent that would
be slightly less than the Senateís even more generous increase (see Table).
Unlike past years, when the House would generally match the Presidentís request,
this year the House would join the Senate in endorsing the requested increases
for NISTís intramural programs but also in rejecting proposed cuts in its extramural
programs, and adding millions of dollars to NOAA.
Nearly all the Department of Commerceís R&D
portfolio comes from two very different science-oriented agencies, the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute of Standards
and Technology (NIST). Commerceís February
budget for 2008 proposed large increases for NISTís intramural programs, but sharp
cuts in NIST extramural funding and a small cut in NOAA R&D. NISTís intramural
programs would benefit from the Presidentís American Competitiveness Initiative
(ACI) that was first previewed in the 2006 State of the Union address in response
to a growing wave of concern about the state of U.S. innovation. The ACI proposes
to double funding for three key physical sciences agencies over the next decade.
NIST in Commerce is one of the three favored agencies (the others are the DOE
Office of Science, and the National Science Foundation), and received a substantial
increase in 2007 with another large increase proposed in 2008 after years of flat
or declining funding, but only for its intramural programs. The Administration
has continued to propose steep cuts in NISTís extramural programs, and in tough
budgetary times has generally proposed declining funding for NOAA R&D, whose
portfolio is oriented toward environmental R&D rather than the physical sciences.
†(For details of the Presidentís request for Commerce
R&D in FY 2008, see the March 21 AAAS R&D Funding
Update or Chapter 12 of AAAS
Report XXXII: R&D FY 2008. For details of Senate appropriations for
Commerce R&D, see the July 5 R&D Funding Update.)
intramural research would climb 12.8 percent to $420 million within the Scientific
and Technical Research and Services (STRS) account in the House plan as requested,
while construction funding for NIST research facilities would more than double
to $129 million. On the construction side, the large increase would allow for
major renovations at NISTís Boulder (CO) site, repair for aging facilities, and
continuing construction of NISTís Center for Neutron Research. But in a break
from tradition, the House would add $35 million to the normally intramural construction
account specifically for new extramural laboratory facilities grants, to be awarded
on a competitive basis to universities and other nonprofit research institutions
performing R&D related to NIST activities. The Senate bill does not contain
this provision, but would instead add $53 million to the construction account
for non-R&D extramural earmarked projects for specific performers.
a radical departure from the request and from past House appropriations, the House
would boost funding for both of NISTís extramural programs, one proposed for elimination
and the other for near-elimination. The Bush Administration once again proposes
to eliminate NISTís extramural Advanced Technology Program (ATP), as it has in
the past several budget requests, and in a repeat of past years the Senate would
save it. But although past Republican-controlled Houses have agreed to ATPís elimination,
the Democratic-controlled House would join the Senate in saving it. ATP has announced
that it will award new grants in 2007 for the first time in years, and if the
House and Senate prevail then there could be even more new awards in 2008. The
House would give ATP $93 million in 2008, 18 percent more than this year; the
Senate would give the program $100 million. Congress is also considering separate
legislation that would authorize ATP, make some policy changes, and rename it
the Technology Innovation Program (TIP). In another repeat of previous requests,
the budget would cut the non-R&D Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership
(MEP) by 56 percent down to $46 million, but the House, after agreeing with proposed
cuts in past budget seasons, would this time join the Senate in sustaining funding,
at $109 million for 2008 for a $4 million increase. MEP is a program to operate
a nationwide network of extension centers to disseminate better manufacturing
technologies to small- and medium-sized manufacturers on a cost-shared basis with
state governments and with users.
across-the-board House increases for NIST would bring the total NIST budget to
$831 million in 2008, a 23 percent increase over the current year (see Table).
NIST R&D funding would total $619 million in the House plan, a remarkable
26 percent or $128 million increase that would be $105 million more than the increase
NIST itself requested. ††††††
the NOAA side of Commerce R&D, the House would dramatically boost climate
change research to bring the NOAA R&D portfolio to $585 million in 2008, an
increase of 9.9 percent (see Table). The Houseís action is consistent with
a broader push to expand climate change research in 2008 appropriations; other
House bills would create new climate change research programs at the U.S. Geological
Survey (USGS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and elsewhere in
the Commerce-Justice-Science bill there would be large additions to NASAís support
of earth satellites, which provide crucial data and support for climate change
studies. Nearly all of the additional House dollars would go to the Climate Research
program in NOAAís Office of Atmospheric Research (OAR); the House would add $44
million to the request to bring total funding to $236 million, with most of the
additional funding going to competitively awarded research grants. Competitive
research grants for climate change research would total $172 million, up from
$126 million this year. In all, OAR R&D would climb 23 percent to $346 million.
Among ocean-related programs, the National Sea Grant College Program would hit
$58 million in the House plan, after hovering near $54 million for the last several
House bill contains an unusual provision setting aside $6 million of the NOAA
appropriations specifically for the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to establish
a Climate Change Study Committee to investigate issues related to global climate
change and to make recommendations on policy responses within two years of the
committeeís formation. Although congressionally requested NAS studies are far
from unusual, it is unusual for such a study to be funded explicitly in a billís
legal text with a specific amount. Although
the Senate takes NOAA to task for failing to fund many of the recommendations
of the Pew Ocean Commission and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, two high-level
commissions of recent years which called for a comprehensive U.S.
ocean policy, the House bill is mostly silent on ocean-related research. And although
the Senate would boost funding in oceans-related programs, the House bill would
stay closer to requested funding levels.
Figure 1. (click on the image for
Impacts of Commerce R&D
Houseís generous proposed appropriations for NIST and NOAAís R&D programs
would result in a sharp turnaround from the steady fall in Commerce R&D for
most of this decade (see Figure 1). Since 2002, the Commerce R&D budget
has declined in real terms every year; while the House and Senate appropriations
would both be big boosts, they would only bring Commerce R&D back to the 2004
funding level in real terms.
Outlook and Next Steps
full House is expected to debate and approve the Commerce-Justice-Science bill
within the next week, although final approval may be delayed by a crowded House
floor schedule. The Senate Appropriations Committee has drafted its own version,
but has not scheduled time to debate it. Congress will try to send a final version
of the bill to President Bush before the October 1 start of FY 2008. The President
has threatened to veto any 2008 appropriations bill that exceeds his request,
as the House version does by $2.3 billion, so the bill may have to go through
several rewrites and revotes before it can become law.
July 20, 2007
AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program
1200 New York Avenue,
Washington, DC 20005
AAAS R&D Web site: http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd