The Senate would favor the Department of Commerceís R&D programs with a
substantial 19.5 percent increase of $204 million to $1.3 billion (see Table),
with large increases for both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
The Senate would agree with 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 13.1 percent to $421 million, while intramural Construction of
Research Facilities (CRF) R&D would jump 67 percent to $98 million after similar
increases in 2007; both Senate appropriations would be slightly more than requested.
But the Senate would reject proposed cuts in NISTís extramural programs. Once
again, the Senate would reject the Bush Administration proposal to eliminate
NISTís external Advanced Technology Program (ATP) and instead give it $100 million,
27 percent more than this year. The Senate would also reject a proposal to
slash funding for the non-R&D Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership
(MEP) program by half, and instead give it $110 million, a $5 million increase.
in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would jump 18.1
percent to $628 million in the Senate plan in contrast to a slight requested cut
(see Table). The Senate would place particular
importance on oceans and climate research in NOAAís Oceanic and Atmospheric Research
(OAR). OAR R&D would climb 32 percent to $371 million.†
Commerce R&D in FY 2008 Senate AppropriationsOn
June 28, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2008
Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill (S 1745) providing funding for the
Department of Commerce, the National Science Foundation (NSF),
and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA),
for consideration by the full Senate in July. The House has drafted its own version
of the bill for consideration by the House Appropriations Committee in July. Both
the House and Senate bills contain close to $54 billion in 2008 discretionary spending, $3 to $4 billion more than the current year
and between $2 and $3 billion more than the Presidentís request for these programs.
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.)
Senate 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 Senate
would provide $1.3 billion for Commerce R&D in 2008, an increase of $204 million
or 19.5 percent and $182 million more than the request (see Table).
Not only would the Senate endorse the requested increases for NISTís intramural
programs but it would reject proposed cuts in its extramural programs, and would
add millions of dollars to NOAA, especially for oceans and climate research and
intramural research would climb 13.1 percent to $421 million within the Scientific
and Technical Research and Services (STRS) account in the Senate plan as requested,
while construction funding for NIST research facilities would surge 67 percent
to $98 million. The large proposed increases would allow for more of everything:
there would be increases for R&D across the broad range of NIST programs,
with particular emphasis on nanotechnology research, quantum information science,
measurements and standards for climate change science, and disaster resilient
structures. 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. After a one-year moratorium
on congressional earmarks in 2007, the Senate would add an additional (non-R&D)
$53 million to the construction account for 5 construction projects well away
from NIST facilities.
a radical departure from the request, the Senate 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, but in a repeat of past years the Senate would save it
with a $100 million appropriation ($21 million more than 2007). ATP has announced
that it will award new grants in 2007 for the first time in years, and if the
Senate prevails then there could be even more new awards in 2008. 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 Senate
would once again sustain funding, at $110 million for 2008 for a $5 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 Senate increases for NIST would bring the total NIST budget to
$863 million in 2008, a 28 percent increase over the current year (see Table).
NIST R&D funding would total $595 million in the Senate plan, a 21 percent
or $104 million increase. †††††The
Senate, long a champion of NOAA programs, continues to step up to the bat with
a substantial $96 million or 18.1 percent increase for NOAA R&D in 2008 to
$628 million, in contrast to a small requested cut (see Table).
Although more than half ($53 million) of the R&D increase would be from the
addition of R&D earmarks (congressionally designated, performer-specific projects)
after an earmark-free 2007, there would still be plenty of money left over to
increase core NOAA R&D programs, especially in oceans and climate research.
in past years, 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, including a robust program of ocean-related research. The Senate
bill criticizes NOAA for requesting steep cuts in key ocean programs in the past,
and in 2008 for requesting modest increases in oceans programs only at the expense
of steep cuts in other areas. The Senate points to two commissionsí joint January
2007 Ďreport cardí giving the federal government a ďC minusĒ in progress toward
a U.S. ocean policy, with low grades for ocean-related research funding, as a
driving force behind the Senate billís increases for oceans research and related
NOAA R&D programs. In particular, the Senate calls attention to $32 million
in new funding for competitively awarded research grants programs in NOAAís Office
of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR).
Figure 1. (click on the image for
a result of the Senateís ocean priorities, OAR R&D would jump 31.8 percent
to $371 million. R&D in the National Ocean Service (NOS), more of an operational
unit rather than a research unit, would fall $14 million to $51 million in the
Senate plan, although this would be $15 million more than requested. In OAR, the
main research body for oceans research as well as climate change, atmospheric,
and weather research, climate research would receive $217 million, up dramatically
from a $193 million request. Competitive research grants for climate change research
would total $140 million, up from $126 million. Among specifically ocean-related
programs, the National Sea Grant College Program would hit $60 million in the
Senate plan, after hovering near $54 million for the last several years; the National
Undersea Research Program would receive $15 million instead of the $10 million
level in recent years; and the Ocean Exploration program would climb to $20 million,
from below $15 million in recent years. The Senate would also add new funding
of $10 million each for competitive research programs in ocean research and weather/air
quality research. Impacts of Commerce R&DThe
Senateís good news 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), but similar Senate appropriations in recent years have been chiseled
away in conference negotiations with the traditionally less-generous House. Since
2002, the Commerce R&D budget has declined in real terms every year; while
the Senate appropriation would be a big jump, it would only bring Commerce R&D
back to the 2004 funding level in real terms. Even NOAA, despite the strong endorsement
from the Senate, would still be 20 percent below the peak 2002 funding level.
Outlook and Next Steps
full Senate is expected to debate and approve the Commerce-Justice-Science bill
in July, while the House Appropriations Committee is expected to consider its
version in July, also. 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 Senate bill
does by more than $3 billion, so the bill may have a long way to go before its
funding levels become final.
July 5, 2007
AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program
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