(This analysis is part of a
AAAS effort to enumerate congressionally designated, performer-specific R&D
projects not appearing in agency budget requests (earmarks) in FY 2007 appropriations
bills. The data in this analysis highlight AAAS interpretations of R&D earmarks
in House-approved appropriations. The complete series of AAAS R&D Funding
Updates, including continually updated analyses of R&D by agency in FY 2007
appropriations, is available on the AAAS
R&D Web Site (http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd) in the “FY
2007 R&D” or the “What’s New” sections.)
So far, the House has shown relative restraint in R&D earmarks in FY 2007
appropriations. The House would designate $1.1 billion for congressionally
designated, performer-specific R&D projects in FY 2007 (see Table
A and Figure 1), roughly half the record-breaking earmark total in the final
FY 2006 budget. -
But if past patterns hold, the Senate’s earmarks will be mostly different and
the final earmark total could be the House and Senate totals combined rather than
the average of the two. -
Although earmarking would continue unabated in agencies such as the Department
of Energy (DOE; $116 million), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA; $306
million), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; $30 million), the House
chose not to insert earmarked R&D projects into the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) budgets, and in DOE chose to add earmarks to the request rather than cutting
the request to make room for earmarks. -
Just three agencies (DOD, DOE, and USDA) receive 90 percent of the House’s total
R&D earmarks, while NIH, NSF, and DHS remain earmark-free. -
These earmarked projects amount to only 0.8 percent of the House’s total appropriations
for R&D, but because they are heavily concentrated they can have big impacts
on key programs. Earmarks make up 1 out of every 5 R&D dollars for USDA’s
extramural research programs.
FY 2007 R&D Earmarks in House Appropriations
By the end of June, the House of Representatives had made
considerable progress in FY 2007 appropriations for federal R&D, drafting
all 11 of its versions of the FY 2007 appropriations bills and approving 10 of
them. The Senate has drafted 6 of its bills and will try to finish the remaining
ones in July. (For full details of federal R&D so far in 2007 appropriations,
please see the July 5 AAAS R&D Funding Summary Update,
available on the AAAS R&D Web site).
The House versions of the 11 FY 2007 appropriations bills contain $1.1 billion
in R&D earmarks, down nearly half from the $2.4 billion total for R&D
earmarks in FY 2006, but past patterns indicate that the final FY 2007 total could
equal or exceed FY 2006 when budgets are finalized. Last year, the 2006 House
appropriations bills contained $1.2 billion in earmarks while the Senate versions
contained $1.5 billion, but the final total was $2.4 billion, almost as much as
the two chambers’ totals combined (see Table A).
appropriations for R&D are R&D earmarks of unrequested,
congressionally designated performer-specific R&D projects contained in legislative
language or committee report language attached to appropriations bills. These
projects have been added to agencies’ requested budgets as part of the annual
give-and-take between Congress and the Executive Branch over the size and shape
of agencies’ budgets.
- R&D earmarks total $1.1 billion in the House’s FY 2007 appropriations
bills. Although these projects amount to only 0.8 percent of total R&D,
they are concentrated in a few key agencies and programs (see Table A). Three
agencies (the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA; $306 million), the Department
of Energy (DOE; $116 million); and the Department of Defense (DOD; $609 million)
receive 90 percent of the total R&D earmarks.
- The House’s 2007 earmarks are down from the combined total for 2006,
but only slightly down from the House’s $1.2 billion in earmarks in its 2006 appropriations
bills (see Figure 1).
1. (click on image for PDF)
- Compared to recent years, the House has shown relative restraint in
earmarking. House appropriations contain no earmarks in the NOAA and NASA
budget, and are smaller percentages of DOE’s energy
and science R&D portfolios than in recent years.
The USDA earmarks total $306 million, down only slightly from last year
even before the Senate adds its own earmarks. These include $128 million for 163
itemized extramural research projects, mostly in the Special Research Grants program,
with another $102 million allocated in the Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
for intramural research projects. The House would earmark $75 million for intramural
R&D facilities construction in FY 2007 for projects not in the agency budget
request, and sets aside additional funds for projects to be designated later.
R&D earmarks total 20 percent of all extramural R&D in the Cooperative
State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), making these a significant
drain on resources that might have gone to competitively awarded research grants
or formula-based research funding.
The DOD budget contains $609 million in House R&D earmarks, down from
the totals of recent years. The earmarks are mostly small ($10 million or less)
projects, but significantly most are for research rather than development or R&D
facilities construction, squeezing basic research and applied research budgets.
Earmarks for “6.1” (basic research) programs total $67 million, or 4 percent of
the total; “6.2” (applied research) earmarks are $180 million, or 3 percent of
the total because of a large number of medical research projects; and “6.3” earmarks
are $257 million or 5 percent of the total. But earmarks in the “6.4” or higher
categories of DOD R&D are $107 million, and are only 0.2 percent of that portfolio.
- DOE R&D earmarks decline in House appropriations to $116 million,
the lowest level this decade. The Office of Science (OS) budget, for example,
contains just $30 million in House 2007 earmarks, compared to $130 million in
2006. All of these earmarks, as usual, are in the Biological and Environmental
Research (BER) program; earmarks account for just 6 percent of the BER House appropriation
instead of 22 percent in 2006; as a result, core BER R&D funding would jump
13 percent even though the total BER budget appears to fall 7 percent. Although
DOE energy R&D earmarks hit a new high of $266 million in 2006, the House
would earmark only $61 million for energy R&D in 2007 and would keep the earmarks
in a separate account from core, non-earmarked funding. The House action would
have big impacts on key programs such as biomass R&D where earmarks make up
50 percent of total program funds in 2006. The biomass program not only receives
a 65 percent increase, but because 2007 biomass earmarks would be in a separate
account core biomass funding would more than double. Solar, hydrogen, and other
renewable energy programs also benefit from this House action of substantial increases
in non-earmarked 2007 funding compared to a heavily earmarked 2006 base.
- Some agencies remain earmark-free. The National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) all remain earmark-free in FY
2006. Traditionally, NIH and NSF’s research accounts have been free of earmarks,
although in some years NSF construction projects are earmarked. FY 2007 is the
fourth year of appropriations for DHS; so far, Congress has not earmarked R&D
projects in DHS. And the House has so far not earmarked funds in NASA and NOAA.
Definitions: What is an R&D Earmark?
the purposes of this analysis, R&D earmarks are defined as “congressionally
designated performer-specific R&D projects not included in agency budget requests.”
The earmarks appear in either legislative language contained in appropriations
bills, in which case they have the force of law, or appear in committee report
language accompanying appropriations bills, in which case they are technically
advisory. For all practical purposes, however, agencies usually follow the instructions
from Congress contained in committee report language, including earmarks. When
Congress designates a specific performer or performers for a particular R&D
project, these are counted as earmarks; because AAAS definitions of R&D include
investments in R&D facilities construction, the earmarks in this analysis
also include funds provided to specific institutions for investments in R&D
major capital equipment, and also construction funds for specific R&D facilities.
do not appear in federal agencies’ budget requests, which are released at the
beginning of the budget process in February and reflect agency priorities. These
budget requests contain detailed proposed distributions of agency funds by mission,
allocation mechanism, and often by performer. Earmarks do not appear in agencies’
own budget requests but are added to agencies’ budgets by Congress during the
appropriations process. Some projects not originally included in agency requests
may be initiated by congressional action in earlier appropriations cycles and
may be renewed at reduced funding levels in agencies’ requests; funds added to
specific performers by Congress above the amounts requested by the agency are
counted as earmarks.
figures include earmarks to all categories of R&D performers. While discussion
of the earmarks issue tends to center on earmarks to academic institutions, this
analysis also includes R&D earmarks to other categories of performers, most
prominently federal laboratories. While academic institutions receive the bulk
of the earmarks in Table A, federal laboratories, sometimes located on university
campuses, also receive earmarks as well as some nonprofits and industrial firms.
counted in this analysis are a subset of R&D in the federal budget as tracked
by AAAS. Thus, the earmarks in this analysis do not include non-R&D projects
that may go to R&D performers, for example educational or extension projects
awarded to universities and colleges. Some of these earmarks may come from the
same budget accounts that fund R&D earmarks. They also do not include construction
funds for non-R&D facilities, except when they are provided in R&D accounts.
Purpose of the AAAS Analysis
analysis is intended to provide timely and unbiased information for further analysis
and debate on the allocation of R&D resources in the federal budget process,
and the R&D Budget and Policy Program undertakes this analysis to provide
timely and relevant information for policymakers and members of the science and
engineering community who are concerned about methods of allocating R&D resources.
It attempts to provide additional information to supplement existing AAAS coverage
of R&D in the appropriations process. The analysis is not a comprehensive inventory
of earmarks; nor can the analysis break out earmarks by recipient or by state
because of the difficulty in identifying and assigning locations to multi-performer
research consortia or earmarks in which the actual performer is left intentionally
vague. Also, because earmarks are in the eye of the beholder and are ill-defined
(unlike the standardized, longstanding definitions for R&D used by AAAS and
federal agencies) this analysis relies on AAAS interpretations and judgment calls
on a project-by-project basis of what is or is not an R&D earmark.
analysis does not take a position on the relative merits of agency requests vs.
congressional earmarks, or of competitively awarded funds vs. earmarked funds.
appropriations process for FY 2007 is still in its early stages. If past patterns
hold, Senate earmarks will be greater than the House earmarks, and the final earmarks
total will be close to the House and Senate totals combined. If the pattern holds
true, then the FY 2007 R&D earmarks total could once again exceed $2 billion
as in the past two years, and may even set a new record. Although the FY 2007
appropriations process promises to be a difficult one because of extremely restrictive
budget targets, the last few years have demonstrated that the tighter the budget,
the more congressional appropriators turn to earmarking to ensure that at least
some funds go to their states or districts. -
July 13, 2006
AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program
1200 New York Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 326-6607; -6600
R&D web site: www.aaas.org/spp/rd