U.S. President's budget proposal means 5-year cuts 'well below historic levels'

Washington, D.C., 22 April 2004 -- With a budget deficit estimated at $521 billion this year, coupled with a commitment to halve it in five years, U.S. President Bush is proposing a budget that would mean cuts in research and development (R&D) funding for all but three federal agencies, according to the latest analysis from AAAS, the non-profit science society.

"The projected cuts to most nondefense R&D programs would leave key programs with budgets well below recent historical levels," said Kei Koizumi, who handles federal R&D budget analysis for AAAS.

"Particularly during a Presidential election year, it's important for policymakers and taxpayers to understand the impacts of any federal budget changes, especially any proposals that may have implications for the pace of scientific discoveries in coming years," added Al Teich, AAAS's director of science and policy program.

Koizumi will present a detailed analysis of the President's FY 2005 budget at the 29th Annual AAAS Science and Technology Policy Forum in Washington, D.C.

While the proposed budget concentrates resources on defense, homeland security and space, it could produce severe consequences for federal support of R&D over the next five years, with the steepest cuts occurring in the fall after this year's elections.

But the real costs of the FY2005 budget lie beyond 2009. Proposals to extend expiring tax provisions and the cost of Medicare drug benefits would reduce revenues by more than $1.1 trillion over the next decade. These fiscal impacts could come as the baby boomer generation hits retirement age, resulting in enormous increases in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid expenses.

Agency Impacts

The president has proposed budget decreases at nine of the 12 federal agencies with the largest R&D portfolios, with only the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the National Aeronautics and Space Admin

Contact: Monica Amarelo
American Association for the Advancement of Science

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