The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are poised to add billions of dollars to the fiscal year 2008 research and development (R&D) budget, with much of the proposed new funding targeted for environmental, energy and biomedical initiatives, according to a new report by the R&D Budget and Policy Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Congressional appropriations measures also propose to meet or exceed President George W. Bushs spending plans for physical sciences research in the American Competitiveness Initiative and for dramatic expansion of spending to develop new craft for human space exploration, says Kei Koizumi, the programs director, in a report posted online on 6 August.
The report, updating congressional action on R&D budgets as Congress began its August recess, is available at http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/upd807.htm.
Where the White House proposed a budget for the fiscal year beginning 1 October 2007 that would have cut overall basic and applied research investment for the fourth straight year, Congress would increase research budgets at every major non-defense R&D agency. And with Congress exceeding the presidents overall domestic spending plan by $21 billion, Koizumi sees the possibility of a budget conflict that could extend into FY 2008.
Because the president has threatened to veto any appropriations bills that exceed his budget request, these R&D increases could disappear or diminish this fall in negotiations between the president and Congress over final funding levels, Koizumi concluded.
Koizumi noted that earmarksfunds designated by Congress to be spent on a specific project rather than for an agency's general policy agendacomprise one-fifth of the proposed new R&D spending. Critics say that earmarking encourages spending for pet projects in lawmakers home districts, and Congress placed a moratorium on them last
Contact: Earl Lane
American Association for the Advancement of Science