New Budget Starting to Come Into Focus

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Publication date: 
19 February 1993
Number: 
20

Some of the details of President Clinton's budget request for
fiscal year 1994 are becoming known.  A full budget request is due
on March 23.  The following information is based on department or
agency briefings and press accounts:

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION:

The Clinton Administration is asking Congress to increase NSF's
current budget by $207.4 million.  $197.4 million would be for
Research and Related Activities: $112 million for "Strategic
Research Initiatives" and $85.4 million for core research programs.
There would be an additional $4.7 million for instrumentation.  A
House Appropriations subcommittee will review this request on
February 23.

There is still no word about NSF's budget for the next fiscal year.
The foundation expects its "passback" from the Office of Management
and Budget this week.  This passback is the final OMB decision on
NSF's budget request.  For NSF and DOE (and probably for all other
departments and agencies) the OMB passback budget numbers are
final: negotiations or appeals will not be allowed. 

There is much speculation about NSF's fortunes, ranging from talk
of "shared sacrifice" to relatively optimistic forecasts. It is
felt that if the NSF budget request is high, it will probably win
approval on Capitol Hill.  If the request allows for little or no
growth, Congress will probably be reluctant to increase the
numbers.   

NASA:

The Clinton Administration will request $2.3 billion for Space
Station Freedom for FY 1994.  NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin
announced to NASA employees that the request (if approved) allows
for "a smooth transition of the program to a streamlined,
cost-effective design, assuring stability in the program during the
transition and minimizing any potential job loss."  A review
process for a redesign of the station, requested by Clinton, has
been established.  See the SSC section below for early
congressional reaction.

Details of the budget will be released on March 23, including the
transfer of space station money to the development of new
technologies for "revitalizing American industry."  Goldin said
these projects "could lower the cost of space research, achieve
demonstrable results sooner, and be more directly beneficial to the
economy."  It has been suggested that areas such as computer
science, aeronautics, and robotics will benefit.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY:

There is more detail about DOE's budget request, although figures
are still being developed.  The following is not "final," and
changes could occur:

     Superconducting Super Collider:  The Administration will
request an increase of $108 million above current spending to a
total of $640 million.  This is about one-half of what former DOE
Secretary James Watkins said was needed to keep the SSC on schedule
and budget.  The new budget reflects this reduction: the SSC's
completion date will be delayed from 2000 to 2003, with the final
cost by a "back of an envelope" estimate now set at $10 billion.
In a January 14, 1993 letter to science committee chairman George
Brown (D-California), Watkins stated that the Total Project Cost
was $8.299 billion.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Jim Sasser (D-Tennessee) announced
on February 16 that "I'm going to propose cutting the [SSC].
That's a $7 billion scientific pork barrel being built in the state
of Texas.  I'm going to oppose the space station.  That will save
us $40 billion."  In the House, SSC critic Sherwood Boehlert (R-New
York) said "It doesn't have a snowball's chance in you-know-where
of passing the House this year."

     Advanced Neutron Source:  The Clinton Administration will
request $26 million in 1994 to start construction of this "next
generation" research reactor.  The Advanced Neutron Source will
"allow U.S. scientists to exercise leadership in important medical
and manufacturing areas involving semi-conductors, superconductors,
magnetic and biological materials, polymers, and isotopes used for
cancer treatment," according to DOE.  Total spending for FY
1994-98: $1.2 billion.

     Tokamak Physics Experiment: An increase of $20 million will be
requested for initial construction of this facility.  Total
spending for FY 1994-98: $372 million. 

     B-Factory, Fermi Lab Main Injector, High Energy Nuclear
Physics, Inertial Confinement Fusion, Los Alamos Meson Physics
Facility:  No information; still under review.  Requests could be
flat, flat plus inflation, or increased. 

     Cooperative Research Partnerships at Non-Defense DOE Labs: An
increase of $50 million per year for FY 1994-98 for "continued
pursuit of dual-use technologies [to] assure economic security."

     FCCSET Programs (Federal Coordinating Council on Science,
Engineering and Technology): "Full funding" for these programs in
high performance computing, science and math education, materials,
bio-technology, and advanced manufacturing.

     Clean-Up of DOE Facilities: $6.2 billion will be requested,
approximately one-third of DOE's FY 1994 budget.

     Nuclear Advanced Reactor Program: A phase-out is planned,
which "reflects a change in priorities away from nuclear power and
toward efficiency, renewables and natural gas."  The impact of this
on the SP-100 program is unknown.

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE:

Advanced technology programs would receive a $700 million increase
through 1997.  An additional $358 million is requested for this
year for technology initiatives, including advanced technology and
computer programs and fiber-optic highway

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