Downsizing the Government: Outlook for Federal Science Program

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Publication date: 
30 June 1995


The House of Representatives and the Senate gave final approval
yesterday to a seven year budget resolution which will dramatically
trim federal spending on science and technology.  Speaking in
support of the budget resolution designed to eliminate the federal
deficit by 2002, Rep. Robert S. Walker (R-PA) proclaimed, "We have
proven the naysayers wrong.  We have followed through on our

This budget resolution is a fiscal blueprint to guide federal
taxing and spending over the next seven years.  It does not have to
be signed by the president, and does not determine specific program
spending, which is determined by authorization and appropriations
legislation.  These bills must be signed by the president, and a
White House spokesman has already predicted "a long, hot summer" as
Washington moves towards the start of the new fiscal year on
October 1.

For fiscal year 1996, the thirteen appropriations bills now working
their way through Congress are the bills to watch.  However, the
budget resolution approved yesterday gives a good indication of how
Congress intends to fund science and technology programs during the
next seven years.  These programs are a component of non-defense
discretionary spending (i.e., spending which is directly controlled
by the annual appropriations process.)  The budget resolution calls
for $190 billion in savings in non-defense discretionary spending
over seven years, as compared to a freeze in current spending.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has
prepared figures suggesting what future science spending may be
under the budget resolution.  In a chart entitled, "Projected
Effects of House Budget Resolution on Nondefense R&D" the AAAS
adjusted their figures to show constant 1995 dollars for comparison
purposes.  There are a number of important caveats to these
figures.  AAAS stresses that these are preliminary estimates.
These figures are also based on the House version of the budget
resolution, which is somewhat different from the final version that
was approved yesterday by the House and Senate.  AAAS made a number
of assumptions in their calculations.  Finally, Congress can change
these figures at any point in the future.  Our thanks to the AAAS
for their preparation of these figures, and their permission to use

The below selected figures compare current R&D spending with
projected spending in FY 2002.  They are expressed in FY 1995
dollars adjusted for inflation largely using deflators from the
Office of Management and Budget.    

Total NSF R&D declines by 20.7%
Research and Related Activity declines by 10.1%
Academic Research Infrastructure declines by 67.8%
Major Research Equipment declines by 100.0%
Education and Human Resources declines by 20.3%

Total DOE nondefense R&D declines by 47.4%
General Science declines by 26.3%
Energy Supply R&D declines by 47.8%

Total NASA R&D declines by 38.0%
NASA SAT [science, aeronautics, and technology] Space R&D declines
by 37.3%
NASA Human Space Flight declines by 37.2%
NASA Mission Support declines by 21.4%

Total Commerce R&D declines by 50%
NIST Advanced Technology Program declines by 100%
NIST Construction declines by 0.9%
NIST [intramural] Scientific and Technical Research and Services 
increases 1.0%

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