Republicans in the House are moving rapidly to curtail fiscal year
1995 spending. Last week, action was taken on two measures that
rescind, or take back, funds already appropriated for the current
On February 22, the House passed H.R. 889, a defense supplemental
bill providing additional money for peacekeeping missions and
enhancing military readiness. Offsets for this supplemental
spending include a cut of $500 million from DOD's Technology
Reinvestment Program and $107 million from NIST's Advanced
Also last week, the House Appropriations subcommittees worked on a
rescissions bill cutting additional amounts from the current budget
to offset federal spending on natural disasters, to fund proposed
tax cuts, and to make progress toward balancing the budget. This
package of cuts, or rescissions, (no bill number is yet available)
will go to the full House Appropriations Committee this Thursday,
where sources say approval is likely. The bill will then go on to
the House floor for a vote.
The proposed rescissions bill cuts nearly $17.1 billion from
current FY 1995 appropriations. The largest reduction, of $9.4
billion, comes from the VA/HUD/Independent Agencies subcommittee.
Much of this is targeted toward President Clinton's National
Service initiative, housing, nutrition, job-training, and education
programs. NASA's current-year budget would be cut by $66 million,
with $25 million coming from the Earth Observing System and $10
million from the Hubble Space Telescope program. NSF would receive
a $132 million rescission, to be taken out of the Academic Research
Infrastructure program. However, this year's NSF appropriation was
accompanied by conference report language specifying that NSF could
use the full $250 million for research infrastructure only if it
requested an equivalent amount in FY 1996. By not requesting this
amount, NSF has already chosen to forfeit the $132 million.
Within the Commerce, Justice and State subcommittee, the Commerce
Department would take the heaviest hit, of $166 million. A total
of $46.6 million would come from the National Institute of
Standards and Technology: the Manufacturing Extension Partnership
(MEP) would feel a $26.5 million cut, and technology research at
NIST's intramural laboratories would be cut by $19.5 million.
While NIST's cooperative programs with industry have been a
favorite target of many Republicans, a portion of this cut is aimed
at NIST laboratory programs, which develop standards, testing
methods and measurement techniques for industry.
The Energy and Water Development subcommittee proposes to rescind
$211 million. Within DOE, reductions would be taken from
environmental research and restoration projects, solar and
renewable energy research, and technology transfer from the
national labs. Within DOE's general science programs, the only
rescission would be $7.5 million from the Advanced Neutron Source
(ANS), a program which has been proposed for termination in the
Administration's FY 1996 budget request.