Bush Administration Keeps “Doubling” Initiative on Track

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Publication date: 
6 February 2007

The headline from yesterday’s release of the FY 2008 budget request is the Bush Administration’s continued commitment to its American Competitiveness Initiative. Under the new FY 2008 request, the President asked Congress to increase overall FY 2008 funding for the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology core research program by 7.2 percent over his request of a year ago.

Under the Initiative, total funding for the three agencies would double over ten years. Annual increases of approximately 7 percent are required to maintain this schedule.

Preparation and subsequent analysis of the new budget request are made more difficult since the FY 2007 appropriations bills are not complete. In all cases, except for the Department of Defense (for which an appropriations bill was enacted), requested percentage changes in the below budgets are as compared to the Administration’s request of a year ago. The House just passed a final FY 2007 funding bill; the Senate is scheduled to begin consideration of the resolution in the next few days. Under this resolution, the Office of Management and Budget estimates that only half of the funding for the first year of the Initiative would be funded.

Under yesterday’s budget submission, combined FY 2008 funding for NSF, the DOE Office of Science, and the NIST laboratories would increase $764 million or 7.2 percent over last year’s request of $10.7 billion. It is expected that final appropriations for the three agencies will be, as noted above, significantly less than last year’s request. At a White House briefing yesterday, a senior Administration official cautioned that the resulting FY 2008 percentage rate increases for the three agencies would be “a difficult lift” on Capitol Hill.

The Office of Management and Budget states growth in total non-security discretionary spending would increase percent under the FY 2008 request. The following are selected programs of interest; percentages are taken from an OMB document and have been rounded:

- National Science Foundation funding would increase 7 percent over the FY 2007 request.

- DOE Office of Science funding would increase 7 percent over the FY 2007 request.

- NIST intramural research and facilities funding would increase 11 percent.

- U.S. Geological Survey funding would increase 3 percent.

- National Institutes of Health funding would increase 2 percent.

NASA budget documents show that under the request:

- NASA (total) funding would increase 3.1 percent.

- NASA Science funding would increase 0.9 percent

- NASA Exploration Capabilities funding would increase 11.2 percent


- Defense Basic Research Funding would decline 8 percent from the enacted current budget.

Future issues of FYI will provide greater detail.