House Republicans Propose New FY 2011 S&T Budgets

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Publication date: 
10 February 2011

Make  no mistake, these cuts are not low-hanging fruit.  These cuts are real and will impact every  District across the country. . . . "-- House Appropriations Committee Chairman  Hal Rogers (R-KY)

Next  week the House of Representatives may vote on a funding bill that would make  significant changes in some S&T agency budgets.  Under an initial version of this bill:

  • The  budget for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science would be reduced by  18.0 percent or $882.3 million from the current level.
  • Funding  for the National Institute of Standards and Technology would be cut by 14.4  percent or $123.7 million.     
  • NASA’s  budget would remain essentially level, declining 0.6 percent or $103 million.
  • The  budget for the U.S. Geological Survey would also remain level, declining 0.5  percent or $5.3 million.
  • The  National Science Foundation’s budget would increase 6.0 percent or $412.9  million.

These  changes were in a list of seventy proposed budget recommendations released  yesterday by the House Appropriations Committee that were projected to total  $74 billion.  Additional budget cuts will  be made in the bill before it goes to the full House.  Chairman Rogers just announced that these  cuts will total $100 billion from what President Obama requested.  That forthcoming bill – a continuing  resolution or CR - would provide funding after an existing short-term bill  expires on March 4. 

When  discussing the initial version of the bill Rogers stated:

“Never  before has Congress undertaken a task of this magnitude.  The cuts in this CR will represent the  largest reduction in discretionary spending in the history of our nation.        “While  making these cuts is hard, we have a unique opportunity to right our fiscal  ship and begin to reduce our massive deficits and debt.  We have taken a wire brush to the  discretionary budget and scoured every program to find real savings that are  responsible and justifiable to the American people.         “Make  no mistake, these cuts are not low-hanging fruit.  These cuts are real and will impact every  District across the country - including my own.   As I have often said, every dollar we cut has a constituency, an  industry, an association, and individual citizens who will disagree with us.  But with this CR, we will respond to the millions of Americans who have called  on this Congress to rein in spending to help our economy grow and our  businesses create jobs.”

Proposed  cuts of this magnitude were not unexpected.   In January, the House passed a resolution that called for FY2011  non-security discretionary spending to be reduced to FY 2008 levels or less.   This was followed by an announcement by  Chairman Rogers of reductions in spending limits for each of his subcommittees,  as follows:

  • The  Commerce, Justice Science Subcommittee had its allocation reduced by 16 percent  as compared to the FY 2010 level.  This  subcommittee provides funding for the National Science Foundation, NIST, and  NASA.
  • The  Energy and Water Development Subcommittee’s allocation was reduced by 10  percent.  This subcommittee provides  funding for the Department of Energy.
  • The  Interior, Environment Subcommittee’s allocation was reduced by 8 percent.

The  bill will encounter stiff opposition in the Senate and from the White House.  No one knows how, and when, the FY 2011  appropriations cycle will be completed.

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