Press Release

Democratic, Republican Budget Resolutions Treat R&D Very Differently

By SpaceRef Editor
March 25, 2004
Filed under ,

Today, the House of Representatives passed a blueprint for the Federal
budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY 2005) and beyond. The Republican
budget (H. Con. Res. 393, introduced by Rep. Jim Nussle) passed the House by
a vote of 215-212, while the Democratic budget, offered by Rep. John Spratt,
was defeated 194-232. The Nussle and Spratt plans have very different
allocations for all domestic discretionary programs, including research and
development (R&D) programs.

Function 250 (General Science, Space, and Technology) of the Federal budget
includes funding for NASA’s space activities, the National Science
Foundation, some Department of Energy basic science programs, and some
Department of Homeland Security R&D programs. The Republican budget
allocates $23.388 billion for these activities in FY 2005 compared to a
total of $23.8 billion in the Democratic amendment. Over the five-year
period of FY 2005-2009, the Democratic amendment provides $5.116 billion
more than the Republican budget for function 250.

Civilian R&D activities fall into a number of other budget functions besides
function 250, including 100 (Homeland Security), 270 (Energy), 300 (Natural
Resources and Environment), 370 (Commerce), and 400 (Transportation). The
structure of the Budget Resolution makes it difficult to tease out funding
for specific R&D programs in these other functional areas. However, an
analysis by Science Committee staff indicates that for the period of FY
2005-2009, the Democratic budget provides approximately $12 billion more for
civilian R&D than the Republican budget.

Representative Bart Gordon (D-TN), Ranking Member of the House Science
Committee, made the following statement on the Budget Resolution:

“The Democratic budget balanced fiscal restraint with the critical need to
invest in American competitiveness. Our country has prospered in the past,
and will continue to do so in the future, because of our ability to develop
and implement new technologies and ideas. While Members on both sides of
the budget debate are concerned about the size of the deficit, it is
essential – now more than ever – for us to fuel future innovation through
our Federal R&D programs. Cutting or chilling American R&D would severely
hurt our future abilities to compete in the increasingly sophisticated
global marketplace.”

SpaceRef staff editor.