Status Report

AIP FYI #10: Bush Administration Sends FY 2005 Budget to Congress

By SpaceRef Editor
February 4, 2004
Filed under , ,

Characterizing the FY 2005 science and technology budget request
that was sent to Congress on Monday is a classic example of a glass
being viewed as half-full or half-empty. Although some components
of the S&T budget request are up, others are down, or at least
disappointing. Contrast the remarks made by OSTP Director John
Marburger: “I think we have a good story here,” with those of House
Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) who said, “I am
very disappointed in the proposed science budget . . . we just have
to find a way to do better.”

There are many different perspectives by which to view the S&T
budget request. Faced with mounting deficits, the Bush
Administration restrained future growth in discretionary program
spending. These are the programs for which funding can vary each
year, such as for S&T, as compared to, for example, mandated
expenditures for Social Security. Not counting discretionary
spending for defense and homeland security programs, discretionary
programs account for less than one-fifth of the total federal
budget. The Administration proposes to limit to just 0.5% the
overall increase for this portion of the budget.

From this 0.5% perspective, the proposed 2.5% increase in FY 2005
spending for non-defense/homeland security R&D seems more
favorable. (Adding in defense and homeland security R&D boosts the
requested increase to 5%.) Non defense R&D is 5.7% of total
discretionary spending in the proposed budget, which the
Administration calculates is the third highest level in the last 25
years. At a briefing on Monday, Marburger urged that increases in
all categories of R&D be viewed over the course of the Bush
Administration, saying that it would rise 44% from FY 2001 through
the FY 2005 request. “This has been an Administration highly
favorable to R&D,” he said.

Initial reaction on Capitol Hill was noticeably cooler. Boehlert
said, “I am very disappointed in the proposed science budget, and I
will be working with the Administration and my Congressional
colleagues to improve the numbers as we move through the budget
process. I understand that we are in a very tight fiscal situation
and that the Administration has tried to treat research and
development (R&D) as favorably as possible. But we just have to find
a way to do better. The [Administration’s FY 2005] budget chapter
on R&D includes the quotation that ‘Science is a horse. Don’t
worship it. Feed it.’ The budget does not reflect that advice. After
a few years of spending at the levels proposed in this budget,
science would be an emaciated, old, grey mare, unable to produce any
new ideas or young scientists.” Ranking Minority Member Bart Gordon
(D-TN) commented, “The Administration’s budget fails to make the
responsible investments in our future that our children expect of
us. If we hope to grow new industries, provide new skills to
unemployed workers, and foster the economic conditions that will
allow us to eliminate our Federal deficit, we have to invest in
research and development programs.”

Future issues of FYI will review the FY 2005 budget request for
physics-related programs. The following numbers are taken from the
Administration’s budget document that was delivered to Congress, and
represent the proposed percentage change in funding from FY 2004 to
FY 2005 in a table entitled, “Federal Science and Technology
Budget.” These numbers do not necessarily include changes in
program content:

  • NIST Intramural Research and Facilities: Up 20%
  • National Science Foundation: Up 3%
  • National Institutes of Health: Up 3%
  • NASA Space Science: Up 2%
  • NASA: Up 1%
  • Department of Energy Science Programs: Down 1%
  • U.S. Geological Survey: Down 2%
  • Defense Basic Research: Down 4%
  • NASA Earth Science: Down 8%
  • NOAA: Down 11%
  • Defense Science and Technology: Down 11%
  • Defense Applied Research: Down 13%
  • NIST Advanced Technology Program: Down 100%

Richard M. Jones

Media and Government Relations Division

The American Institute of Physics

(301) 209-3094

SpaceRef staff editor.