Research & Development Budget for Fiscal Year 2008

bridges vol. 14, July 2007 / Bills in Brief: S&T Policy News

Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science

In appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY) 2008 that were drafted before the July 4th break, Congress is set to provide substantial increases over current-year funding levels for federal R&D programs, according to newly released AAAS R&D Funding Updates. Not only would appropriators endorse and build on increases for physical science agencies included in the President's budget proposal for FY 2008, but they would also turn the cuts requested in other R&D programs into across-the-board increases for the broad federal R&D portfolio, with especially large boosts for energy and climate change research.

So far, every major R&D funding agency is in line to receive an increase in 2008. Congressional appropriators are working from the FY 2008 congressional budget resolution finalized in May, which sets a target of $953 billion for 2008 appropriations - $21 billion more for domestic programs than the President's request. These additional dollars have provided for significant additions to the requested R&D funding levels.

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In the Senate
, every major R&D funding agency would receive an increase, as detailed in AAAS R&D Funding Updates that provide real-time coverage of R&D in the FY 2008 appropriations process. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) R&D would increase by 11%, and VA R&D would increase 7%. R&D in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Interior would receive modest increases. The Senate would also give the National Institutes of Health (NIH) a $1 billion increase (up 3.3%) over this year, increase National Science Foundation (NSF) funding by 11%, and add $150 million to the funds requested for NASA. The Senate would endorse requested boosts for NIST laboratory programs, and also increase funding for NOAA oceans and NIST external R&D within the Department of Commerce. These draft appropriations go to the full Senate for debate and expected approval in July.

The House would also boost funding for all the major R&D funding agencies considered so far. DHS would get a 3.3% increase for R&D in 2008. The Department of Energy (DOE) would enjoy a windfall for its energy and science programs in the House appropriation, with a 12% increase in its R&D appropriation, and the House would also increase R&D in the Departments of the Interior and Veterans Affairs. EPA R&D would gain 11% in the House plan, primarily for a new climate change research commission. In preliminary action, House appropriators would also fully fund the 9% increase requested for the National Science Foundation (NSF) R&D, and would turn a requested cut into a slight increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget. The full House has already approved half of its appropriations bills, and will take up the remainder in July.

The FY 2008 appropriations process picks up steam in July with the goal of getting all 12 appropriations bills signed into law by the October 1 start of FY 2008. President Bush has threatened to veto any individual bills that exceed his request; and as many as 10 of the 12 bills could do so. Any vetoes, as well as expected congressional fights over earmarking and competing priorities, could prolong appropriations well into the coming fiscal year.

Please visit the AAAS Web site for future updates on the status of the budget process.