UPI Story on Science Funding

July 29th, 2004

Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr.

Yesterday the UPI ran a very good story on science funding prospects. Here are a few excerpts:

“Though is it widely agreed the U.S. economy is based on discoveries from such research, there is little chance that more money will be found for science this year … or next year … or the year after that. The more distant future looks even worse.”

“Part of the reason for the cuts is election-year competition. Funding for NSF falls within a larger bill that also covers the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development. Under the same fiscal roof are EPA and NASA, the only federal agency — other than the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security — to receive a budget increase request for FY 2005. The needs of these agencies are real and they are better-connected politically. “This is described by both the majority and minority as a no-winners bill,” a senior congressional staffer told United Press International. “The two places that actually got big increases (the VA’s Veteran’s Health Administration and HUD’s Section 8 housing) … neither of those groups is happy,” the staffer said, adding, “both of them would say it is not enough even to maintain current services.””

“The point, said the staffer, is not the specific numbers but the trend. The numbers will change every year but the trend reflects the priority and plans of the administration. Would a Democratic White House or Congress make a difference? “If you look at the macro policy generated by the tax and discretionary and mandatory spending numbers,” the staffer said, “it is very hard to see this getting a whole lot better, no matter who is president or who is in control of the House or Senate. The staffer continued, “If there is a change in political control, then there probably will be some change in amounts for discretionary spending — and science will be one of those areas that I think will compete for that — but I think that there is a general view that tough times are ahead.””

Here is the link to the whole story.

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