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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Cuts Remain for NSF, NASA Budgets
10 September 1999 7:00 pm
WASHINGTON, D.C.--The House of Representatives yesterday passed a spending bill that would cut the Administration's request for NASA by $1 billion and for the National Science Foundation (NSF) by $285 million. The fate of the bill--a $90 billion measure that funds housing, veterans care, and dozens of independent agencies--is uncertain as Congress and the White House remain deadlocked over whether to lift tight spending caps. But a series of floor votes suggest that researchers face an uphill battle in the stiff competition for federal funds.
For NASA, the bill cuts $265 million from the $2.2 billion space sciences account and $301 million from the $1.46 billion earth science account. Kevin Marvel of the American Astronomical Society called the final House vote "disappointing for the space sciences community." For NSF, it holds research spending level rather than providing a requested 7% increase and provides only $35 million of a $180 million request for the Administration's information technology initiative.
It was those reductions, first taken by the appropriations committee in late July, that spurred the White House and several scientific societies to start beating the drum for basic research. On 1 September White House chief of staff John Podesta warned that the housing and other spending bills are "playing politics with science and technology funding." On Wednesday, NSF director Rita Colwell called the budget process "disturbing," saying that it "turns our backs on the country's capability" to do great things in science.
But even as she spoke to reporters at NSF headquarters, House members were voting 212 to 207 to shift $10 million from NSF's $2.7 billion research account to a $225 million program to house indigent people with AIDS. "This is a Sophie's Choice, [putting us between] a rock and a hard place," lamented Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), an advocate for research on the Science Committee. Members were prohibited from proposing any funding increase without an offsetting cut, leaving research supporters with little room to maneuver.
The Senate was expected to begin work next week on its version of the housing bill. Subcommittee panel chair Christopher Bond (R-MO) and ranking member Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) have hinted they may be more generous to the two agencies than their House counterparts.