2010 Science Budget ... Big But Sketchy Numbers

Jeff tries to explain how government works to readers of Science.

Staff Writer

Eli is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine.

In a decidedly old-school style for the digitally minded Obama Administration, this morning the Government Printing Office released a booklet on the 2010 budget. (The sparse document will be released online at 11 a.m.) Initial results, although sketchy, suggest more boosts for science in 2010, pending, of course, lawmakers' considerable input:

National Institutes of Health: No details, although Obama is requesting a boost of $7 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services over its $70.5 billion budget in 2008 and "over $6 billion within the National Institutes of Health to support cancer research." The 2009 budget for the National Cancer Institute, where the majority of cancer research is performed at NIH, was $5 billion.

National Science Foundation: If the president gets his way, NSF would receive an 8.5% increase, to $7.045 billion, over the amount contained in the fiscal year 2009 omnibus bill that the House approved yesterday. That number doesn't include its $3 billion boost in the stimulus package passed 2 weeks ago. The budget booklet also repeats an Obama campaign promise to triple the number of NSF graduate research fellowships over an unspecified time period.

Department of Energy: Few details on DOE's Office of Science, which funds most of the physical sciences in the United States, but the document promises "substantially increased support" for the $4.8 billion office "as part of the president's plan to double federal investment in the basic sciences." The total 2010 budget for the department as a whole would grow to $26.3 billion from $24 billion in 2008; the projection for 2009 is $33.9 billion, plus a whopping $39 billion for energy programs under the stimulus package recently passed and $1.6 billion for the Office of Science, which federal bureaucrats plan to spend primarily on building scientific facilities.

NASA: Obama requested $18.7 billion, which is a $700 million increase over this year's figure. Add to that the $1 billion that Congress included in the stimulus package for the space agency. Although specifics are meager, the new budget would bolster earth sciences, keep on track a new rocket to replace the space shuttle after 2010, and provide more funding for robotic probes to visit other planets. 

EPA: The request includes $10.5 billion for EPA, a whopping 37.5% increase over the 2009 level. The core operating budget, which includes research, regulation, and enforcement, would also set a record, at $3.9 billion. Efforts to address threats to the Great Lakes, including invasive species and contaminated sediment, would receive substantial increases. Across the federal budget, $475 million would be spent on interagency activities for the Great Lakes; in the 2009 omnibus, EPA would spend $23 million if Congress agrees to the numbers.
 

Posted in Funding