Tag Archive: Policy and Government Affairs

Articles relevant to Government Affairs.

Science Increases Abandoned in Final 08 Spending Bill

Despite a year of positive milestones for the advocates of increased funding for three key science agencies, the final FY 2008 numbers for the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Department of Energy’s Office of Science left many in the scientific community bitterly disappointed as lawmakers reneged on commitments to continue the effort to double basic research funding in favor of other programs and congressional earmarks.

Defense Research Sciences Will See Gains in FY 08

Research programs at the Department of Defense will see some increases in funding, thanks to final passage of the FY 2008 Defense Appropriations bill (H.R. 434), but some programs of interest to the computing research community will lose funding, largely because the agency responsible—the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—was too slow to spend it.

While Appropriations Languish, Congress Passes Landmark Science Authorization

Despite a lack of progress in August and September towards resolving the veto threat causing a logjam in the FY 2008 federal appropriations process, many in the science advocacy community did have reason to celebrate. In early August, the President signed into law a landmark science and education authorization bill aimed at bolstering U.S. innovation and preserving American competitiveness.

Key Appropriations, Authorizations on Track

Congress continues to stay on track to honor commitments from the House and Senate Leadership to bolster funding at three key science agencies, but a veto threat from President Bush could derail the annual appropriations process, putting gains for science in doubt. At the same time, House and Senate Leaders have also approved a mammoth omnibus innovation and competitiveness bill that would “ensure our nation’s competitive position in the world through improvements to math and science education and a strong commitment to research,” according to the bill’s sponsors.

Congress on Track to Continue Increases for Science

Before leaving on their traditional two-week spring recess, members of the House and Senate approved their respective versions of the Fiscal Year 2008 Congressional Budget Resolution, with each providing space beneath the budget caps for increased funding for key federal science agencies. While the differences between both versions will have to be resolved in a compromise resolution when both chambers resume work in late April, the similar treatment of science accounts in both versions of the resolution bodes well for the agencies in the upcoming FY 08 appropriations process.

Congress Protects Science Funding in Final Appropriations

After several months fearing a freeze on federal science funding in FY 2007, the science community in late January breathed a collective sigh of relief as congressional appropriators reached an agreement on a final resolution for the year’s spending bills that would preserve increases for three key science agencies. The increases—proposed more than a year earlier by President Bush as part of his “American Competitiveness Initiative”—will put the research budgets of the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Department of Energy’s Office of Science on track to double over ten years.

Congress Change Could Mean Slight Changes in Science Policy

With the change in Congressional leadership resulting from the Democrats’ strong showing in November’s mid-term elections, the landscape for research funding issues in Congress is expected to change in a number of ways, with outcomes that are, at this point, difficult to predict. For the research advocacy community, these changes will include new personalities heading every key Congressional committee and new legislative priorities for the Congressional leadership that could imperil recent gains in research funding commitments.

Congress Delays Appropriations, Creating Uncertainty for Science Increases

Congress will reconvene in mid-November in a post-election session to finish work on a slate of appropriations bills—including bills that would fully fund the basic research elements of President Bush’s “American Competitiveness Initiative”—that they failed to finish by the traditional end of the legislative session in early October. Less clear is whether any of the authorization bills drafted to boost U.S. competitiveness will receive floor time before the 109th Congress adjourns for good. Congress did complete work on the mammoth FY 2007 Defense Appropriations bill before recessing in late September. Included in the bill were healthy increases to defense research and development, and some reductions to requested budgets for defense IT research.

Congress on Track to Provide Big Boost to Physical Sciences, Computing

Before adjourning for the traditional August congressional recess, appropriators in the House and Senate approved a collection of funding measures that would significantly increase funding for federal research efforts in the physical sciences, mathematics, computing and engineering next year. Both chambers’ appropriation committees have passed FY 2007 appropriations bills that provide boosts to the research budgets of the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, effectively endorsing—at least in the short term—a Presidential initiative to double research funding for those agencies over the next 10 years.

Innovation, Competitiveness Plans Advance, But Hurdles Ahead

Some high-profile legislative efforts to bolster U.S. competitiveness by fostering greater U.S.-based innovation have begun to move in Congress, putting the spotlight on the importance of increasing federal support of fundamental research, improving education efforts, and addressing needs in federal tax policy and workforce and immigration issues. But despite the positive action, there are a number of obstacles to enactment of these innovation plans including, most seriously, a perceived lack of support from the House Republican leadership.