After much delay, the Senate yesterday passed the FY 2004 Omnibus appropriations bill, clearing the way for the bill to head to the White House nearly 4 months after the start of the 2004 fiscal year. By passing the gargantuan 700-plus page bill, Congress approved a modest increase in funding for information technology research and development and the National Science Foundation for FY 2004.
Under the agreement, NSFs budget will grow to $5.57 billion in FY 2004, an increase of $268 million over FY 2003, or 5 percent. The appropriation, the largest NSF budget in history, still falls well short of the 15 percent increase approved by Congress and the President last year in the NSF authorization bill, a rate of increase that would double the agencys budget in five years.
Also slated for increase is NSFs Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) directorate, which will grow to $606 million for FY 2004, an increase of $24 million over FY 2003, or just over 4 percent. The increase includes $225 million for NSFs Information Technology Research program (ITR) and “not less than $20 million” for the agencys cyberinfrastructure initiatives in FY 2004.
Details on the FY 2004 appropriations process (and its effect on IT R&D funding) are available CRN Online.