The House Appropriations Committee would have $98 billion more to spend in FY 2005 compared to FY 2004 — an increase of 4.5 percent — based on the recommended funding allocations announced Wednesday by the Chairman of the Committee. The so-called “302(b)” allocation recommendations announced today would, if ratified by a majority of the Appropriations committee members, set the funding levels for each of the 13 appropriations subcommittees responsible for shepherding the 13 appropriations bills necessary to fund all federal agencies each year. The 4.5 percent increase recommended by Chairman Young (and likely to be approved by a majority of the committee) is slightly more austere than President’s budget proposal, introduced in February.
I’ve whipped up a basic chart (pdf) using Young’s numbers that shows the various allocation levels and how they compare to current funding (FY 2004 enacted) and to the President’s request. Of most interest to computing researchers are the funding allocations for:
- VA-HUD-Independent Agencies, which includes funding for NSF and NASA
- Defense, DARPA and basic research in the service labs;
- Energy and Water Development, includes funding for DOE’s Office of Science;
- Commerce, Justice, State, includes NIST and NOAA; and,
- Homeland Security.
|FY 04 Enacted||FY 05 Pres. Request||302(b) Allocation||Percent Change vs. Enacted||Percent Change vs. Request|
|Commerce, Justice, State||$37,581||$39,553||$39,792||5.9%||0.6%|
|Energy and Water Development||$27,257||$27,938||$27,988||2.7%||0.2%|
|VA, HUD, Independent Agencies||$90,800||$92,129||$92,930||2.3%||0.9%|
Because each of these appropriations bills includes lots of other agencies and programs not related to computing research programs, it’s difficult to draw any conclusions about what these numbers will ultimately mean for federal IT R&D. What is obvious is where the priorities are — defense-related programs — and where things will likely stay about the same — Energy and Water Development, and VA-HUD. There’s not much room in either of the latter allocations to grow programs included in those bills. In fact, considering the current inflation rate of 2.29%, programs in either bill would stay generally flat funded in FY 05.
So, a difficult task ahead for advocates of science funding this year. Watch this space for more detail as it becomes available.