NSF and NASA Lose in House VA-HUD Approps Markup

NSF and NASA would both suffer significant cuts under legislation approved in a House Appropriations Subcommittee. Here are the first NSF numbers from the subcommittee committee markup of the House VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Appropriations bill. Apparently the full committee will move the bill on Friday:

NSF Funding Levels From the VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Markup
(in millions of dollars)
FY 2004 President’s FY 2005 request FY 2005
House VA-HUD Approps
Change vs. Request Change vs. FY 2004
Research and Related Activities 4,250 4,450 4,200 -5.6% -1.2%
Education and Human Resources 939 771 843 9.3% -10.2%
Major Research Facilities C&E 155 213 208 -2.3% 34.2%
Total NSF 5,580 5,750 5,470 -4.9% -2.0

I don’t yet have similar numbers for NASA, but the committee “highlights” indicates a $229 million cut to the agency vs. the FY 2004 funding level, $1.1 billion below the President’s requested level. Here’s the rest of the NASA highlights:

NASA is funded at $15.1 billion, $229 million below last year and $1.1 billion below the request. The bulk of these savings come from the elimination of funding for new initiatives. The reductions include $30 million for technology maturation efforts; $230 million from Project Prometheus related to Jupiter Icy Moon Orbital; $438 million resulting from delaying the Crew Exploration Vehicle; and $100 million from Space Launch Initiatives by accelerating the termination of activities. The bill fully funds shuttle operations at the requested level of $4.3 billion. The committee fully funds Mars programs at the requested level of $691 million.

As soon as the committee report is available (which will include detail and rationale for the cuts) I’ll excerpt the information here.
Needless to say, NSF’s funding level is a long way from the 15 percent per year increases authorized by Congress and approved by the President in December 2002. In thinking about why R&D has been de-emphasized, it’s hard not to juxtapose the decrease with the news that scientists and engineers are increasingly organizing and involving themselves in the political campaigns. Maybe the recent attacks of some notable scientists and engineers on the Bush Administration science policy are affecting the will of the majority to spend political capital on pushing for R&D increases? I don’t know, but I’m not sure the new “Scientists and Engineers for Johnson/Humphrey Kerry/Edwards” (sub. req’d) will help make the case any easier….
Anyway, as always, as more detail emerges check here for details.
Update: Here’s more from USA Today.

NSF and NASA Lose in House VA-HUD Approps Markup