President to Request Slight Increase for NSF, says NY Times


The New York Times reports today that the President will include a request for a slight increase to the National Science Foundation when he delivers his budget plan to Congress on Monday. The Times, which had reported that NSF’s budget would be flat — an improvement over an initial OMB passback that called for a 5 percent cut for the agency — reports that the President will request $5.6 billion for NSF in FY 06, an increase of 2.4 percent over FY 05.
The increase, though small, would appear to make up the ground lost by the agency after Congress elected to cut funding by 2 percent in FY 05. However, coupled with the rate of inflation, the small increase is actually closer to flat-funding the agency, or even a slight real-dollar decrease.
Still, any increase in a budget which is otherwise rumored to be quite austere is symbolic, indicating areas where the Administration places priority. The Times also reports that the National Institutes of Health, which saw its budget double over the last six years, will receive only a 0.7 percent increase in the President’s request.
The President’s budget is only the first step in the annual budget cycle. Once the President reveals his plan on Monday, the ball shifts to Congress’ court. Congressional and Presidential priorities don’t always line up — as NSF experienced last year. The President requested a 3 percent increase for the agency in his FY 05 request, only to see Congress instead cut the agency by 2 percent in the final omnibus appropriation.
No details yet on directorate by directorate numbers, but we’ll only have to wait until Monday afternoon. Keep it here for all the details as they emerge.

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President to Request Slight Increase for NSF, says NY Times