The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday completed its markup of the FY 2006 Energy and Water Appropriation bill (HR 2419), which includes funding for the Department of Energy, approving increased funding for DOE’s Office of Science. The House bill would boost the Office of Science budget to $3.67 billion in FY 06, an increase of $66 million over FY 05, and $203 million more than the President requested in his FY 06 budget.
Included in the increase is a $14 million increase to the Advanced Scientific Computational Research program, bringing it to $246 million in FY 06, $39 million above the President’s request. Here is what the committee had to say about the program in the committee report accompanying the bill:
ADVANCED SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING RESEARCH
The Committee recommendation is $246,055,000, an increase of $39,000,000 over the budget request. The additional $39,000,000 is provided to support the Office of Science initiative to develop the hardware, software, and applied mathematics necessary for a leadership-class supercomputer to meet scientific computation needs; not more than $25,000,000 of this increase should be dedicated to hardware, and $9,000,000 of the total increase should be dedicated to competitive university research grants. The Committee is disappointed that the Department’s fiscal year 2006 budget request did not preserve the increases that Congress provided for this purpose during the past two fiscal years. Consistent with guidance provided in prior years, the Committee has chosen not to earmark these additional funds for a particular laboratory or a particular technology. However, the Committee expects the Department to make full use of the laboratory-industry capabilities that have already been selected competitively in previous years and not `reinvent the wheel’ each fiscal year.
This is the first good news for computing researchers in the FY 2006 appropriations cycle, coming after the House approved a slight cut to cyber security research efforts at the Department of Homeland Security.
The House is scheduled to consider the bill on the floor early next week. The Senate hasn’t yet begun work on its version of the bill. Fortunately, support for the Office of Science in the Senate appears pretty strong. A letter urging Senate Appropriators to approve a significant increase to the Office of Science (to $3.7 billion, slightly more than the House approved), received the endorsement of more than 2/3 of the members of the Senate, a strong symbolic show of support for the agency. We’ll keep you apprised of developments as the bill moves forward.