The Chairman of the House Budget Committee today released the “chairman’s mark” (both pdf) of his committee’s FY 2008 Congressional Budget Resolution that includes funding caps large enough to accommodate the continuation of funding increases at key federal science agencies called for in both the American Competitiveness Initiative and the Democratic Innovation Agenda. The resolution contains healthy increases in a number of budget accounts designed to allow congressional appropriators the budget “room” to include increases for ACI agencies — National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Department of Energy Office of Science — as well as the National Institutes of Health and additional federal education spending at a variety of agencies.
The overall budget levels are similar to those found in the Senate version of the Congressional Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res 21), which was introduced back on March 15th and is being considered on the Senate floor now. The House bill is a bit more generous for the science accounts, but because of the convoluted way the budget process works, it’s hard to translate either set of numbers to likely actual appropriations.
In each case, it’s enough to know that both the House and Senate budgeters appear to have factored in the requested increases (or greater) for key science agencies in their budgets. (Update below) The House also included “sense of the House” language that really calls out their support for science funding increases:
SENSE OF THE HOUSE ON THE INNOVATION AGENDA: A COMMITMENT TO COMPETITIVENESS TO KEEP AMERICA #1. (a) It is the sense of the House to provide sufficient funding that our Nation may continue to be the world leader in education, innovation and economic growth. This resolution provides $___ [this is still to be determined–PH] above the Presidents requested level for 2008, and additional amounts in subsequent years in Function 250 (General Science, Space and Technology) and Function 270 (Energy). Additional increases for scientific research and education are included in Function 500 (Education, Employment, Training, and Social Services), Function 550 (Health), Function 300 (Environment and Natural Resources), Function 350 (Agriculture), Function 400 (Transportation), and Function 370 (Commerce and Housing Credit), all of which receive more funding than the President requested.
(b) Americas greatest resource for innovation resides within classrooms across the country. The increased funding provided in this resolution will support important initiatives to educate 100,000 new scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, and place highly qualified teachers in math and science K12 classrooms.
(c) Independent scientific research provides the foundation for innovation and future technologies. This resolution will put us on the path toward doubling funding for the National Science Foundation, basic research in the physical sciences across all agencies, and collaborative research partnerships; and toward achieving energy independence through the development of clean and sustainable alternative energy technologies.
Both House and Senate budget chairs believe they have the votes to move the respective resolutions in their chambers. We’ll keep you posted as they move.
For those who like numbers, here are the funding levels for each budget function in the House resolution, and here are the Senate numbers (click on Sec. 103, Major Functional Categories)
Update: (6:14 pm 3/21/07) — It appears I was a little quick in my analysis of the Senate version of the resolution. While the Senate does include increases for some of the budget functions that cover science agencies, it’s not clear those increases would be used for science funding. Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have an amendment to the resolution that will be voted on this evening that would “restore” $1 billion to the resolution for the President’s request and to fund the provisions of the America COMPETES Act. Here’s a press release from Alexander’s office which spells out the detail.
We’ll have more after the vote.
Update 2: (8:19 pm 3/21/07) — The amendment passed overwhelmingly.