The House of Representatives Budget Committee passed the FY09 budget resolution and a Sense of the House resolution last night reaffirming the importance of S&T funding. The budget resolution provides a large pot of money for the accounts that fund science agencies, including an additional $379 million above the Presidents request for the account that funds NSF. The Sense of the House resolution, a non-binding resolution, says that it is important to fully fund the America COMPETES Act. While this is a good sign of support for science, it’s only the first step that Congress must take to realize these increases as part of the FY 09 appropriations process. And we’ve seen in the past how good first steps don’t necessarily mean the final steps will be equally good. Sense of the House text:
TITLE VISENSE OF THE HOUSE
SEC. 601. SENSE OF THE HOUSE ON THE INNOVATION AGENDA AND AMERICA COMPETES ACT
It is the sense of the House that the House should provide sufficient funding so that our Nation may continue to be the world leader in education, innovation and economic growth; last year, Congress passed and the President signed the America COMPETES Act, bipartisan legislation designed to ensure that American students, teachers, businesses, and workers are pre-pared to continue leading the world in innovation, research, and technology well into the future; this resolution supports the efforts authorized in the America COMPETES Act, providing substantially increased funding above the Presidents requested level for 2009, and increased amounts after 2009 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), and Function 370 (Commerce and Housing Credit), all of which receive more funding than the Presidents budget provides; because Americas greatest resource for innovation resides within classrooms across the country, the increased funding provided in this resolution will support initiatives within the America COMPETES Act to educate tens of thousands of new scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, and place highly qualified teachers in math and science K-12 classrooms; and because independent scientific research provides the foundation for innovation and future technologies, this resolution will keep us on the path toward doubling funding for the National Science Foundation, basic research in the physical sciences, and collaborative research partnerships, and toward achieving energy independence through the develop ment of clean and sustainable alternative energy technologies.
Well have more on the budget resolution as the process moves forward. Stay tuned!