So, the good news this year was that the President and Congress were working from the same set of numbers for the first time in a long time. The bad news is that those numbers are pretty underwhelming. The President introduced his FY15 budget request today, a budget that would remain largely flat — increasing discretionary spending just $2 billion over FY14 ($1.014 trillion in FY15 vs. $1.012 trillion in FY14). NSF would grow just 1 percent (to $7.3 billion) under the “base budget” in the President’s plan. Research at NSF would actually decrease $3 million under the President’s plan ($5.191 billion in FY14 vs. $5.188 billion in FY15). (We’ll have lots more information about NSF’s budget request next Monday when the agency rolls out its detailed budget justification.)
Recognizing that the agreed-to budget caps were overly constraining for all the Administration’s priorities, the President included a $52 billion “wish list” of additional funding proposals — called the “Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative” — that includes increased funding for key science agencies that could be offset by cuts to farm subsidy programs, tax increases on “multi-million dollar retirement accounts,” and other spending cuts and tax increases identified by the Administration. Were that wish list to be approved by Congress, NSF could see an additional $552 million in funding (and R&D agencies overall would see an increase of $5.3 billion) However, congressional Republicans have already declared the wish list DOA.
Funding for other agencies in the President’s base budget is a bit of a mixed bag:
- DOE basic and applied research would be up 6.1 percent in the President’s plan ($8.412 billion in FY 15 vs. $7.932 billion in FY14)
- DOD basic and applied research would see an increase of 4.4 percent ($6.582 billion vs. $6.307 billion
- NIST basic and applied research would increase 3.3 percent ($598 million vs $579 million)
- NIH basic and applied research would increase 0.7 percent ($29.403 billion vs. $29.205 billion)
- Homeland Security basic and applied research would decrease 1 percent ($250 million vs. $251 million).
Keep in mind that the expected inflation rate between FY 2014 and FY 2015 is about 2 percent.
The White House has released an R&D Budget Fact sheet that goes into some of the details.
But we’ll learn more about the agency priorities as the agencies roll out their own budget request over the next week or so.
As always, we’ll have the details as we learn them!