NSF FY 2005 Appropriations Update
Conflicting rumors abound regarding the outlook for NSF in the FY 05 appropriations process. As House and Senate negotiators attempt to put the finishing touches on an omnibus appropriations bill by Friday or Saturday, word comes that NSF will likely not fare well in the bill. GovExec.com reports that a bit of rule-bending employed by the Senate to "find" an additional $1.2 billion in funding in their version of the VA-HUD-Independent agencies appropriation bill, which includes funding for NSF, isn't acceptable to the House leadership or the White House budget office. So in order to stay within the budget cap, appropriators will have offset any increase in spending with funding from elsewhere in the bill.
In order to fund the President's lunar/Mars initiative at NASA, it appears other agencies in the bill will bear the brunt. GovExec.com reports that NSF is slated for a $60 million cut overall compared to the agency's FY 2004 funding level, but that "research funding" -- presumably the agency's Research and Related Activities account, which contains funding for NSF CISE -- will "remain frozen" at FY 2004 levels.
So much of our future, economic and otherwise, is dependent on good science that failure to invest now is a great loss to the nation.