[FPSPACE] NASA vs Science in the budget
zirconic1 at earthlink.net
Tue Dec 7 11:20:34 EST 2004
The National Science Foundation, a major conduit for government funding for basic research in science and technology, science education and construction and maintenance of scientific installations such as the U.S. outpost at the South Pole, was funded for $5.5 billion for 2005, $105 million below 2004 and $278 million below Bush's request.
Even though the cut was 1.88 percent below last year it was the largest dollar loss NSF has suffered in its 54-year history. House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman James T. Walsh (R-N.Y.) nonetheless said he was happy "that we didn't have to cut more."
The biggest single hits came in NSF's research grants ($30 million) and science education programs ($30 million). In most areas, conferees left it up to NSF to determine how it wanted to spread the misery.
NASA earned two special distinctions for 2005. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's threat to scuttle the omnibus bill unless Congress fully funded Bush's "Vision for Space Exploration" to the moon and Mars made the agency the last potential "deal breaker" of the spending negotiations.
And because DeLay (R-Tex.) won the day, NASA became one of the few non-security-related federal agencies to earn a raise -- to $16.2 billion, 5.6 percent over 2004.
The money advantage may prove illusory, however, because NASA now has obligations it did not anticipate in its original budget proposal: to prepare the space shuttle; to repair the Hubble Space Telescope; and to pay for 149 earmarked projects, including everything from $1.75 million for photonics research at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, to $1 million for the Virginia Air and Space Museum, in Norfolk.
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