The US Senate and House of Representatives are poised to add billions of dollars to the fiscal year 2008 research and development (R&D) budget, according to a new study by the R&D Budget and Policy Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Much of the proposed new funding will be targeted for environmental, energy and biomedical initiatives, AAAS reports.
Congressional appropriations measures also propose to meet or exceed President Bush’s spending plans for physical sciences research in the American Competitiveness Initiative and for "dramatic expansion" of spending to develop new craft for human space exploration, said Kei Koizumi, the AAAS programme’s director, in a report posted online on 6 August.
The report, updating congressional action on R&D budgets as Congress began its August recess, is available at http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/upd807.htm.
“Because the president has threatened to veto any appropriations bills that exceed his budget request, these R&D increases could disappear or diminish this fall in negotiations between the president and Congress over final funding levels,” Koizumi warned.
According to Koizumi’s latest report, the House has approved all 12 of its 2008 appropriations bills; the Senate Appropriations Committee has drafted 11 of its 12 bills, but the full Senate has approved only the spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security. The Senate still must draft a spending bill for the Department of Defense.
In all, appropriations approved by the House total $144.3bn for R&D – $3.2bn (or 2.3 per cent) more than the current budget and $4bn more than the White House 2008 budget proposal.
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