Issue Date: June 2, 2008
More Money For Science, Maybe
THE SENATE has included $900 million for federal science programs in the war supplemental spending bill (H.R. 2642) it passed on May 22. The additional funds for fiscal 2008 face an uncertain future, however, as they are not part of the House-passed version of the bill and they are part of a Senate domestic-spending amendment that has drawn the ire of the Administration.
The Senate bill would give $400 million to NIH to distribute across all of the agency's 27 institutes and centers. NSF would get $200 million, with $150 million of that money spread across the research directorates and the remaining funds covering shortfalls in various scholarship and fellowship programs. Another $200 million would go to NASA for its science directorate. And $100 million would be directed to the Department of Energy's Office of Science for the fusion energy science and high-energy physics programs. DOE would also receive an additional $300 million for environmental cleanup activities and uranium enrichment.
The Senate bill would also provide $125 million for FDA to bolster the agency's efforts to police imported food.
"There are those who are suggesting we do need domestic spending" as part of the war supplemental spending bill, but "if it is in fact so urgent to have all of this domestic spending considered, you would think Congress would accelerate the appropriations process" rather than sticking it into the supplemental bill, said Office of Management & Budget Director Jim Nussle at a briefing. He stated that the Administration was disappointed that Congress is using the war supplemental bill as a vehicle for additional domestic spending and reiterated President George W. Bush's threat to veto such a bill.
Legislators from both houses will now meet to hash out the differences in the two bills. Once a compromise bill is reached and approved by both houses, it will be sent to the President.
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