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FYI Number 80: July 8, 2002

Appropriators Reject Administration Cuts in USGS FY03 Budget

House and Senate appropriators on the two Interior Subcommittees have rejected the Bush Administration's proposed FY 2003 budget reductions for the U.S. Geological Survey. The Senate bill has been approved by the full Appropriations Committee, and the committee report detailing its recommendations is available. The House Appropriations Subcommittee's bill has not been taken up by the full committee, and so the report has not been released.

Here are the numbers:
The current budget for USGS is $914.0 million.
The Bush Administration's FY 2003 request was $867.3 million.
The House subcommittee's FY 2003 recommendation is $928 million.
The FY 2003 Senate Appropriations Committee figure is $926.7 million.

Senate appropriators made clear their disagreements with the Bush Administration's FY 2003 request and admonished the Administration to change its approach in the preparation of the FY 2004 request. Senate Appropriations Committee report 107-201 states:

"The Committee is dismayed that the budget estimate for the USGS once again recommends large reductions to valuable ongoing programs. Proposals such as the elimination of the Toxic Substances Hydrology program, a significant reduction to the National Water-Quality Assessment program (NAWQA), and the elimination of Federal funding for the Water Resources Research Institutes are but a few of the recommendations included in the budget estimate. The Committee does not agree to the termination or weakening of programs for which there is strong support from a broad constituency, and a demonstrated value through the significant amount of non-Federal funds that are leveraged through most USGS programs. In the Committee's view, it will remain difficult to find the resources to support new directions for the Survey as long as the annual need to restore large amounts to base programs continues. As budget planning gets underway for fiscal year 2004, the Committee urges those involved in the process to bear in mind the expressed public support across the United States for the Survey's programs."

Under the Senate bill, the following changes would be made in the USGS program budgets:

Mapping, Remote Sensing, and Geographic Investigations: This budget would decline 1.7%, or $2.2 million, from $133.3 million to $131.1 million.

Geologic Hazards, Resources and Processes: The budget for this program would increase 2.5%, or $5.8 million, from $232.8 million to $238.7 million.

Water Resources Investigations: The Senate bill provides for an increase of 1.8%, or $3.8 million, from $205.8 million to $209.6 million. Two controversial administration changes were rejected, the Senate committee report stating: "The Committee does not concur with the proposed reductions and has restored programmatic funds as follows: $5,796,000 for the NAWQA program; $13,919,000 for the Toxic Substances Hydrology program, which was proposed for elimination in its current form. . . ." The toxic substances program was to have been moved to the National Science Foundation under the administration's plan.

Biological Resources: The Senate bill includes a 3.5%, or $5.8 million, increase in this program's budget from $166.4 million to $172.2 million.

Science Support: The committee would reduce this budget by 0.6%, or $521,000, from $86.3 million to $85.7 million. The report states: "Changes to the budget request include decreases of $1,625,000 for accessible data transfer work and $1,000,000 for the Enterprise GIS proposal."

Facilities: The Senate bill would reduce funding 0.1%, or $95,000, to $89.4 million.

The House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee passed its bill on June 25. It should go before the full committee in the near future.

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
(301) 209-3095

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