The House and Senate returned to Washington yesterday, with less than four weeks to go until the start of the new fiscal year. The outlook for the completion of the FY 2008 budget cycle is still very uncertain; the only certainty is that it will not be completed by September 30.
Senate floor scheduling has traditionally been one of the major obstacles to enacting appropriations bills, and it has proven to be so again this year. The House Appropriations Committee has completed work on all twelve of the appropriations bills, and all have been passed by the House. The Senate Appropriations Committee has completed work on all but the defense bill, but only one of these bills - for the Department of Homeland Security - has been passed by the Senate.
There has been no discernable movement in resolving the impasse between the Administration and Congress about FY 2008 funding. The Bush Administration continues to insist on its spending cap for FY 2008, while Congress holds to its spending target that is 2.5 percent higher than the Administration's number.While there is no firm strategy in place, current sentiment favors stop-gap continuing resolution bills to provide current level funding after October 1. Many are predicting that Congress will cut-and-paste the funding bills into a gigantic omnibus bill that would fund FY 2008 discretionary government operations. President Bush would have to decided whether to sign the omnibus, or risk a shutdown of the federal government.
Here is a quick review of the current status of the funding bills tracked by FYI. Note that in all cases the appropriators provided more funding than the Administration requested.
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE:
The House has passed its bill, which contains an overall funding cut of 8.5 percent for basic research, applied research, and advanced technology development as compared to this year. This bill would also limit university basic research indirect cost rates to a maximum of 20 percent. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/081.html
The Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee has not completed its bill. The full Senate may consider the defense appropriations bill early next month.
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION:
The House-passed bill, and the Senate Appropriations Committee bill would keep funding for the department's Math-Science Partnership program essentially flat. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/068.html
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY OFFICE OF SCIENCE:
The House-passed bill would increase the FY 2008 budget of the Office of Science by 18.9 percent. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/060.html
The Senate Appropriations Committee bill would provide an increase of 18.4 percent in the Office of Science budget. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/066.html
The House-passed bill would increase NASA's overall FY 2008 budget by 8.2 percent. The science budget would increase by 4.2 percent. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/080.html
The Senate Appropriations Committee bill would provide an increase of 7.2 percent in the overall NASA budget. The science budget would increase by 5.4 percent. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/073.html
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF BIOMEDICAL IMAGING AND BIOENGINEERING:
The House-passed bill would increase NIBIB funding by 2.2 percent. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/075.html
The Senate Appropriations Committee's bill would increase funding by 2.5 percent. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/069.html
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY:
The House-passed bill would increase total NIST funding by 15.0 percent, and includes funding for the Advanced Technology Program. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/079.html
The Senate Appropriations Committee's bill also includes ATP funding, and would increase the total NIST budget by 27.5 percent. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/072.html
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION:
The House-passed bill would increase NSF's overall budget by 10.0 percent. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/078.html
The Senate Appropriations Committee bill would increase NSF funding by 10.8 percent. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/071.html
U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY:
The House-passed bill would increase USGS funding by 4.5 percent. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/061.html
The Senate Appropriations Committee bill would increase USGS funding by 2.2 percent. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/065.html