FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

Obama Administration Releases FY 2010 Budget Overview

Richard M. Jones
Number 25 - February 27, 2009  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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“Investments in science and technology foster economic growth, create millions of high-tech, high-wage jobs that allow American workers to lead the global economy, improve the quality of life for all Americans, and strengthen our national security.”
- “A New Era of Responsibility: Renewing America’s Promise”

Yesterday President Barack Obama released a 142-page document overview of his FY 2010 budget request. While the details on this $3.6 trillion request will not be available until April, a review of “A New Era of Responsibility: Renewing America’s Promise” finds many references to science. Those numbers which were provided in the overview point to a strong request for many science programs.

This FYI excerpts selections from the overview and provides citations to specific pages with other material. The entire document may be read here under FY 2010 Budget; read the full budget.

The Overview begins with a three-page “President’s Message” that provides Obama’s approach to the FY 2010 budget. It includes these words:

“And we will invest in the science, research, and technology that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new discoveries, and entire new industries.”

“Our universities are still the envy of the world. We are still home to the most brilliant minds, the most creative entrepreneurs, and the most advanced technology and innovation that history has ever known”

The next section of the document is entitled “Inheriting a Legacy of Misplace Priorities.” It contains the following statements:

Failure to Invest in the Future: America’s prosperity has always risen from the ground up, seeded by the hard work and ingenuity of our workers, inventors, and entrepreneurs. But germs of a good idea or a new way of doing business cannot take root and flourish without the Nation preparing the conditions for growth. That takes sound management of the economy; access to capital; and investments in science, technology, and infrastructure. That’s why we built the great landgrant universities as our Nation expanded west, sent the Greatest Generation to college on the G.I. Bill, and invested in science and technology at the height of the Cold War. It’s why previous generations built the Erie Canal at the start of the 19th Century, the transcontinental railroad after the Civil War, and the interstate highway system in the 1950’s. It’s why we electrified rural America during the depths of the Great Depression and laid fiber optic cables in our own time.

“Investing in the future has been critical to long-term economic growth and creating high-paying jobs for our people throughout our history. Yet, over the past several years, we’ve been delinquent in making these down payments on future growth.”

Later in this section, it states:

“Looking forward, we are behind in building the infrastructure that we need to compete in the global, information-age economy and are at risk of losing our Nation’s scientific dominance. Over the last three decades, Federal funding for the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences has declined as a percentage of GDP at a time when other countries are substantially increasing their own research budgets. At one point not long ago, the United States led the world in broadband deployment; now, that leadership is in question. Wireless networks in many countries abroad are faster and more advanced than our own. Our electrical grid is still constructed around the same model of 100 years ago, and in some places is as old. Power interruptions and outages cost Americans at least $80 billion each year. Finally, because of an insistence on putting dogma ahead of science, the United States has fallen behind in some of the most important, cutting edge research such as stem-cell research.”

The section continues:

“Beyond clean energy, we have not kept up with investing in the basic science and research that will power this sector and the entire economy in decades to come. In fact, as a share of GDP, American Federal investment in the physical sciences and engineering research has dropped by half since 1970.”

The next section of the budget document is entitled “Jumpstarting the Economy and Investing for the Future.” It states:

“In addition to immediate hiring and expansion as these projects begin, the American people will reap benefits from these investments for years to come because the economic benefits of modern infrastructure, world-class schools, investments in research and development, health care reform, and clean energy will be enjoyed by generations of Americans. The expenditures in many of these areas then serve a dual role: to revive the economy in the short term and to restore its health for the long term. Through ambitious investments in clean energy, health care, education and other key areas, the plan will address long-ignored national priorities and make a historic down payment on our Nation’s economic future. The 2010 Budget will support, and in some cases extend as well as expand the down payments made in the Recovery Act.”

This section continues under a subheading entitled “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure”:

Invest in the Sciences. Investments in science and technology foster economic growth; create millions of high-tech, high-wage jobs that allow American workers to lead the global economy; improve the quality of life for all Americans; and strengthen our national security. The Recovery Act included a $5 billion investment in key science programs, which is by itself an almost 50-percent increase for these programs over 2008 and represents a significant down-payment toward the President’s plan to double the funding for these agencies over 10 years. Under the President’s doubling plan, the Budget provides a 16-percent increase over 2008 funding levels for the National Science Foundation and similarly large increases for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. The Budget also increases support for promising, but exploratory and high-risk research proposals that could fundamentally improve our understanding of climate, revolutionize fields of science, and lead to radically new technologies. In addition, the Budget funds cutting-edge, fundamental research in traditional and emerging disciplines to help transform the Nation’s air transportation system and to support future aircraft. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) research in aeronautics will focus on how to increase airspace capacity and mobility, enhance aviation safety, and improve aircraft performance while reducing noise, emissions, and fuel consumption.”

Later in this section under “Preparing Our Children for the 21st Century Economy”:

“Triple the Number of Graduate fellowships in Science to help Spur the Next Generation of Home-Grown Scientific Innovation. The industries of tomorrow will begin with ideas dreamed up in the classrooms and laboratories of today. Without investments in human capital today, we will not be able to reap the benefits of scientific innovation. That is why the Administration provided in the Recovery Act funds to be used as a down-payment toward the goal of tripling the number of graduate fellows in science.”

Following this narrative are summaries that are typically two to three pages long on each cabinet department and selected agencies. Note that some of the descriptions include the recently-enacted stimulus legislation funding. Excerpts follow from the cited pdf pages.

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
PDF pages 51 and 52.

Invests in America’s Competitiveness. The Budget supports the Nation’s technology infrastructure by funding advanced measurement and standards development at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These activities will build upon the Recovery Act, which includes $240 million for NIST’s scientific research activities and lab equipment and $180 million for construction of NIST facilities. The 2010 Budget also provides $70 million for the Technology Innovation Program, which invests in high-impact research that will address critical national needs and advance innovation. The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership will receive $125 million to enhance the competitiveness of the Nation’s manufacturers by facilitating the adoption of more efficient manufacturing processes. In addition, Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration will be focused on administering the $4.7 billion provided by the Recovery Act for programs to expand broadband deployment, adoption, and data collection.”

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
PDF pages 63, 64, 65

The first section is entitled:

Invests in the Sciences. As part of the President’s plan to double Federal investment in the basic sciences, the 2010 Budget, along with the $1.6 billion provided in the Recovery Act for the Department of Energy’s basic science programs, provides substantially increased support for the Office of Science. The Budget increases funding for improving our understanding of climate science and continues the United States’ commitment to international science and energy experiments. The Budget also expands graduate fellowship programs that will train students in critical energy-related fields.”

Later:

Reduces Proliferation Risks and Ensures the Safety, Security, and Reliability of the Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Without Nuclear Testing. The Budget supports increased efforts to secure and dispose of nuclear material and invests in innovative science and technology to detect and deter nuclear smuggling and the development of weapons of mass destruction programs. Development work on the Reliable Replacement Warhead will cease, while continued work to improve the nuclear stockpile’s safety, security, and reliability is enhanced with more expansive life extension programs.”

Of note is the following on the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in a concluding section:

Focuses on the Cleanup and Management of Radioactive Waste and Nuclear Materials. The Budget focuses on improved performance and accountability for the environmental legacy of the Nation’s nuclear weapons program by addressing health and safety risks across the country. The Yucca Mountain program will be scaled back to those costs necessary to answer inquiries from the Nuclear regulatory Commission, while the Administration devises a new strategy toward nuclear waste disposal.”

There are also sections on energy and climate change.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
PDF pages 67, 68

Begin the Doubling of Funding for Cancer Research. The Budget includes over $6 billion within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support cancer research. This funding is central to the President’s sustained, multi-year plan to double cancer research. These resources will be committed strategically to have the greatest impact on developing innovative diagnostics, treatments, and cures for cancer. This initiative will build upon the unprecedented $10 billion provided in the Recovery Act, which will support new NIH research in 2009 and 2010.”

NASA and the National Science Foundation are also given two-page descriptions.

NASA:

PDF pages 103-104

The section on NASA provides clear indications of the Obama Administration’s positions on human exploration, the Space Station, and the retirement of the Space Shuttle. A bar graph provides detail on NASA’s budget request as follows:

FY 2008 Budget: $17.2 billion
FY 2009 Projected Budget: $17.8 billion (agrees with Omnibus bill figure)
FY 2010 Projected Budget: $18.7 billion.

The FY 2010 Projected Budget is an increase of $900 million or 5.1 percent.

A notation states: “In addition, the Recovery Act includes $1.0 billion.”

Another notation states: “Provides $18.7 billion for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Combined with the $1 billion provided to the agency in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, this represents a total increase of more than $2.4 billion over the 2008 level.”

Following a chart of Funding Highlights, this section contains the following paragraphs:

Advances Global Climate Change Research and Monitoring. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) investment in Earth science research satellites, airborne sensors, computer models, and analysis has revolutionized scientific knowledge and prediction of climate change and its effects. Using the National Research Council’s recommended priorities for space-based Earth science research as its guide, NASA will develop new space-based research sensors in support of the Administration’s goal to deploy a global climate research and monitoring system. NASA will work to deploy these new sensors expeditiously while coordinating with other Federal agencies to ensure continuity of measurements that have long-term research and applications benefits.”

Funds a Robust Program of Space Exploration Involving Humans and Robots. NASA’s astronauts and robotic spacecraft have been exploring our solar system and the universe for more than 50 years. The Agency will create a new chapter of this legacy as it works to return Americans to the Moon by 2020 as part of a robust human and robotic space exploration program. NASA also will send a broad suite of robotic missions to destinations throughout the solar system and develop a bold new set of astronomical observatories to probe the mysteries of the universe, increasing investment in research, data analysis, and technology development in support of these goals.”

Completes the International Space Station and Advances the Development of New Space Transportation Systems. NASA will fly the Space Shuttle to complete the International Space Station and then retire the Shuttle in 2010; an additional flight may be conducted if it can safely and affordably be flown by the end of 2010. Funds freed from the Shuttle’s retirement will enable the Agency to support development of systems to deliver people and cargo to the International Space Station and the Moon. As part of this effort, NASA will stimulate private-sector development and demonstration of vehicles that may support the Agency’s human crew and cargo space flight requirements.”

Continues Support of the International Space Station. NASA will continue to assemble and utilize the International Space Station, the permanently crewed facility orbiting Earth that enables the Agency to develop, test, and validate critical space exploration technologies and processes. NASA also will continue to coordinate with international partners to make this platform available for other government entities, commercial industry, and academic institutions to conduct research.”

Renews NASA’s Commitment to Aeronautics Research. A strong national program of aeronautics research and technology contributes to the economic well-being and quality of life of American citizens. NASA will renew its commitment to cutting-edge, fundamental research in traditional and emerging disciplines to help transform the Nation’s air transportation system and to support future aircraft. NASA research will increase airspace capacity and mobility, enhance aviation safety, and improve aircraft performance while reducing noise, emissions, and fuel consumption.”

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION:

PDF pages 105 and 106

The NSF section also provides insight into the Obama Administration’s position on NSF. A bar graph provides detail on the foundation’s budget request as follows:

FY 2008 Budget: $6.1 billion
FY 2009 Projected Budget: $6.9 billion (the Omnibus bill figure is $6.5 billion)
FY 2010 Projected Budget: $7.0 billion.

The FY 2010 Projected Budget is an increase, compared to the actual Omnibus Bill figure, of $500 million or 7.7 percent.

A notation states: “In addition, the Recovery Act includes $3.0 billion.

Following a chart of Funding Highlights, this section contains the following paragraphs:

Invests in the Sciences. Investments in science and technology foster economic growth, create millions of high-tech, high-wage jobs that allow American workers to lead the global economy, improve the quality of life for all Americans, and strengthen our national security. For these reasons, the Budget doubles funding for basic research over 10 years, beginning with $3 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and a 2010 Budget that increases NSF funding by $950 million over 2008.”

Supports Researchers at the Beginning of Their Careers. Ensuring America’s economic competitiveness requires that we develop the future scientific and technical workforce for our universities, national labs, and companies. To help accomplish these goals, the Budget provides substantial increases for NSF’s prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship and Faculty Early Career Development programs.”

Strengthens the Education of Technicians in High-Technology Fields. The Budget increases support for the Advanced Technological Education program, which focuses on two-year colleges and supports partnerships between academic institutions and employers to promote improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians.”

Encourages Promising High-Risk Research. The Budget increases support for promising, but exploratory and high-risk research proposals that could fundamentally alter our understanding of nature, revolutionize fields of science, and lead to radically new technologies.”

Makes Climate Change Research and Education a Priority. The Budget supports research to improve our ability to predict future environmental conditions and to develop strategies for responding to global environmental change. The Budget establishes a climate change education program to help develop the next generation of environmentally engaged scientists and engineers.”

This document will be the only budget material available until the Administration releases its full budget document in April. An Office of Management and Budget memo sent last week to department and agency heads states:

“In the coming weeks, you and your representatives will be testifying before Congressional committees in support of the Administration’s FY 2010 Budget and participating in public events focused on budget initiatives. For the period between the February 26 release of the Administration's FY 2010 Budget Overview and the April release of the full FY 2010 President’s Budget, your testimony and public disclosures should be limited to the information contained in the Budget Overview. The agency summaries in the Overview provide highlights of the agency budget; the Overview also describes certain Administration initiatives and other proposals. You should not make commitments about specific programs not specifically mentioned in the Overview or address account level details until the release of the full Budget in April.”

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
rjones@aip.org
301-209-3095