FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

Administration Sends FY 2010 Request to Congress

Richard M. Jones
Number 55 - May 8, 2009  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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The Obama Administration sent its FY 2010 budget request to Capitol Hill yesterday. At a noon time briefing, OSTP Director John Holdren reviewed the science and technology components of the request, and told the audience, “we have done better that almost any other constituency.” He went on to say “we have a President who gets it,” and who is “walking the walk,” despite the US being in a “very bad spell economically . . . [in an] “era of stringency.”

Getting a firm handle on the FY 2010 request for science and technology programs is somewhat a work in progress. Holdren explained that the Administration is still calculating how the billions of dollars for S&T programs in the economic stimulus or recovery act will be spent in this and coming fiscal years. The impact of the stimulus funding is, in effect, to provide funding for FY 2010 spending in advance of the enactment of the traditional FY 2010 appropriations bills.

As was true in previous budget requests, the Obama Administration is also noting the impact that congressionally-directed or earmarked funding has in analyzing its budget request. For instance, an OSTP document shows that the NIST laboratories would receive a 1.2 percent budget increase in FY 2010. A footnote then explains, “2010 request is a 14.2 percent increase excluding congressional grants and projects in 2009.”

OSTP has a ten-page document “A Renewed Commitment to Science and Technology - Federal R&D, Technology, and STEM Education in the 2010 Budget” available here as well as four supplemental exhibits. This FYI includes excerpts from the longer document. Future FYIs will provide information from department and agency budget materials of interest to the physics, astronomy, and STEM communities.

“The President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Budget proposes $147.6 billion for the Federal investment in research and development (R&D). That is $555 million or 0.4 percent more than the 2009 enacted level. . . . In 2009, 2009 enacted appropriations and preliminary allocations of Recovery Act funding increase the Federal R&D investment to a record $165.4 billion; Recovery Act funds will be spent in 2009 and 2010. . . . In real terms, the 2009 enacted level and 2010 Budget are among the two largest R&D investments in history. . . . These investments, spread across two dozen Federal departments and independent agencies, reflect the Administration’s recognition that science, technology, and innovation are critical tools for making progress toward the national goals of a prosperous economy, a clean energy future, a healthy American people, and a strong and secure America. The Federal R&D investment also recognizes that the urge to probe more deeply into the unknown and expand the frontiers of human knowledge is at the core of the American experience.”

Basic and Applied Research Funding:

“The 2010 Budget includes a special emphasis on basic and applied research to fundamentally improve our understanding of nature, revolutionize key fields of science, and foster radically new technologies. The Federal research portfolio (comprising basic and applied research) totals $59.0 billion in the 2010 Budget . . . , up $376 million or 0.6 percent compared to the 2009 enacted level (excluding Recovery Act funding). After four years of decline in real terms . . . from 2004 to 2008, the 2009 enacted level and 2010 Budget represent a real dollar turnaround in Federal research investments across the spectrum of the sciences and engineering.”

Development Funding:

“The 2010 Budget provides $84.1 billion in development funding. The Recovery Act and 2009 enacted appropriations provide unprecedented Federal support for R&D facilities and capital equipment totaling $8.2 billion . . . , including support for the construction and renovation of laboratory facilities at government laboratories, contractor-operated national laboratories, and academic institutions as well as competitively awarded funding for the purchase of major research instrumentation. In the 2010 Budget, R&D facilities and capital equipment funding totals $4.5 billion, including substantial support from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; $2.4 billion) for scientific facilities including the International Space Station and the Department of Energy (DOE; $1.2 billion) for a suite of scientific user facilities at DOE laboratories.”

The President's Plan for Science and Innovation:

The Bush Administration called its S&T funding doubling plan the American Competitiveness Initiative. The House leadership had a similar plan called the Innovation Agenda. The Obama Administration will continue the effort to double funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE SC), the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technologies Laboratories, calling it “The President’s Plan for Science and Innovation.”

Page 4 of the OSTP document has an exhibit on the Administration’s plan for “Doubling Funding for Key Basic Research Agencies in the 2010 Budget,” that is accompanied by a figure charting the doubling of basic research funding from FY 2006 to FY 2016. A selection from this page follows:

“The President’s Plan for Science and Innovation and the America COMPETES Act have identified NSF, DOE SC, and NIST as key to our nation’s prosperity and to preserving America’s place as the world leader in science and technology. Although the previous Administration voiced support for efforts to double these agencies’ budgets between 2006 and 2016, these efforts fell short in 2007 and 2008. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act signed by President Obama finally put these agencies back on a doubling trajectory. The 2010 Budget builds on these early Administration accomplishments with a requested $12.6 billion total for NSF, DOE SC, and the NIST labs, an increase of $731 million or 6.1 percent above the 2009 enacted total (excluding Recovery Act funds of $5.2 billion for the three agencies). These substantial increases keep the agencies on track for the fourth year of a ten-year doubling trajectory. In addition, the 2010 Budget establishes projections laying out a clear path to completing the doubling effort in 2016 with $19.5 billion for the three agencies, double the $9.7 billion they received in 2006. Between 2009 and 2016, the Obama Administration’s enacted and proposed budgets would add $42.6 billion to the 2008 budgets for these basic research agencies, with a special emphasis on encouraging high-risk, high-return research and supporting researchers at the beginning of their careers.”

The OSTP document identifies four “key R&D priorities”: Investing in the Sciences for a Prosperous America,” “A Clean Energy Future,” “Healthy Lives for All Americans,” and “A Safe and Secure America.”

The document also provides summary information on three multi-agency research initiatives:

Networking and Information Technology R&D: The Administration requested an increase of 1.l percent or $44 million to $3.9 billion.

Nanotechnology R&D: The Administration requested a reduction of 1.0 percent or $17million to $1.6 million, citing “the proposed elimination of 2009 Department of Defense congressional projects in 2010.”

Climate Change R&D: The Administration requested an increase of 2.3 percent or $46 million to $2.0 billion.

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