Congress appears poised to increase funding for the U.S. Geological Survey for FY 2002, despite the Bush Administration's attempt to cut the agency's FY 2002 budget by almost 8%. This outcome follows the action taken by the Senate Appropriations Committee last Thursday, and earlier floor action in the House.
The House bill would increase funding for USGS by 2.3% in FY 2002. The Senate bill would increase the budget by 1.4%.
Both outcomes were telegraphed in April hearings. Interior Secretary Gale Norton ran into tough questioning from subcommittee appropriators on both sides of the aisle and the Capitol about the proposed cuts in the survey's budget for next year. Members were concerned about what reductions would mean in USGS core and related activities, and did not seem assuaged by the Secretary's assurances. The House Committee report reflects this concern, stating:
"The Committee restored a number of high-priority research programs that were proposed for reduction or elimination. The Committee believes that the Department of the Interior and other Federal agencies should make resource decisions based on the best science available. The Survey's principal goals and objectives should include an appropriate mix of basic and applied science that address both the needs of the Department of the Interior as well as important scientific issues of national concern."
Senate Appropriations Chairman Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) stated that
"the bill restores funding for the vital national science programs conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey."
The USGS budget has six major components:
The National Mapping Program budget in FY 2002 would remain basically flat under both bills, the House bill providing a small increase; the Senate bill a small decrease.
The Geologic Hazards, Resources, and Processes FY 2002 budget would increase 1.8% under the Senate bill and 1.3% under the House bill.
The Water Resources Investigations budget for next year would decline 1.3% in the Senate bill, and increase by 1.0% in the House version.
The FY 2002 Biological Research budget would increase 2.4% under the Senate bill and 1.8% in the House bill.
Science Support would increase 10.3% in the Senate bill in FY 2002 and 17.1% in the House bill.
The FY 2002 Facilities budget would decline 2.8% in the Senate bill and 3.1% in the House bill.
Committee report language in both versions of the bill earmarks projects.
The report language for both bills is available here. The House Report is 107-93; the Senate Report is 107-36.