News of the WeekEARMARKING

NSF Shivers at Senate Arctic Research Plan

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Science  01 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5437, pp. 24
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5437.24a

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When Congress earmarks federal funds for a specific institution or project, the process usually begins with the intended beneficiary bending the ear of a sympathetic legislator. But the 2000 budget for the National Science Foundation (NSF) that the Senate passed last week adds a new wrinkle to this already controversial practice: It allocates $25 million for arctic research logistics to an entity that did not request the money, doesn't want it, and says it isn't capable of administering it. NSF officials were also caught off guard by the earmark, which represents a direct assault on the agency's own activities.