Grim Forecast for U.S. Science Budgets

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Science  09 Jan 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5655, pp. 155
DOI: 10.1126/science.303.5655.155c

Major U.S. science funding agencies won't have much to celebrate in President George W. Bush's upcoming 2005 budget request, early reports indicate. The White House is expected to propose small increases for both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), insiders say.

Biomedical research is one place Bush will slow spending in order to rein in the budget deficit. NIH's raise will likely be 2.5%, according to a knowledgeable source in the advocacy community. NIH's 5-year run of 14% to 16% increases ended this year. A pending 2004 spending bill includes only a 3% boost, to $27.8 billion. A second year of slow growth “would threaten some of the progress made under the doubling,” says Tony Mazzaschi of the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, White House budgeteers have ignored the double-digit increases called for in an NSF reauthorization bill signed by the president last fall. It calls for nearly doubling the agency's budget, to $9.8 billion, by 2007. The new request is expected to be just 2% higher than 2004 levels. Bush will unveil his 2005 budget on 2 February, 2 days after the current extension of the 2003 budget expires.

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