PDF _ RL34448 - Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2009
17-Mar-2009; John F. Sargent, Christine M. Matthews, John D. Moteff, Daniel Morgan, Robert Esworthy, Wendy H. Schacht, Pamela W. Smith, Wayne A. Morrissey; 62 p.

Update: Previous Editions:
August 15, 2008

Abstract: President Bush has proposed total research and development (R&D) funding of $147.0 billion in his FY2009 budget request to Congress, a $3.9 billion (2.7%) increase over the estimated FY2008 level of $143.1 billion. Five federal agencies would receive 92.8% of total federal R&D spending: the Department of Defense (54.8%), Department of Health and Human Services (20.1%), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (7.3%), Department of Energy (7.2%), and National Science Foundation (3.5%). The President’s request includes $29.3 billion for basic research, up $847 million (3.0%) from FY2008; $27.1 billion for applied research, down $1.0 billion (-3.6%); $84.0 billion for development, up 1.6 billion (1.9%); and $6.5 billion for R&D facilities and equipment, up $2.5 billion (61.7%). Congress is to play a central role in defining the nation’s R&D priorities, especially with respect to two overarching issues: the extent to which the Federal R&D investment can grow in the context of increased pressure on discretionary spending and how available funding will be prioritized and allocated. A low or negative growth rate in the overall R&D investment may require movement of resources across disciplines, programs, or agencies to address priorities.

The Administration has requested significantly larger percentage increases in the R&D budgets of the three agencies that are part of its American Competitiveness Initiative: the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In 2007, Congress authorized substantial R&D increases for these agencies under the America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69). The President’s budget would reduce R&D funding for four agencies: the Department of Agriculture, down $357 million (-15.5%); the Department of Veterans Affairs, down $76 million (-7.9%); the Department of the Interior, down $59 million (-8.7%); and the Environmental Protection Agency, down $7 million (-1.3%). The FY2009 request includes increases for three multiagency R&D initiatives: the National Nanotechnology Initiative, $1.53 billion, up $35 million (2.4%); the Networking and Information Technology R&D program, $3.57 billion, up $194 million (5.8%); and the Climate Change Science Program, $2.01 billion, up $177 million (9.6%).

For the past two years, federal R&D funding and execution has been affected by mechanisms used to complete the annual appropriations process — the year-long continuing resolution for FY2007 (P.L. 110-5) and the combining of 11 appropriations bills into the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 for FY2008 (P.L. 110-161). For example, FY2008 R&D funding for some agencies and programs is below the level requested by the President and passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. Completion of appropriations after the beginning of each fiscal year has also resulted in delays or cancellation of planned R&D and equipment acquisition.

As of August 2008, only one of the FY2009 regular appropriations bills, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriation, FY2009 (H.R. 6599) has passed the House; none have passed the Senate.

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Topics: Federal Agencies, Legislative, Science & Technology

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