Just one week following the State of the Union address where he stressed the importance of spending tax dollars wisely, on 4 February 2008 President Bush released his budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2009 - to the tune of $3.1 trillion, a budget that would impose a $400 billion deficit upon the next administration. Despite its largesse, the FY 09 budget would reduce a number of discretionary programs by millions of dollars. The Department of Defense would see a 7 percent increase in FY 09, while many domestic programs, including food programs for poor children, research assistance to manufacturers, career and technical education grants, weatherization assistance, graduate medical education at children’s hospitals, and a public housing revitalization program would be cut or eliminated. In fact, the Administration proposes that all non-security discretionary funding in the FY 09 budget be held below the rate of inflation.

At a briefing convened by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Dr. John Marburger, Science Adviser to the President, presented the FY 09 Federal Research and Development Budget. For FY 09, the President proposes $147 billion, a three percent increase over the amount enacted in the FY 2008 omnibus appropriations. Of this, $29.3 billion would support basic research with $12.2 billion specifically directed towards basic research in the physical sciences and engineering. During the briefing, Marburger explained that such emphasis on the physical sciences and engineering reflects the goals of the Bush Administration’s American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) which aims to double investments in basic research in these key areas at the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

For a review of ACI, see: http://www.aibs.org/public-policy-reports/20060213.html#001901

For a complete description of the federal funding process, please visit the AIBS Federal Budget Resource at http://www.aibs.org/public-policy/budget_source.html


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