Congress is back from its spring recess. One of its first
tasks is deciding how much money it should provide for science
spending in the FY 2002 budget. The House passed a budget
resolution that mirrored the Bush Administration request. The
Senate adopted an amendment calling for an additional $1.44
billion in some science spending. Both sides are now working
on a final number. While all of this is going on,
appropriations subcommittees in the House and Senate are
holding hearings.

There have been analysis and commentary on the budget since it
was released. The day after the budget submission, the
Democratic membership of the House Science Committee released
an eleven-page analysis
( of the
administration’s request. Their analysis centered on four
major themes:

“The trend toward parity between defense and non-defense R&D,
nearly achieved in FY 2001, has ended;

“The existing imbalance between biomedical R&D and R&D in the
physical sciences has become much more pronounced;

“The budget request stops in its tracks a growing consensus
that the NSF budget should grow by at least the same rate as
the NIH budget;

Cooperative Federal-industry R&D programs fare poorly in the
budget submission.”

Elaborating on these themes, Democrats commented that “the
tilt back toward the Cold War defense/non-defense R&D ratio
seems misplaced. More than anything, it may be a reflection
of the fact that the President has yet to fill the post of
Presidential Science Advisor.”

They continued, “the unbalance between biomedical R&D and R&D
in the physical sciences is further exacerbated in the budget
submission. If there has been a unifying message over the
past three years from those concerned with federal R&D
funding, it has been the warning that biomedical research
itself will suffer if its funding level overwhelms the funding
of the physical sciences. This message has been preached by
university groups, industry organizations like the National
Association of Manufacturers, Newt Gingrich, D. Allan Bromley
(George Bush’s science advisor from 1989-93), and even Harold
Varmus, the former Director of NIH. But the message has gone
unheeded in this White House. The President’s FY 2002 budget
provides a $2.751 billion increase for NIH. All other
civilian R&D programs receive a $1.2 billion reduction.”

The Democrats also criticize the 1.3% increase requested for
NSF for “completely derailing the five-year doubling path that
was started in FY 2001,” and question the requests for various
cooperative Federal-industry R&D programs.

A different perspective on the Bush S&T request was given at
an AAAS forum by Marcus Peacock, Associate Director for
Natural Resources, Energy, and Science at the Office of
Management and Budget. Peacock began his presentation by
describing the “very compressed time schedule” the new
administration had for the preparation of the request.
Peacock said that it was “important to look at the whole
picture,” and went on to call the current fiscal year
“unusual.” He noted that the administration was moderating
the growth of government spending, which would have increased
by $1.4 trillion in additional spending over ten years as
compared to the administration’s recommendation. With a
series of graphics, Peacock illustrated how private sector R&D
accounts for most national R&D spending, with future private
spending being promoted, he contended, by the proposed
permanent extension of the R&E tax credit. Peacock said that
R&D is “a clear priority” in the Bush request, with its
proposed growth rate exceeding that of the growth in all
discretionary spending.

Of interest was a graphic used by Peacock entitled “Major
Research Agencies. Constitute 90% of Research Spending, Show
Big Increases Since FY 2000.” The comparison to 2000,
instead of 2001 seems to indicate the perspective the Bush
Administration has taken toward R&D budget increases. While
some of the listed agencies, such as NSF and DOE Science would
have double-digit increases over the two-year time span, which
Peacock emphasized, there was much less attention given to a
column on this same chart which showed that NSF would have a
1% increase in the new fiscal year, while DOE Science would
decline 2%, as compared to 2001.

Also of note was a graphic entitled “R&D Balance. In Addition
to Life Sciences, Other Disciplines Have Done Well.” Showing
an upward slope was funding for Life Sciences, with a much
steeper increase for Mathematics and Computer Sciences. The
budget for Environmental Sciences had uneven growth. The
budget history for Physical Sciences was not included in this

Peacock spoke of various R&D highlights in the FY 2002
submission, some of which are of direct interest to the
physics and astronomy community. Nanoscale Science,
Engineering and Technology spending would increase 16%, the
Earth Observing System Follow-on Program would increase 136%,
and NIST internal research would increase 11%.

Another perspective on the budget was released on the day of
the forum by the American Association for the Advancement of
Science. Among the findings of this analysis: “The request
for total federal R&D in FY 2002 is a record $95.3 billion,
$5.2 billion or 5.8 percent more than FY 2001 . . . The
proposed increases for DOD ($3.6 billion) and NIH ($2.7
billion) account for more than the overall $5.2 billion
increase, leaving all other R&D funding agencies combined with
less money than in FY 2001.” The analysis later states that
if NIH is excluded, all other nondefense R&D spending would
fall 4.2% in the Bush request.

The AAAS analysis contains a wealth of data, and can be
accessed at It concludes, “For
federal R&D programs, the only thing certain is that NIH will
eventually receive its requested $23.1 billion, and perhaps
even more. For other agencies, congressional appropriators
may disagree with the President, and the flat or declining
funding for most nondefense R&D programs may change before the
FY 2002 budget process is over. But with momentum building
for some form of a large tax cut and the real possibility of
an economic slowdown depressing tax revenues, R&D and other
programs will face steep competition in the annual race for


Richard M .Jones

Public Information Division

The American Institute of Physics

(301) 209-3095