NY Times: Science Agencies Hurt by Congressional Budgeting

By Cameron
January 8, 2007

Before the New Year, one of the stories we wrote (it is a couple of paragraphs down) was about Congress embracing a full-year “Continuing Resolution” for most federal agencies. They did this because the last Congress only completed 2 of its 13 appropriations bills and decided it would be too complex to pass two sets of annual approprations in one year. As the New York Times writes, the strategy will undercut some gains in funding for these agencies that were supported by Congress:

“The failure of Congress to pass new budgets for the current fiscal year has produced a crisis in science financing that threatens to close major facilities, delay new projects and leave thousands of government scientists out of work, federal and private officials say.

“The consequences for American science will be disastrous,” said Michael S. Lubell, a senior official of the American Physical Society, the world’s largest group of physicists. “The message to young scientists and industry leaders, alike, will be, “Look outside the U.S. if you want to succeed.”

“It’s rather devastating,” said Jeff Nesbit, the foundation’s [National Science Foundation] head of legislative and public affairs. “While $400 million in the grand scheme of things might seem like decimal dust, it’s hugely important for universities that rely on N.S.F. funding.”