Overview of Fiscal Year 2004 Geoscience Appropriations
On February 3rd, President George W. Bush released his $2.23 trillion fiscal year (FY) 2004 budget request, continuing the administration's goals to improve homeland security, bolster the economy, and fight terrorism. Discretionary spending account for $782 billion of the total budget request -- this level marks $10 billion less than last year's total discretionary spending. Overall, the FY 2004 request looks a lot like the president's FY 2003 request for geoscience-related programs.
Once the president has proposed his budget with the administration's priorities, it is up to Congress to prepare a budget for the nation. Congress begins the budget process by preparing a budget resolution and holding hearings on the rationale behind the administration's proposal. While the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees and authorization committees are holding oversight hearings, the Budget committees use March and April to formulate a budget resolution. On April 11th, Congress agreed to a $2.2 trillion budget resolution that would support $784.4 billion in discretionary spending. Meanwhile, appropriations subcommittees in the House and the Senate continue to hold hearings to gather information to determine an appropriate funding level for federal programs. As in years past, AGI has provided testimony to several subcommittees on programs of importance to the geoscience community.
Or, you can keep up-to-date with the Library of Congress Table on Current Status of FY 2004 Appropriations Bills and the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program table.
On April 11th, the House and Senate came to agreement on a $2.2 trillion budget resolution. The resolution breaks down this amount into general, crosscutting budget functions that include both mandatory and discretionary spending. These broad function accounts are the basis of the so-called 302 allocations that each of the 13 appropriations subcommittees receives as a cap to their spending. All told, the subcommittees will have $784.4 billion in discretionary funds to spend. Function 250, the general science and space account that includes the majority of the funding for NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and science at the Department of Energy, is set at $23.9 billion -- a level that would accommodate (but does guarantee) a $324 million increase for NSF and a $100 million increase for energy science above the presidentially requested levels. Energy supply research is funded through Function 270 that received $2.6 billion in the agreement. The majority of activities at the Department of the Interior are funded through Function 300 (Natural Resources and Environment) that received $29.3 billion in discretionary spending. It will now be up to the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees to decide exactly how much each of the federal programs will receive of the discretionary funds. More at budget.senate.gov and at www.house.gov/budget. (5/6/03)
In the middle of June, the House and Senate Appropriations committee released their recommendations for the general spending levels for the 13 appropriations bills -- the so-called 302(b) allocations. The House supports $785.6 billion for total discretionary spending and the Senate supports $784.7 million for total discretionary spending. Both levels are less than the $787.1 billion that was requested in the president's budget. The House allocations (PDF) and the Senate allocations (PDF) are listed below in millions of dollars:
As in years past, the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Project website has information on trends in federal research and development funding, including information on the president's request, congressional budget resolution, 302(b) allocations, and each science-related appropriations bill. Also, the American Institute of Physics and the American Geophysical Union have released e-mail alerts on the FY2003 budget request. Additional AGI analysis of the President's budget request and congressional action is available on specific appropriations bill webpages and these additional alerts, updates, and articles:
Below is a diagram of the congressional budget process that first appeared in Following the Budget Process that was published in the March 1996 issue of Geotimes. It is adapted from a diagram developed by the House Budget Committee. Click on the image to open a PDF version.
Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Institute of Physics, E&ENews Publications, House Committee on Appropriations, Library of Congress, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Washington Post, and the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributed by Margaret A. Baker, AGI Government Affairs Program.
Last Update August 12, 2003