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Congress Ponders Cuts in R&D Programs

Photonics.com
Aug 1999
WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 -- When the US Congress returns from its August recess, it will face a number of proposals for fiscal 2000 that would cut federal support of research and development programs, according to a report by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The AAAS reports that the House of Representatives would cut funding for non-defense R&D by $1.1 billion, a 5.1 percent drop from fiscal 1999 funding levels. Tight budget caps and increased defense spending would lead the House to make cuts in key R&D programs and deny funds for several Clinton administration initiatives. The US Senate has before it spending bills that would provide increases for R&D, however.
The proposals before the House would cut R&D funding for a number of federal agencies, including the Department of Commerce (down 21.5 percent from fiscal 1999 to $844 million), NASA (dropping 7 percent to $9 billion) and the Department of Energy (decreasing 2.9 percent to $6.8 billion). The National Science Foundation, which has seen its funding increase in previous years, would face a cut of 2.4 percent to $2.6 billion. Al Teich, director of AAAS's Science and Policy Programs, commented, Even in a time of expanding federal surpluses, $800 billion tax cut proposals, increased defense spending, a shrinking national debt and plans for new Medicare benefits, Congress is contemplating cuts to R&D and other discretionary programs.


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