[CRS Issue Brief for Congress]

96014: Research and Development Funding: Fiscal Year 1997

Updated January 2, 1997

Michael E. Davey
Science Policy Research Division

CONTENTS

SUMMARY

MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS

Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Department of Energy (DOE)
Department of Defense (DOD)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Department of Commerce (DOC)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Department of the Interior (DOI)
Department of Transportation (DOT)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


SUMMARY

President Clinton requests $72.268 billion for FY1996 R&D, a 2.1% increase over the FY1996 CRS-estimated level. According to the Administration, in FY1997 civilian R&D would increase 3% to $34.404 billion, while defense-related R&D would remain flat at $38.275 billion. The Administration requests $14.327 billion for basic research, 2% over the current estimated level for FY1996. All comparisons are with FY1996 levels.

For FY1997, CRS estimates that Congress approved $73.750 billion for R&D, an increase of 3.2% over FY1996. Civilian R&D is estimated to increase to $34.365 billion, an increase of about 1%, while defense R&D would increase to $39.385 billion, almost 5.5% above FY1996.

The only two agencies that received R&D increases above inflation for FY1997 were DOD and NIH. Together, these two agencies account for 67% of all federal R&D funding. As part of the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Bill (P.L. 104-208), funding for DOD's RDT&E programs is to increase $36,733, 5.4% over what DOD had available in FY1996 despite provisions in the bill that call for about a $700 million reduction in RDT&E for FY1997. Congress increased funding for DOD's science and technology programs by 4% providing $7.9 billion.

NIH is the only civilian R&D agency that received an increase above inflation, with Congress approving $12.747 billion, a 6.9% increase over FY1996. AIDS-related research increased $95 million (6.8%) to $1.5 billion. Despite NIH's large increase, overall federal spending for Civilian R&D is estimated to decline 1.6% in real terms.

NSF's overall budget of $3.270 represents about a 1% increase. However, the research and related activities' account (comprising the bulk of NSF money that goes to universities) increased 5.1% ($118 million) over FY1996, but $40 million below the President's request.

Congress continues to cut DOE's civilian R&D programs (3.1%); for FY1997 Congress cut DOE's civilian energy and science and technology programs by 11%. DOE's defense R&D programs received an increase of 6.8%, $161 million above FY1996.

Overall spending for R&D in NASA also continues to decline, with Congress approving $7.817 billion, or about $264 million below FY1996 estimated levels. Finally, in the area of technology policy, while Congress approved a slight increase for NIST, the final figure of $588 million is still $238 million below what the President had requested.

Funding for basic research continues to enjoy congressional support reaching an estimated $14.825 billion in FY1997, an increase of 2.7% over FY1996. Almost all of this growth can be attributed to the large increase in NIH's budget. Further, many in the scientific community were relieved that nondefense R&D only declined 4.1%, in real terms, between FY1995 and FY1997; rather than the 10% to 15% percent that had been predicted at the start of the 104th Congress. However, if you subtract out NIH funding, which increased 7.2%, in real terms, funding for the remaining civilian R&D programs declined 9.6%, in real terms, over this 3-year period.


MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

On March 19, 1996, President Clinton unveiled his proposed FY1997 R&D budget, requesting $72.268 billion, a 2.1% increase over FY1996. On May 30, the House approved the Omnibus Civilian Science Authorization Act of 1996, H.R. 3322. The President's FY1997 budget request would cut total R&D by almost 16.2%, in real terms, by FY2002. The House and Senate conference report for the FY1997 budget resolution (H.Con.Res. 178, H.Rept. 104-612) would cut total R&D 17.3% by FY2002, in real terms. On September 28, Congress approved the House conference report (H.Rept. 104-863) on H.R. 3610, which completed the FY1997 appropriations process for a number of federal agencies. P.L. 104-208, Making Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations for FY1997, was signed by the President on September 28. CRS estimates that Congress approved $73.750 billion for R&D, 1.7% above the President's request. For defense R&D, Congress approved 5.6% more than the President requested, but 2.6% less than what he requested for civilian R&D.


BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS

Department of Agriculture (USDA)

On August 6, 1996, President Clinton signed into law H.R. 3603 (P.L. 104-180), the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, FY1997 (see Table 1). The FY1997 appropriation for research and education in the Department of Agriculture (USDA) totals $1,847.8 million, a 3.7% increase ($65.9 million) above the FY1996 estimate of $1,781.9 million. The FY1997 appropriation includes several high priority research activities of the agency -- integrated pest management, food safety, preservation and expansion of genetic resource collections, and livestock waste utilization management.

The Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994, P.L. 103-354, restructured the USDA along mission lines. One of the offices established as a result is the Office of Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics. This office is responsible for all activities of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), the Economic Research Service (ERS), and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Research and education programs are presented based on these four departments.

The USDA conducts in-house basic and applied research. The ARS is the lead federal agency for nutrition research, operating five major laboratories focused primarily on this type of research. Other ARS laboratories focus on efficient food and fiber production, preservation of genetic resources, development of new products and uses for agricultural commodities, development of effective biocontrols for pest management, and support of USDA regulatory and technical assistance programs. The ARS has 105 research laboratories throughout the United States and abroad. The FY1997 appropriation provides $785.9 million for ARS, a 6.2% increase ($45.7 million) over the FY1996 estimate. The majority of the facilities in the ARS, constructed prior to 1960, have become functionally obsolete. Support for the ARS includes $69.1 million for buildings and facilities, more than double the support provided in FY1996 ($30.2 million) yet 13.7% below the Administration's request ($80.1 million). The level of funding for FY1997 is intended to modernize 10 priority ARS laboratories and bring them up to current health and safety standards.

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The CSREES distributes funds to universities and organizations that conduct agricultural research. Funding is distributed to the states through competitive awards, formula funding, and other means. The FY1997 CSREES appropriation is $908.6 million, a slight increase of $1.1 million above the FY1996 estimate. Support in FY1997 for formula distribution to the state agricultural experiment stations (and other eligible institutions) through the Hatch Act is to be maintained at its FY1996 level of $168.7 million. Funding for the 1890 institutions (historically black colleges and universities) through the Evans-Allen formula for FY1997 will also reflect level funding and be maintained at $27.7 million for FY1997. Both the Evans-Allen formula and the Hatch Act grants provide non-earmarked funding for research in food and agricultural sciences and forestry. A significant feature of the Administration's FY1997 request was increased support for the National Research Initiative (NRI) Competitive Grants Program. The Administration had requested $130 million for the NRI, a 34.4% increase over the FY1996 estimate of $96.7 million. The conference committee, however, provided $94.2 million for the NRI in FY1997. In addition, language stipulates that 10% of the competitive research grants be used for the USDA's experimental program to stimulate competitive research (EPSCoR). Included in the FY1997 CSREES appropriation is $61.6 million for buildings and facilities. It is anticipated that 14 facilities would be completed with this level of funding. Conferees stated that any unfinished university project should seek additional funding from other federal sources.

Department of Energy (DOE)

The FY1997 Department of Energy (DOE) requested $7,014.3 million for civilian and defense R&D in FY1997, a $62.8 million or 0.9% increase from FY1996 (see Table 2). The final appropriation is $274.6 million or 3.9% below the request. All of the reductions appear in the civilian programs since appropriations for DOE defense programs exceed requested amounts. The full DOE appropriations are contained in the Energy and Water Appropriations Act of 1996 (H.R. 3816, H.Rept. 104-782) and a continuing resolution, attached to the Defense appropriations bill, (H.R.3610, H.Rept. 104-863). Both were signed by the President on September 30, 1996.

For Stockpile Stewardship under Defense Programs, the Administration requested an $81 million or 5% increase on top of an $88 million increase in FY1996. Included are requests for a $37 million increase in the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI), and a $130 million increase for construction and operation of the National Ignition Facility (NIF). The final appropriation provides an additional $80 million including the full request for NIF. The ASCI will receive an increase of $30 million, technology transfer an additional $10 million, and the remaining is for other parts of the core program.

For Renewable Energy R&D the request sought a $75 million or 29% increase. The final appropriation was 25.7% below the request, continuing the trend started last year where Congress cut sharply the Administration's request. The amount is only slightly below the FY1996 appropriation, however, as floor action added funds to the Committees' recommendations. In the House, $42.1 million was added in this manner. Such actions suggest there is a baseline of support for DOE's renewable energy research within Congress. The subprograms receiving the largest cuts are those considered to be primarily technology development.

For Fusion Energy Sciences, the request was $255.6 including a contribution of $55 million to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) design program. Congress appropriated $232.5 million including funds for program direction and computer support which DOE had placed in a different part of its budget request. The DOE request for these two items was $16 million. Congress, however, gave DOE full discretion on how to allocate the appropriation. The net reduction from the request, therefore, is about $39 million and $11.6 million from the comparable appropriation in FY1996. Congress also specified that DOE should continue participation in the engineering design activity of ITER until its completion in FY1998.

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In the basic research programs -- General Science and Research, Basic Energy Science and Biological and Environmental Sciences -- the final appropriations are near the requests reflecting continued congressional support of basic research. Language in separate House and Senate reports, however, stated that future year budgets would not be growing so DOE should be cautious about any new large commitments.

For Conservation, the final appropriation provided a slight increase over FY1996 of 0.4%, although it was 25.8% below the request. The cuts are not concentrated in any one activity but occurred in each of the three subprograms. The House, in its report, criticized DOE for inadequate justification for the large increase it requested.

For Fossil Energy, the final appropriation is $16.2 million above the request. It is the only civilian program in DOE to receive more than requested. The amount, however, is $52.3 million or 12.5% below the FY1996 appropriation. Most of the increase over the request is for advanced turbine research which is important for electricity generation in the emerging de-regulated environment. Finally, the Congress did not appropriate any new funds for the Clean Coal Technology program but did allow $123 million of the $637.9 million rescission and deferral of previously appropriated funds requested by DOE.

Department of Defense (DOD)

The Administration requested $34.7 billion for FY1997 Department of Defense (DOD) Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E), detailed in Table 3. The request would have reduced defense RDT&E by about 5% from the FY1996 funding level enacted last year ($36.5 billion), and was an attempt to reverse many of the congressional increases added in the FY1996 appropriations. Congress, however, voted to increase FY1997 defense RDT&E by about 3% above what it appropriated last year, authorizing $37.3 billion (H.R. 3230, Conference Report 104-563) and appropriating $37.4 billion. However, in negotiating the final defense appropriation bill, which included omnibus appropriations for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, State, Judiciary, and related agencies (H.R. 3610, Conference Report 104-863), Congress voted for a general reduction of $680 million from DOD's RDT&E account. Those cuts are to be distributed as follows: $101.2 million from the Army, $164.1 million form the Navy, $289.9 million from the Air Force, $119.4 million from Defense Agencies, and $5.6 million from development test and evaluation. Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) programs are exempt from any cuts. In addition, Congress reduced RDT&E by an additional $34 million in order to help provide $230 million for counter-terrorism programs, $8 million of which would go back to RDT&E for research and development in counter-terrorism technology. Therefore, the final FY1997 RDT&E appropriation is estimated to be $36.7 billion.

Congress added $850 million to the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) RDT&E programs. The Administration's BMD request would have returned the BMD program nearly back to FY1995 levels. Congress had increased BMD funding 23% above the Administration's request in FY1996. The Administration continues to emphasize Theater Missile Defenses (TMD), intended to protect U.S. forces in overseas locations against short and medium range missiles. TMD systems in development include the Theater High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD), Navy lower and upper tier systems, and Patriot upgrades. The other main BMD program element is a National Missile Defense (NMD) system intended to protect U.S. territory from ballistic missile attack. NMD projects include a ground-based interceptor and a battle management system. The Administration intends to develop a "technologically feasible" NMD system by FY2000 so that it could deploy within 3 years after a decision is made in year 2000. The President, concerned about potential violation of the ABM treaty, vetoed the provision in the FY1996 legislation to accelerate NMD deployment. Congress, however, continues to press forward with NMD funding, adding $325 million, but omitting language that might infringe on the ABM Treaty. Congress also instructed the Department to study the possibility of converting old Minuteman III boosters (due to be scrapped as a result of arms control agreements with the Russians) as a near-term booster for the ground based interceptor. Congress also added $246 million to the Navy upper tier program and $195 million to THAAD, to accelerate TMD development.

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The Administration's request included $7.2 billion for the science and technology (S&T) portion of RDT&E, i.e. the first three budget activities in the lower half of Table 3, a 6.5% decrease from FY1996 levels. Congress appropriated $7.9 billion. This does not include the S&T's share of the general reduction. Specific increases included BMD programs and Army and Navy medical and environmental technology program accounts. The Service's basic research grants/contracts requests were each reduced by $20 million to $25 million, although the University Research Initiative was increased by $20 million above the request.

The Administration's largest requests include the development of new systems and the upgrading of existing systems in an effort to begin modernizing equipment. Examples include: the Air Force F-22 fighter aircraft ($2.0 billion), Milstar satellite communications system ($700 million), B-2 bomber ($528 million), the Navy V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft ($577 million), F/A-18 tactical fighter squadrons ($425 million), and Joint Advanced Strike Technology ($247 million for Navy and $264 million for Air Force). For the most part, Congress supported these programs and increased some (e.g., Comanche, B-2, F-18). The F-22 program, however, was reduced $96 million below the request.

In the area of dual-use technology programs, the Administration requested $250 million for a new Dual Use Applications Program (DUAP) and $48 million a new Commercial Technology Insertion (CTI) program. Congress appropriated $185 million to the DUAP and $10 million for CTI.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) FY1997 budget request was $13.804 billion, an $80 million decrease below the agency's FY1996 operating level of $13.885 billion. Of the total FY1997 request, $7.912 billion was for R&D, a 2.08% decrease below the FY1996 R&D level of $8.08 billion (see Table 4).

Although the FY1997 request levels were flat compared with FY1996, the Administration's outyear funding projections raised concern inside the agency and in Congress. In these projections, NASA's budget would decline to a FY2000 level of $11.6 billion. In estimating NASA's outyear funding levels, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) protected several programs from future cuts, including the Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE) program and the International Space Station (ISS). R&D areas such as space science and space access and technology were left at risk. Such priorities put the Administration at odds with some in Congress. Although both maintain that ISS funding is a priority, funding for MTPE has been controversial. MTPE is one of the top NASA priorities of the Administration and they oppose any cuts to the program. Some House Republican Members want the program scaled back because they believe MTPE may be based on political agendas rather than scientific concerns and that the program is unaffordable in the near-term as currently designed. The Senate, however, strongly supports MTPE.

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On May 30, the House passed the Omnibus Civilian Science Authorization Act of 1996 (H.R. 3322). In this bill, the House recommended authorizing $13.496 billion for NASA of which $7.708 billion was for R&D, a $204 million reduction from the R&D request. As was the case for FY1996, the House pitted MTPE funding against NASA's other space science programs. A reduction of $373.7 million was taken from MTPE, but $250.1 million was added to space science programs. On June 6, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee marked up its version of the NASA FY1997 authorization bill (S. 1839). The Committee recommended funding NASA at $13.703 billion, $7.81 billion for R&D. ISS and MTPE would be fully funded. The action on MTPE was in stark contrast to House mark on the program. Because of the disagreement on MTPE funding and other issues, no further action was taken on NASA authorization bills before Congress adjourned.

On June 26, the House passed the VA-HUD-IA FY1997 appropriations bill (H.R. 3666). The House recommended funding NASA at $13.55 billion. Of this total, $7.681 billion was for R&D. The bill included a $220 million reduction in MTPE. On September 5, the Senate passed its version of H.R. 3666. The Senate recommended funding NASA at $13.704 billion, $7.812 billion for R&D. A general reduction of $100 million was taken from the science, aeronautics, and technology funding category. On September 18 appropriations conferees agreed to the Senate funding level for R&D of $7.812 billion (H.Rept. 104-812). No reduction is explicitly made to MTPE, except for a $5 million reduction to the GLOBE project. The House and Senate passed the conference report on September 24 and 25, respectively, and the President signed the bill September 26 (P.L. 104-204). On September 30, the President signed the FY1997 Omnibus Appropriations Act (P.L. 104-208) which includes $5 million for GLOBE. As a result NASA's FY1997 R&D level is $7.817 billion. The agency will have to determine where to take the $95 million reduction from its R&D programs.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The FY1997 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill (H.R. 3755, H.Rept. 104-659) was passed by the House on July 12, 1996, and was reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee (S.Rept. 104-368) on September 12, but did not go to the Senate floor. A conference agreement was included in the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, 1997 (P.L. 104-208, H.Rept. 104-863 on H.R. 3610). Funding for NIH totals $12.747 billion (the same as the House level), an increase of $820 million or 6.9% over the revised FY1996 appropriation of $11.928 billion (see Table 5). The Senate committee had recommended $12.415 billion, an increase of $487 million or 4.1% over FY1996 ($333 million below the House allowance). The President's revised FY1997 budget request for NIH was $12.377 billion, an increase of $449 million or 3.8% over FY1996. The request included $310 million for the total construction costs of a new Clinical Research Center, while the final appropriation gives only $90 million as a "downpayment" on the multi-year construction project. In the request, the FY1997 amount for "program costs" (leaving out the Buildings and Facilities account) was $11.986 billion, $205 million or 1.7% above the projected FY1996 program costs of $11.781 billion. This small increase caused concern in the biomedical research community because the projected FY1997 biomedical research price index was 3.7%. In the appropriation, the increase for program costs is 6.5%. NIH received its FY1996 appropriation in a continuing resolution enacted January 6, 1996 (P.L. 104-91), but it was also affected by several provisions of the FY1996 omnibus appropriations and rescissions law enacted April 26, 1996 (P.L. 104-134, H.R. 3019). The original FY1996 appropriation was $11.939 billion, a 5.8% increase over the FY1995 amount of $11.284 billion, but rescissions totaling $11.4 million made the revised appropriation $11.928 billion, a 5.7% increase ($643 million) over FY1995.

In providing additional resources to NIH beyond the requested level, the conference agreement maintained the focus on NIH's two highest priorities --construction of a new Clinical Research Center (CRC), and funding of extramural research through investigator-initiated research project grants. The infrastructure for NIH's clinical research program is its Clinical Center, which is over 40 years old and rapidly becoming obsolete. The Buildings and Facilities account received a 36.8% increase to allow NIH to commence construction of a smaller replacement hospital and associated laboratories. A recent report reviewing Clinical Center operations recommended numerous changes in the way it is governed, funded, and managed; these changes will be fully implemented after the new CRC is built. In addition, the conference agreement gave NIH authority to bill third-party insurers for non-research-related patient services rendered in the Clinical Center.

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NIH plans to emphasize five areas of research: brain disorders; pathogenesis (disease origins and development); preventive strategies against disease; genetic medicine; and advanced instrumentation and computers. The Human Genome Center was increased 11.7%, and the remaining institutes and centers received increases ranging from 5.0% to 7.6%. The Office of the Director was given a 10.4% increase to fund several initiatives mentioned in the appropriations committee reports, including those on pediatric research and on neurodegenerative diseases, as well as increases for the Office of AIDS Research, the Office of Alternative Medicine, the Office of Rare Disease Research, and other activities. The committee reports did not specify levels of support for individual funding mechanisms, such as research grants, training grants, contracts, or intramural research. The House report expressed concern about the quality of small business grants, as measured by peer review scores, being lower than other types of grants. The House bill required parity of scores among pools of funded grants, but the conference agreement deleted this provision, while noting steps NIH is taking to address such concerns. The conference agreement continued an FY1996 ban on human embryo research.

The appropriation funds AIDS-related research at an estimated total of $1.5 billion, an increase of $95 million (6.8%) over the FY1996 estimate. The conference agreement resolved a controversy over the budgetary role of the Office of AIDS Research (OAR) and the desirability of congressional earmarking of a specific amount for AIDS. The agreement appropriated AIDS funds directly to the institutes and centers (rather than to a consolidated OAR account, as had been requested), but also provided that the total amount (determined by the Directors of NIH and OAR) be allocated to OAR for distribution to the institutes consistent with the AIDS research plan that OAR coordinates. The two Directors were also given authority to shift up to three percent of AIDS research funding between institutes and centers. The agreement preserved NIH's flexibility to respond to changing scientific opportunities.

For further information on NIH, see CRS Report 95-96 SPR, The National Institutes of Health: An Overview.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

On September 26, 1996, President Clinton signed into law P.L. 104-204, Departments of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, FY1997 (H.R. 3666). The FY1997 appropriation for the National Science Foundation (NSF) is $3,270 million, a 1.6% increase ($50 million) above the FY1996 estimate and a 1.7% decrease ($55 million) from the Administration's FY1997 request. (See Table 6). Included in the FY1997 appropriation is $2,432 million for Research and Related Activities (R&RA), a 5.1% ($118 million) increase over the FY1996 estimate and a $40 million decrease from the Administration's FY1997 request. Conferees indicated that the $40 million reduction in the R&RA from that which was requested should be allocated by the NSF in accordance with internal procedures, yet subject to the approval of the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations.

In presenting the FY1997 request, NSF Director Neal Lane acknowledged that many difficult decisions had to be made in order to achieve the appropriate balance in the portfolio of investments for the agency. A major shift resulting from this decision making process was the proposed elimination of the $50 million facilities modernization portion of the Academic Research Infrastructure (ARI) program. The NSF concluded that academic facilities modernization was not a core responsibility of the agency. (The core responsibility was determined to be support of national, highly specialized, shared-use facilities). Lane noted that while there is a recognizable need for modernization of academic infrastructure, support could better be provided at the State, local, and institutional level. The additional $50 million in the ARI for instrumentation that appeared in FY1996 has been retained and folded into R&RA for FY1997. Language included in the conference report (H.Rept. 104-812) directs that $50 million in the R&RA be reserved for large-scale academic research instrumentation. Also, up to $1.4 million is to held in reserve prior to directorate allocations and made available as a contingency to satisfy possible tariff requirements related to the Gemini telescope project.

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The Major Research Equipment (MRE) Account is to be funded at $80 million in FY1997, $10 million above the FY1996 estimate, and $15 million below the Administration's request. Two projects currently comprise this account: construction of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the South Pole Safety Project. (Funding for construction of the Gemini 8-meter telescopes which had been in the MRE, was completed in FY1995). The conferees determined that the level of support provided LIGO, $55 million, would enable the project to move toward completion of construction in FY1998 and transition to operations in FY1999. The $25 million appropriated the South Pole safety project for FY1997 would address the health, safety, and environmental conditions at the research station. (A 1993 code inspection revealed more than 300 deficiencies). Conferees stated that the funding would be directed toward heavy maintenance facility, powerplant upgrade, and fuel storage facilities.

The FY1997 appropriation for the Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR) is $619 million, the same as the Administration's request and $20 million above (3.3%) the FY1996 estimate. Conferees proposed reductions in various programs in the EHR which are to serve as a "guidance to the NSF". However, the funding levels are subject to both established reprogramming procedures of the agency and to the approval of House and Senate Approbations Committees. The reductions include $2 million from grants for graduate fellowships, $3 million from research, evaluation, and communication, $2.5 million from K-12 curriculum and assessment development, and $5 million from grants for undergraduate curriculum development. These reductions allowed for increases in other programs. Support for informal science education was increased by $10 million for a total appropriation of $36 million. The additional support would be directed toward systemic reform efforts. Funding for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) was increased also by $2.5 million for a total appropriation of $38.4 million. (EPSCoR is designed to enable institutions to improve their research infrastructure and to successfully compete for basic science grants). Language directed that the increase be used for advanced computing, networking and joint projects.

Department of Commerce (DOC)

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

On July 24, 1996, the House passed H.R. 3814 (H.Rept. 104-676), the FY1997 Commerce, State, and Judiciary appropriations bill, providing a NIST FY1997 appropriation of $468.4 million (see Table 7). This included: $268 million for STRS; $110.5 million for the ATP; $89.9 million for the MEP; and no funding for the construction of research facilities account. Regarding the ATP, H.R. 3814 specified that funding shall not be used for new competitions, can be provided only for continuation grants for competitions completed prior to October 1995, and may be provided only to small businesses. H.R. 3814 further stated that ATP funds are provided for the purpose of closing out all commitments for the program. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of H.R. 3814 on August 1, 1996 (S.Rept. 104-353). The Committee provided $445.3 million, including: $270.4 million for STRS, $60 million for ATP, $99.9 million for MEP, $15 million for construction in FY1997, and a $31.8 million rescission of FY1995 construction funds. While the Committee report stated that ATP funds may only be used to finance continuation grants from prior years, the report also specified that the Committee recommendation "does not include additional restrictions on the use of ATP funds adopted by the House."

The final FY1997 levels as set forth in the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 104-208) provides $588 million for NIST. This is 29% less than the Administration request and 5% less than the FY1996 level, but 25% more than the level provided in the House passed H.R. 3814, and 32% more than in the Senate reported H.R. 3814. The FY1997 NIST appropriation breaks down as follows: $268 million for STRS; $225 million for ATP; $95 million for MEP; and zero funding for construction. Funding for the ATP is significantly higher than the House and Senate levels in H.R. 3814, and the money is provided without any of the restrictions recommended in the original House and Senate legislation. Also, the conference agreement contains language allowing one additional year of support for six-year old manufacturing technology centers funded under the MEP program. Finally, P.L. 104-208 rescinds $16 million from prior year carryover amounts from the construction account. The result of the conference agreement is that NIST can obligate $27.6 million for completion of the Advanced Chemical Sciences Laboratory, and for maintenance and safety upgrades of existing NIST facilities.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

In the President's FY1997 budget request for NOAA, R&D is about 25% of funding for all NOAA activities, or $567.1 million (see Table 7). R&D funding divided across NOAA's budget activities is as follows: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMF) - $208.4 million, National Ocean Service - $21.3 million, Office of Atmospheric Research (OAR)- $203.8 million, National Weather Service - $34.6 million, National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service - $7.9 million, Program Support - $51.4 million. The total obligations for Operations, Research, and Facilities (ORF) are $529.8 million, and Non-ORF is $16.5 million. An additional $8.7 million is requested for NOAA R&D Facilities. Also, included in the FY1997 request is a "FY1996 Presidential investment addback" which restored funding for the Global Learning and Observation for a Better Environment (GLOBE) program to FY1995 levels of $7 million. The House Appropriations Committee's bill for NOAA (H.R. 3814, H.Rept. 104-676) approved an estimated $450 million for R&D, 21% below the request and 15% below FY1996 estimated levels. As part of the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations bill (P.L. 104-208), Congress approved an estimated $532 million for NOAA's R&D programs, including $200 million for NMF and $197.5 million for OAR.

Department of the Interior (DOI)

The Department of the Interior's budget proposal for FY1997 includes $582 million for R&D. This represents a 6% decrease or a $40 million reduction from estimated R&D funds for FY1996 of $622 million (see Table 7). The majority of the decrease represents the closing of the Bureau of Mines and elimination of the National Biological Service with the consolidation of some of the remaining portions of each within the U.S. Geological Survey. On June 20, the House passed its Interior appropriations bill (H.R. 3662) which would provide an estimated $569 million for R&D, $21 million below the FY1997 request, and $60 million below the FY1996 estimated level. The National Biological Service is funded through the Natural Resources account ($137 million for FY1997) within the U.S. Geological Survey. As part of the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations bill (P.L. 104-208), Congress approved an estimated $570 million for Interior's R&D programs.

Department of Transportation (DOT)

The budget request for FY1997 R&D spending for DOT was $649 million, a 13% increase over the FY1996 level (see Table 7). The FY1996 level shown here was over 20% lower than that shown in last year's table, which listed a budget request for that fiscal year of $740 million. Congress did not accept DOT's proposed reorganization presented in last year's budget submission, and also made sizable cuts in funding. On June 28, the House passed the Transportation appropriations bill (H.R. 3675) which included an estimated $569 million for R&D, $13 million below the request, and $52 million below FY1996. This includes $261 million for the Federal Highway Administration, 14% below the request, and $230 million for the Federal Aviation Administration, 4.4% below the request. These two agencies account for over 80% of the research and development budget in DOT. On July 31, the Senate approved its version of H.R. 3675 providing an estimated $598 million for R&D in DOT, $51 million below the request. On September 18, Congress approved Conference Report 104-785 which included $605 million for R&D (P.L. 104-205).

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The new appropriation account, Science and Technology, incorporates old elements of the former research and development account (extramural research) as well as EPA's inhouse research, development and technology efforts. The FY1997 request of $579 million is roughly 10% more compared to current FY1996 levels and enacted FY1995 levels (see Table 7). Increasingly, environmental research has been recognized as multimedia in scope rather than limited to a single media. The change in the appropriation account and EPA's own management of research and development reflects this. EPA's FY1997 budget justification stresses that the program will target certain scientific uncertainties involving PM -10, community-based health - ability to predict exposure in particular areas, disinfectant by-product rule, endocrine disruptors, benefit cost research.

On June 13, 1996, the House Appropriations Committee recommended $540 million for Science and Technology, $15 million more than current year funding and $39 million less than requested. The subcommittee increased the requested funding for 10 activities including $5 million for drinking water research and other lesser increases. Five activities were recommended for decreases, including a $27.6 million cut from the Environmental Technology Initiative (ETI). On July 11, The Senate approved $545 million for S&T, and reduced funding for ETI by $17.6 million. On September 6, House and Senate conferees agreed to a $552 million budget for EPA's S&T programs.

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