Thursday, June 14, 2007

Democratic Congress increases the budget for science

A House spending panel has exceeded President George W. Bush's 2008 budget request for four key science agencies. That's very good news, say science lobbyists, who nevertheless warned that the bill must still survive a threatened White House veto if its higher spending levels aren't first whittled down in the Senate. Science and math education is treated especially well, in line with the bipartisan push to improve teacher quality and raise student test scores.

At NOAA, the spending bill represents a pleasant reversal of the usual pattern, in which the president wants to lower the agency's budget and the House seeks further cuts. Instead, the overall spending level of $4 billion is $200 million above the president's request for a small increase.
NOAA, of course, is the agency responsible for studying the climate and warning of future hurricanes. The president recently proposed cutting the number of satellites monitoring the global climate.

Today's report contrasts dramatically with last year's proposal by the Republican led House:
NOAA Budget Slashed by $500 Million in House Bill

June 29, 2006 -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill today that would cut approximately $500 million from the budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in fiscal year 2007.

The massive budget cut passed the House of Representatives less than one year after NOAA was widely praised for its success in forecasting hurricane Katrina and protecting thousands of people from death or injury. According to NOAA, the House bill would fail to fund day-to-day operations of the agency’s aircraft, which are the nation’s first line of defense for monitoring and forecasting hurricanes and tropical storms.
President Bush is now threatening to veto the Democratic bills for exceeding his requests, despite having signed off on trillions of dollars of deficit spending while his party was in control not to mention having recently demanded (and received) a $100 billion war supplemental.

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