Senate spending panel would squeeze science agencies but exceed Trump request | Science

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A Senate spending panel voted today to reduce funding in 2018 below current levels for several science agencies under its jurisdiction.

Even so, the move by the Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations subcommittee would erase most of the cuts that President Donald Trump requested next year for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The exception is NASA’s science program, which would get less under the Senate panel’s plan than the president has requested.

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), chair of the panel, blamed the tight proposed spending levels on the panel’s overall allocation of $53.4 billion for agencies under its jurisdiction, some $3.2 billion below 2017 levels. He said it forced lawmakers into making “difficult but responsible decisions.”

The allocation meant that less was available for science agencies, noted the panel’s top Democrat, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). “I’m especially disappointed that this budget doesn’t keep NSF at 2017 levels,” she said in a short statement before the subcommittee vote. Instead, NSF’s overall budget of $7.472 billion would shrink by 2.1%, or $162 million.

Here are some top-line numbers for science agencies under the panel’s jurisdiction. Details will be released after the full Senate appropriations committee takes up the bill on Thursday. On 11 July the equivalent panel in the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill covering the same agencies, but no vote by the entire House has been scheduled.

NASA

NASA would receive $19.5 billion, $124 million below current funding levels, and $437 million above the budget request by President Trump. The…

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