New Reports Highlight Potential Funding Cuts for Education R&D
New Reports Highlight Potential Funding Cuts for Education R&D
New Reports Highlight Potential Funding Cuts for Education R&D
October 2012

On September 14, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a report detailing the impact of the impending sequestration on federal government programs. The report anticipates the percentage and the dollar amount of cuts that each budget account would receive if Congress does not pass legislation by the end of the year to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. Congress is expected to take up legislation to avert sequestration in a lame-duck session after the November elections.

At current appropriations levels, OMB expects that sequestration will reduce nondefense, discretionary (NDD) spending by 8.2%. For research agencies, the amounts to be cut for NDD spending are as follows:

  • Institute of Education Sciences: $49 million
  • National Institutes of Health: $2.5 billion
  • National Science Foundation
    • Research and related activities: $463 million
    • Education and Human Resources: $68 million
Although Robert Gordon, the acting deputy director of OMB, stated at a recent town hall event that all spending reductions would be at the project, program, and activity (PPA) levels, the report contains reductions only at the budget account level. However, percentage cuts projected to be applied uniformly at the account level are expected to extend to the PPA levels (e.g., the National Center for Education Statistics, an account within IES, would have its spending reduced by 8.2%).

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) also released a report with its estimates of reductions in R&D spending. According to AAAS, R&D spending, including defense, would be reduced by an average of 8.2%, with the cuts increasing to as high as 17.5% over five years if defense spending is exempt from the sequester. The expected reduction in NSF spending would range from $2.1 billion to $4.9 billion, the latter if defense spending is exempted from the sequester.

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