- Special Issue -
FY 2003 BUDGETS
FOR SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE RESEARCH
Great men, great nations, have not been boasters and buffoons, but perceivers of the terror of life, and have manned themselves to face it. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fate, 1850
ederal budgets pronounce a
President’s priorities. Since
September 11, the war on terrorism and homeland security have become the
major preoccupations of the Bush administration, and the proposed fiscal
year 2003 budget clearly reflects that precedence.
The Department of Defense would receive an enormous $48 billion
increase. Many of the spending decisions for other government agencies
and programs are determined by what role they play in defense against
terrorism, including bioterrorism.
The Administration is willing to tolerate deficits and overall
spending boosts at magnitudes they were decrying a year ago.
This issue contains a summary and analysis of the proposed Fiscal Year 2003 budgets for over 50 agencies and programs that support social and behavioral science research. There is a nominal charge for the issue. For more information, contact COSSA@cossa.org
As with previous administrations, the Bush folks have attempted
to gain some control over the federal bureaucracy.
Touted as “budgeting for results,” the request joins the long
tradition of proposals tying agency budgets to performance, employing
such tools as zero-based budgeting, management by objective, and the
national performance review. Congress
has generally looked askance at these efforts, treating them with the
same disdain as similar attempts to eliminate earmarks, which the Bush
administration is also taking on in this year’s budget proposal.
The President proposes to spend $2.128 trillion in FY 2003.
Of that, $767 billion is for discretionary budget authority. The rest goes to mandatory spending programs such as Social
Security, Medicare, and other programs that do not require annual
discretionary programs include most of those discussed in this budget
and Development Budgets
The Administration has proposed $111.8 billion for research and
development (R&D) in its FY 2003 budget.
This is an eight percent increase over the FY 2002 figure, and as
the Administration points out, this is the first time the proposed
R&D budget has eclipsed $100 billion.
Last year Congress raised the request by nearly eight billion to
$103.2 billion. The
priority for President Bush in this part of the budget, however, is
first and foremost – antiterrorism.
R&D funding for homeland security and combating terrorism
would rise from nearly $1 billion in FY 2002 to an estimated $3 billion
in FY 2003. Others
priorities include networking and information technology, nanotechnology,
and climate change research. In
addition to these concerns, the Administration will keep its promise to
complete the five-year doubling of the NIH budget.
Defense R&D increases 8.8 percent to $58.6 billion.
Most of this is on the development side.
Basic research at Defense (DOD) would see only a 2.4 percent
raise. A major part of the
antiterrorism R&D also goes through the Defense Department, but
other agencies would benefit too. The
National Institutes of Health (NIH) would receive $1.75 billion for
acceleration of research leading to the development of rapid
identification and monitoring technologies, diagnostic tests, and new
vaccines and therapeutics, including an improved anthrax vaccine.
The Defense Department would also receive $420 million for
similar research, as well as funding for studying and modeling the
technology and tactics of bioterrorists.
The Administration also proposes that the Environmental
Protection Agency develop improved techniques and procedures for coping
with biological and chemical incidents.
Other research efforts in this area include: reliable identification of specific individuals using
biometric techniques; better methods for detecting explosives,
particularly in luggage and at airports; setting standards for equipment
to respond to homeland attacks and measurements for determining when an
area can be reoccupied after an attack; and fundamental research,
including $27 million for the National
Science Foundation to sequence the genes of pathogens.
Civilian R&D would increase from $49.4 billion to $53.2
billion, a boost of 7.8 percent. The
defense-civilian ratio, 50/50 at the end of the Clinton administration,
has now shifted toward defense by a mark of 52/48.
Almost all of the civilian R&D increase is slated to complete
the NIH doubling. The other
major civilian R&D category that would receive a boost is education
research, jumping almost $50 million or 14 percent.
The “No Child Left Behind” legislation contains numerous
references to the need for “evidence-based” programs and
The Administration would increase basic research from $23.5
billion to $25.5 billion; applied research from $24 billion to $26.3
billion; and development from $51 billion to $55.5 billion; and decrease
facilities and equipment from $4.6 billion to $4.4 billion.
Like others before it, the Administration attacks earmarking in
federal R&D budgets. Using
spending identified by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the
budget document notes that the practice of earmarking funds directly to
colleges and universities for specific research projects has expanded
from $296 million in 1996 to $1.67 billion in 2001.
This is still only 9.4 percent of federal academic funding, but
represents an increase of 60 percent in the past six years.
In a number of cases, the Administration has reduced research
budgets for agencies by eliminating previously earmarked projects.
This has occurred at DOD, the Department of Agriculture, and the
Department of Education. As
in the past, members of Congress, particularly those on the
appropriations committee, will most likely pay little attention to these
administration attempts to curtail earmarking.
They will continue to use their prerogative to control the
“power of the purse” as they see fit.
Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health
Despite calls for balancing the research portfolio, the two major
agencies that support fundamental research have again been treated
differently. As mentioned,
the Administration remains committed to completing the five-year
doubling of NIH. For NSF,
things are better than last year, but the large increases thought
possible, including a potential NIH-like doubling, are still a mirage.
year, when it proposed a 1.3 percent increase for NSF’s budget, the
Administration sent out reassuring messages.
The FY 2002 increase was limited because of campaign promises
that resulted in other priorities taking precedence.
Senators Christopher Bond (R-MO) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and
House members James Walsh (R-NY) and Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) made clear
their unhappiness with the small increase and boosted NSF’s final FY
2002 appropriation by over eight percent. Bond and Mikulski continued to talk about doubling funding
for the Foundation.
Now that next year is here, though, it appears that other Administration
priorities have again taken precedence.
The budget proposes an FY 2003 figure for NSF of $5.036 billion,
an increase of $240 million or 5 percent.
Of the $240 million, almost one-third comes from a proposal to
transfer three programs from other agencies to NSF.
Congressional staffers indicate a low probability that these
programs will move.
a disappointing FY 2002, in which it received a smaller increase than
any of the other research directorates, the Social, Behavioral and
Economic Sciences (SBE) directorate does quite well in the FY 2003
proposed budget. NSF has
designated SBE a “priority area.”
Foundation director Rita Colwell is strongly committed to
enhancing these sciences in the near future.
The increase of $26.2 million, or 16 percent, includes $10
million in “seed” funding for the priority.
One focus of these funds will be to support research on
decisionmaking under uncertainty, as part of the Administration’s
climate change research program. Another
major part of the increase will go to the Science, Resources, Statistics
division to incorporate the decennial census results into the samples it
uses to conduct surveys of the science and engineering workforce.
proposed increase for NIH is $3.9 billion or 16.7 percent above FY 2002.
This would bring its total budget to $27.335 billion, over
one-half the spending for civilian research and development.
As noted, the request completes the five-year doubling. Planning and discussions for life after doubling are taking
place, but no one is willing to predict small increases for NIH anytime
in the near future.
remains one of the four priority areas for NIH:
motivating people to engage in healthy behaviors or change their
unhealthy ones is a focus for new research.
Efforts to address disparities in health between minorities and
other segments of the population also remain high on NIH’s agenda.
The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)
continues to play a significant role on this topic and many others. The publication of reports providing an agenda for
social/behavioral research on health will also guide OBSSR’s efforts.
noted earlier, NIH will play a significant role in research on
bioterrorism. Much of this
funding will go to the National Institute on Allergies and Infectious
Diseases (NIAID). This
Institute, which will also prosper because of increased attention to
developing an AIDS vaccine, has a proposed increase of over 57 percent.
The increase for most of the other Institutes is in the eight to
nine percent range.
continues with an Acting Director for the second year as the
Administration carries on its search for a replacement for Harold Varmus.
A mass exodus of Institute directors has also plagued NIH in
recent months. At publication time, only the National Cancer Institute has
received a non-acting replacement.
One interesting development has been the naming of OBSSR Director
Raynard Kington to serve concurrently as Acting Director of the National
Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
In its attempt to eliminate earmarking and stress competitive
grants programs, the Administration is proposing to double the
Department of Agriculture’s National Research Initiative Competitive
Grants program (NRI). The
administration is also compensating for Congress’ refusal to allow
spending on two other competitive programs, the Fund for Rural America
and the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems (IFAFS).
Once again, an administration’s proposed budget reduces funding
for the Special Grants program, knowing full well Congress will restore
most of these earmarks. This
conflict of priorities may create problems for the NRI doubling
The Department of Education and its Office of Educational
Research and Improvement (OERI) has a significant increase.
OERI is up for reauthorization this year and once again there is
discussion about totally revamping its structure and activities.
New Assistant Secretary Russ Whitehurst, a research psychologist,
hopes to further professionalize OERI’s staff and endeavors.
The Administration is quite interested in reading comprehension,
preschool curricula, and evidence-based research for improving teaching
and curricula in pre-K through 12th grade.
The “No Child Left Behind” legislation enacted last year
provided ample opportunities for increased and improved educational
In the aftermath of September 11, Congress also recognized the
need to improve programs for international education and foreign
language studies, providing a sizeable 26 percent boost in FY 2002
spending. Although the
Administration’s requested increase for FY 2003 is significantly
smaller, the impetus for higher spending in this area remains. By contrast, spending for the Department’s two major
graduate fellowships programs, Graduate Assistance in Areas of National
Need and the Javits Program, remains stagnant for the third year in a
row. The Fund for the
Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) is another agency where
the Administration is battling earmarking.
At the health agencies outside of NIH, both the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Healthcare
Research and Quality (AHRQ) face decreases.
The CDC cut occurs mostly because over $2 billion was spent in FY
2002 on purchasing vaccines and other pharmaceuticals to combat
bioterrorist threats. In FY
2003 CDC would receive significant funding for other bioterrorism
activities. Most of the
regular CDC programs remain level or suffer small decreases. At AHRQ the decrease, if sustained by Congress, will severely
limit any new research or training grants.
The proposed budget for policy research at the office of the
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation remains the same as last
year, although evaluation set-aside funds help to fund this office.
The National Institute of Justice receives a large increase under
the President’s proposed budget.
Much of it results from shifting a counter-terrorism office to
the Institute. Some of the
increase will boost funding for a drug monitoring program and a hate
crimes research initiative. HUD’s
Office of Policy Development and Research sees a slight increase, after
the Administration once again attempts to abolish the Partnership in
Advanced Technology in Housing program, a move Congress rejected last
Despite recognizing the need for increased knowledge of foreign
countries, the Administration has not proposed any significant increase
for the educational and cultural exchange programs at the State
Department. The National
Endowment for the Humanities is also essentially level-funded.
The statistical agencies in general do quite well, with
significant increases for the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census
Bureau to improve the timeliness and coverage of the nation’s economic
statistics, a long-time effort. The
Census Bureau also gets the go-ahead to proceed with the American
The Administration’s emphasis on the war on terrorism
manifested so strongly in this proposed budget will dominate this
year’s consideration of spending and taxing.
Most of the rest of the agencies will become part of the
peripheral discussions. Yet, those discussions can still make the difference in
whether funding will be available for a particular research project;
members of Congress will continue to focus on all aspects of the budget,
because that is what appropriators are about.
As always, social and behavioral scientists are uniquely
positioned to influence the debates with their research and knowledge.
Howard J. Silver
This issue of COSSA WASHINGTON UPDATE contains a summary and analysis of the proposed Fiscal Year 2002 budgets for over 50 agencies and programs that support social and behavioral science research. There is a nominal charge for the issue. For more information, contact COSSA@cossa.org