President Obama's emphasis on climate change and clean energy investment was reflected today in the administration's $147.6 billion FY10 budget for research and development, but his overall R&D portfolio proposal is about the same as his predecessor's.
Former President George W. Bush asked for an R&D budget of $147 billion last year, and Congress appropriated $151 billion in the FY09 omnibus bill. The economic stimulus package provided an additional $21.5 billion for federal R&D programs, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Obama's budget lays out about $3.1 billion for clean energy technology initiatives and $2 billion for climate change research across more than a dozen departments. Senior officials from the National Science Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said today their work on both fronts would surge if appropriators embrace Obama's plan. NSF Acting Deputy Director Cora Marrett said her agency would increase its climate change investments by $200 million, while NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said she wants to spend $177 million on climate change projects.
Overall, the NSF's $7 billion request for FY10 is about the same as Bush's budget but is 8.5 percent more than what appropriators gave in the FY09 omnibus. NSF was awarded $3 billion as part of the economic stimulus package. NOAA would receive $4.5 billion under Obama's request, slightly more than the FY09 request of $4.1 billion, Lubchenco said. Her agency also got $3 billion in the omnibus and an additional $830 million for R&D in the stimulus.
OSTP Director John Holdren pointed out that Obama's budget sustains the effort to double the budgets for NSF, the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, and the Energy Department's Office of Science over the next decade. In absolute terms, the FY09 and FY10 R&D budgets are the largest in history, he added. But the leaders of the Congressional R&D Caucus, Reps. Rush Holt, D-N.J., and Judy Biggert, R-Ill., said the FY10 request was smaller than they had expected.