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NASA The Almighty Buck United States Science

Budget Agreement Boosts US Science (sciencemag.org) 52

sciencehabit writes: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) leads the way among U.S science agencies getting increases in the final 2016 spending bill released today. NIH is the winner in absolute dollars. It gets a bump of $2 billion, or 6.6%, from its current budget of $30.1 billion. Spending on science programs at NASA would grow by 6.6%, to $5.6 billion, and rise by 5.6% in the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Science, to $5.35 billion. The National Science Foundation would receive an additional $119 million, or 1.6%, to $7.46 billion, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy would get a 6% boost, to $291 million. NASA in particular got great allocations for planetary science and commercial crew.
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Budget Agreement Boosts US Science

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  • Great! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @12:14PM (#51130109) Journal

    Now all they need to do is pass the thing. Does anyone know what kind of poison pill has been inserted yet, which will cause somebody to get off the boat and sink it? We all know there is one...

    It's a sad state when the budget process has been reduced to such cynicism, but here we are.

    • Re:Great! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @12:26PM (#51130235)

      Now all they need to do is pass the thing. Does anyone know what kind of poison pill has been inserted yet, which will cause somebody to get off the boat and sink it? We all know there is one...

      They actually somewhat compromised, hoping Obama will sign the damn thing.

      Republicans gave up defunding Planned Parenthood.
      Democrats pulled out proposed additional gun control.
      Republicans gave in on not adding vetting for Syrian refugees.
      Possibly some others.

      Sounds like they actually want this passed.

      I'm sure it's full of pork, but aren't they all.

      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        Sounds more like they predictably let go of their grand standing proposals made to appease their rightmost and leftmost leaning constituents, and ultimately passed a very status quo bill in the end. Business as usual. They throw a few billion around since it sounds like a lot of money to regular people, when on the national level it will have little to no impact on any of our biggest problems.

      • Now all they need to do is pass the thing. Does anyone know what kind of poison pill has been inserted yet, which will cause somebody to get off the boat and sink it? We all know there is one...

        They actually somewhat compromised, hoping Obama will sign the damn thing.

        Republicans gave up defunding Planned Parenthood.
        Democrats pulled out proposed additional gun control.
        Republicans gave in on not adding vetting for Syrian refugees.
        Possibly some others.

        Sounds like they actually want this passed.

        I'm sure it's full of pork, but aren't they all.

        A couple of other biggies: They ended the ban on exporting domestic crude oil and they extended tax credits for wind and solar power for another 5 years.

    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @12:29PM (#51130285) Journal

      This budget has been agreed to by Obama and the Republican leadership in Congress, including Paul Ryan, and Congressional Democrats have expressed approval and talked about their "wins".

      Obama likes it because they put off paying for Obamacare another couple of years. The taxes on health insurance and medical equipment will be delayed until after the election and 2020, respectively.

      • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @01:00PM (#51130521)

        Obama likes it because they put off paying for Obamacare another couple of years. The taxes on health insurance and medical equipment will be delayed until after the election and 2020, respectively.

        O has done a masterful job at delaying the biggest cost impacts.

        • Taxes on health insurance and medical care? Wtf.

          Tax the thing you are trying to make more affordable. Nice.

          Tax anything...or everything else, to pay for it. Not that. Idiots.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Taxes on health insurance and medical care? Wtf.

            Tax the thing you are trying to make more affordable. Nice.

            Well, that all depends on who they're trying to make it affordable for.

            In this case, it's taking money from people who already had insurance to pay for those who didn't. That's why people who oppose Obamacare oppose it. It's a direct hit on the middle class, who are already carrying the majority of the tax burden.

            But tell people it's free health care and they want it.

            • by NetNed ( 955141 )
              Wish I had points to mod this up. That's why they tried to jack the cost every year so far. This year is stable since it was floated out there of another raise in care cost and people went ape shit, understandably so.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20151216/05514933094/as-predicted-congress-turned-cisa-into-clear-surveillance-bill-put-it-into-must-pass-govt-funding-bill.shtml

      Article on Techdirt saying someone has stuffed CISA into this bill. Not as horrible as the final draft of CISA proposed yesterday but still rather terrible and still a surveillance bill.

      Contact your Rep and Senator today, or this will likely be made law.

    • The House "Science" committee decides who gets the money...

  • you're talking real money. E. Dirksen
  • ... except for two things:

    1) The giant waste of money known as the SLS/Space Launch System, whose budget request was a huge 1,3 billion for this year, was instead given 2 billion. Congress clearly likes flushing money down the toilet.

    2) The STMD/Space Technology Mission Directorate has been having its budget cut each year, and while it got a nominal rise this year, it was tasked with taking over RESTORE-L from the ISS's budget, so it's yet another negative. STMD is the branch which develops and tests new

  • These agencies often get their environmental research cut during Republican congresses. NASA Earth observing satellites too.
  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @01:30PM (#51130803) Homepage Journal
    The NIH increase is not enough to add radical new initiatives. In fact, most funded researchers will be lucky if the increase even results in them getting their full requested budget. Many researchers will likely still see overall decreases, while their institutions will likely ask for more funds to cover expenses (such as electricity, gas, space, water, etc). It's better than nothing, but it's not really much of something, either.

    If we want to be a competitive nation in terms of scientific research we need to at least fund the NIH enough to meet operating expense increases so researchers can do work and get paid at (or slightly above, if their lucky) the levels of janitors.
    • NIH got a massive budget increase under Bush [aaas.org], nearly doubling their budget. Obama has been more or less holding it constant (slight decrease) at that higher spending level (nearly half of all Federal research spending).

      If a decade after a huge budget increase, maintaining that level of high spending is considered "keeping the lights on," then it's no wonder we have a massive budget deficit. Perhaps NIH should have its budget reduced to Clinton-era levels for one year so they can once again appreciate j
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        If a decade after a huge budget increase, maintaining that level of high spending is considered "keeping the lights on," then it's no wonder we have a massive budget deficit.

        You're not seeing the forest for the trees, here. The proper way to think about the budget for a lab is as the budget for a small business. You might be able to come up with an exception but I can not imagine a business anywhere in this country that is operating on the same budget they had 10 years ago and seeing the same margins. Literally everything costs more now than it did a decade ago; we pay more for electricity, we pay more for heat and water, we pay more for space. Even if the PI doesn't take a

  • Not too happy about Precision Health Initiative.

    "Participants will be involved in the design of the Initiative and will have the opportunity to contribute diverse sources of data—including medical records; profiles of the patient’s genes, metabolites (chemical makeup), and microorganisms in and on the body; environmental and lifestyle data; patient-generated information; and personal device and sensor data."

    They're looking for a million volunteers to give away all their health related and lifest

  • http://www.engadget.com/2015/12/16/congress-tucked-cisa-in-budget-bill/

    We can end this if we work together: http://www.freestateproject.org/

  • by mdsolar ( 1045926 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @02:19PM (#51131305) Homepage Journal
    Congress is giving away all the oil to multinationals. https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com]
    • by jbengt ( 874751 )
      That's not a give-away of oil. It's the ability for American producers to sell crude on the open markets. That will reduce the current glut of domestic crude oil production and free up US refineries to serve US consumption.
  • The NIH and NSF budgets would need a much larger bump to really kick off some major new initiatives, much less restore funding to useful programs. Translational medicine research programs have stalled, and major disease foundations are having to fund tons of foundational work. Also, there's no "moonshot" type of projects, for example, setting a goal of creating a battery that has 50% more capacity for the same weight (vs current best technology), notable gains in wind or solar efficiency, massive improveme

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