Science fares relatively well in new budget agreement

Yesterday, Congressional negotiators released a budget agreement that is likely to be signed by the president if it could pass both houses. The overall outlines of the deal—tax breaks that benefit businesses and increases in spending—will draw opposition from members of both parties, so it's not clear the president will ever see it.

Assuming it passes, however, the deal would be good news for scientific research. The American Association for the Advancement of Science has done an analysis of the bill and finds most research-focused agencies will see a boost. The priorities of many legislators, however, has ensured these boosts are not evenly distributed.

This appears to be a case where each party came in with a number (the president, House, and Senate each had spending bills under consideration), yet in many cases, they compromised by spending more than anybody had asked for. Overall, federal R&D money will go up by 8.1 percent in 2015, to nearly $150 billion. Roughly half of that, $73 billion, will end up being spent on defense research. Of that figure, $15.4 billion will go to basic science and tech research, even though none of the parties had asked for more than $14.6 billion.

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