Earth and space science funding at risk



[1] With debt ceiling deadlines quickly approaching, U.S. lawmakers are still markedly divided over how to address the nation's economic and budgetary troubles. AGU is closely monitoring these debates and any cuts directed at funding for scientific research and development. Cuts beyond the already reduced levels from the current fiscal year 2011 continuing resolution have the potential to be devastating not only for the scientific community but also for the health, safety, and welfare of the public and America's economic competitiveness. It is not clear how the current proposals would apply to cutting scientific research and development, but it is very likely that federal funding levels for fiscal year 2012 will be even lower than those seen in 2011, a trend that could continue for a number of years. The Obama administration and congressional leadership are reported to be negotiating up to $4 trillion in reduced expenditures, with cuts of at least $1.1 trillion being made in discretionary appropriations over the next 10 years, starting in fiscal year 2012. While it is possible that a smaller, interim deal could pass, which would bring another debt ceiling vote before November 2012, there is significant opposition to such a stopgap measure.