President Reagan's Fiscal Year 1989 federal budget is emerging from Congress as lean as expected after last December's White House-Congress budget summit. Like last year, the big increases requested by the Reagan administration for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation for FY 1989 have been cut in half by legislators forced to make a choice between science and the politically sensitive areas of housing, veterans assistance, and the environment.
Appropriations for NASA and NSF are determined by subcommittees of the House and Senate that also set spending levels for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Veterans Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other independent federal agencies. While the budget summit agreement imposed overall limits the FY 1989 spending plan, each HUD-Independent Agencies subcommittee can rewrite the President's budget requests for agencies in its dominion as it sees fit. The only restriction is the size of the allocation for the subcommittees, which limits on the total they may appropriate.