New law to cut 1986 budgets



The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are among the agencies whose budgets are likely to be cut 4.3% on March 1, 1986, when the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 makes its first impact.

Under the law, the cuts will be implemented across the board by an order from the president. Unless Congress passes legislation to make its own cuts sometime between now and March 1, these cuts will automatically take an equal percentage from every nondefense program, project, and activity not protected from “sequestration” of funds and will automatically take a slightly higher percentage from the unprotected portions of the defense budget. Individual agencies could circumvent the across-the-board cuts by formulating their own plans to distribute their share of the reductions; however, these plans would need congressional approval. These cuts will affect budgets for the federal government in fiscal year (FY) 1986, which began on October 1, 1985. Unless revenues increase substantially, additional and mone severe belt-tightening is in store for FY 1987 and beyond.