A new emphasis on “global geosciences” and a new start for the Ocean Topography Experiment (TOPEX) were among the highlights for geophysics in the federal budget for fiscal year (FY) 1987 that the Reagan administration submitted to Congress on February 5, 1986. Budget increases planned for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), however, contrasted with cuts planned for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Under the proposed budget, funding for research and development (R&D) would increase significantly in FY 1987, rising 16.9% over the funding that will remain in the FY 1986 budget after March 1, 1986. On that date, cuts in the FY 1986 budget will take effect under the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, better known as Gramm-Rudman-Hollings (Eos, January 28, 1986, p. 41). Although that law was recently found unconstitutional by a special federal judicial panel, their ruling will not go into effect unless and until it is upheld by the Supreme Court, so the March 1 cuts are expected to go forward as planned. (If the Supreme Court hears the appeal, they will probably rule before early July, according to The Washington Post.) Under Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, the FY 1986 budgets of non-defense programs not protected in the law's provisions will be cut by 4.3%. Unprotected defense programs will be cut by close to 5%.