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Although it passed through the congressional authorization process unscathed, the budget request for the National Science Foundation (NSF) for fiscal year (FY) 1987 was dealt a serious blow on July 23, 1986, when a House appropriations subcommittee recommended that nearly $146 million be cut from the agency's request for “research and related activities” (R&RA). The full House Appropriations Committee went on to endorse this recommendation on July 31.

The committee report accompanying the House appropriation bill leaves the distribution of cuts within R&RA up to the discretion of the NSF director. The report does, however, protect the budget request for the ocean drilling program from a cut.