Yesterday, the Senate subcommittee that funds the NSF, NASA, and research agencies in the Department of Commerce announced that they could see no way out of startlingly drastic budget cuts. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, which develops and curates technical standards for science and industry, will see a 10% drop in its budget, and the National Science Foundation, responsible for 20% of the basic research funding in the nation, will lose $162 million, or 2.4% of its budget. Under the plan, which passed 15-1 in the subcommittee, other programs will be wiped completely, like the Technology Innovation Program, which funds high-risk, high-reward research. "We've gone beyond frugality and are into austerity. … We didn't want to do this, but that's the way the world is," said an unhappy Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) (via ScienceNOW), who has frequently gone to bat for science funding and heads the subcommittee. Today, the whole Senate Appropriations Committee will vote on the plan---for more news as it develops, head over to Science NOW.
[Disclosure: DISCOVER Magazine is a media partner of the NSF, helping produce public-science programs like Changing Planet.]