WASHINGTON President Barack Obama's fiscal 2010 budget request includes more than $26 billion for Energy Department programs, new Commerce Department funding for technology innovation and other competitiveness initiatives and a 16 percent increase in the budget for the National Science Foundation NSF) for engineering education and "high-risk" research.
The Obama administration's first budget blueprint released on Thursday (Feb. 26) proposes $3.55 trillion in federal spending. It also signals a major shift in federal spending priorities designed to boost the U.S. economy by investing in research and education along with healthcare and competitiveness initiatives.
"This moment is one of great paradox and promise," President Obama said in releasing his spending plan for next year. "While there are millions of Americans trying to find work, there is also so much work to be done. That's why the [American Recovery and Reinvestment] Act and our budget will make long overdue investments in priorities—like clean energy, education, health care and a new infrastructure."
According to budget documents released by the Office of Management and Budget, the Energy Department request for fiscal 2010 totaling $26.3 billion will fund a range of clean energy research initiatives. Included are funds for a DoE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability to drive a U.S. "smart power grid" initiative.
As part of the administration's attempt to double federal investment in basic R&D, the department's Office of Science also would receive a budget increase. The science office is expected to oversee the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which will focus on high-risk energy research.
The proposed DoE budget also contains funding for loans guarantees for energy efficiency programs and deploying new clean technologies.
NSF's proposed budget increase to $7 billion in fiscal 2010 would help fund graduate research fellowships in science and engineering as well as "support for the education of technicians in the high-tech fields," according to budget documents. The spending plan would also fund "high-risk, high-reward" science and technology research.
The Commerce Department's $13.8 billion budget request includes $70 million in new funding for a Technology Innovation Program and $125 million to revive the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The budget request would also give the overwhelmed U.S. Patent and Trademark Office "full access to its fees to improve its efficiency and safeguard intellectual property."
Earlier this week, industry groups praised the nomination of former Washington governor Gary Locke to be commerce secretary. "Governor Locke has a clear record of cracking down on intellectual property theft in his home state, while advocating for enhanced global engagement as a means of improving IP enforcement, particularly with respect to China," the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a statement released on Wednesday.
NASA's fiscal 2010 budget request totaling $18.7 billion includes funding for manned and robotic space exploration as well as funds to complete the International Space Station.
The House approved a catch-all appropriations bill earlier in the week that would fund the government through the end of fiscal 2009 (Sept. 30). The spending bill allocated funding for technology programs authorized in the current fiscal year. The budget bill funds the manufacturing competitiveness and technology innovation programs overseen by the National Institute of Standards and Technology as well as Energy Department and NSF R&D programs.