The Defense Appropriations bill approved by the committee Thursday calls for a basic research tab of nearly $2.3 billion, 5 percent above the currently enacted level. In its report, the panel said it was "discouraged" by the Pentagon's proposed cuts in basic, which it called "the foundation upon which other technology is developed." It noted that "basic research . . .spans across universities and colleges, small businesses and laboratories, growing future scientists and creating new business opportunities."
The House-passed appropriation (see report) provided about $300 million less for basic research. If the Senate bill passes the full chamber, something that may not happen until a lame-duck session, the final number would be worked out in a conference. History suggests the two chambers would then split the difference.