WASHINGTON—Budget analysts refer to it as Account 302b. But scientists may want to use more colorful names once they realize it will almost certainly block the sizable R&D increases being proposed for 1989 by President Reagan.

The budget process works well when spending is rising gradually each year,” observed John Hoimfeld, a staff member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee who later this year will complete a multi-volume report on science policy for the committee. “But it breaks down when the budget must be flattened out or reduced.”

Last year it fell on the national Science Foundation, which saw an expected 17 percent increase shrink to less than 6 percent after officials had fought for months to persuade House and Senate panels that the extra funds were vital. The factors that gutted their efforts last year promise to do similar damage to this year’s request.


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