Researchers fearing that the agreement between Congress and President Clinton to balance the federal budget by 2002 would decimate science funding can rest a little easier. Each of the eight major federal departments funding research will at least keep pace with or slightly exceed the 2.6 percent inflation rate in FY1998-with the exception of the Department of Agriculture, which will receive 2 percent less research funding in real dollars. As expected, Congress met or exceeded the president's budgetary requests for R&D, with a few exceptions.

However, the FY1998 budget fails to significantly reverse the long-term trend of slow erosion in science funding in the 1990s due to inflation. Total federal research has grown at an average of less than 1 percent a year since 1990, according to a National Science Foundation analysis, "Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development" (NSF Publication 97-302). The report illustrates that 1997's 1.3 percent...

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