WASHINGTON--The $3.3 billion increase in spending for science and space programs proposed by the administration for 1989 is shrinking rapidly as it begins to make its way through Congress.

On March 17 the House Budget Committee sliced the request in half. But the panel’s non-binding reductions in spending authority varied greatly by agency. The National Science Foundation, for example, received $300 million of its $330 million increase, while the $400 million increase for general sciences within the Department of Energy, which contains a $363 million request for the Superconducting Supercoilider, was whittled down to just $100 million. The $2.55 billion increase sought by NASA, including funds for the space station, was shrunk to $1.25 billion more.

The budget committee’s recommendation was adopted March 23 by the full House and then quickly forwarded to the Senate. Although its figures offer an indication of congressional sentiment, the real spending levels are set...

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