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Most student aid spared in House panels' cuts for rest of fiscal 1995

(The MIT Washington Office will periodically summarize the status of Congressional and governmental actions for MIT Tech Talk).

The House Appropriations subcom-mittees last week proposed cuts of more than $17 billion from the current fiscal 1995 budget, representing a six percent cut in the amounts remaining for domestic discretionary programs after the first five months of fiscal 1995 expenditures.

Despite the broad cuts which have been proposed by the subcommittees, core student aid programs and university-based research have remained, for the most part, untouched in the first two rounds of House budget cuts. The full House will vote next week.

Current proposals call for higher education student aid programs (which total $15.2 billion) to be cut by $130 million, a reduction of about one percent. Programs proposed for termination included the State Student Incentive Grants ($63 million), Douglas Teacher Scholarships ($14 million), Urban Community Service Program ($13 million), Harris Doctoral Fellowships ($10 million), Byrd Honor Scholarships ($10 million), Javits Fellowships ($7 million), National Science Scholars ($4 million), Faculty Development ($3 million), National Academy of Space and Science Technology ($2 million), and several others.

According to the House Appropriations Chairman, Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA), the savings from the House rescissions are be used to help to offset the cost of supplemental proposals for defense and emergency federal disaster relief to California and other states, with an additional $10 billion in savings to be applied to deficit reduction and tax cuts in line with the House Republican "Contract with America."

Senate members did not sign the "Contract with America" and it remains unclear how the Senate will react to the $17 billion in proposed cuts to non-military programs.

Including cuts approved in the Defense Supplemental bill passed last week by the House, House appropriators have approved proposed cuts of more than $20 billion in fiscal 1995 spending. The fiscal 1995 budget voted last year was $1.539 trillion with a deficit of $192.5 billion (12.5 percent of the budget).

NASA's current-year budget would be cut by $66 million, with $25 million coming from the Earth Observing System and $10 million from the Hubble Space Telescope program.

Cuts proposed by the House appropriations panels include $500 million from the Department of Defense Technology Reinvestment Project (TRP); $107 million from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Advanced Technology Program (ATP) and $46 million from NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership and research at NIST labs; $132 million from the campus-based research facilities of the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation; and Department of Higher Education fellowship programs.

The full House appropriations committee will consider the rescission package on Thursday, and House floor consideration is expected the following week. Additional amendments to the bill are possible at both full committee level and on the House floor.

Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee will begin its consideration for the Defense Appropriations Supplemental bill later this week amid reports that a $100 million reduction to university-based defense research may be proposed.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 1, 1995.

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