Summary and Analysis of President's 2010 Budget Request

print-no-cover.pngAuthor Lewis-Burke Associates
Title Summary and Analysis of the President’s FY 2010 Budget Request for Federal Research and Education Programs
Publisher Council on Social Work Education, Washington, DC
Copyright May 8, 2009
Download Report (PDF, 145KB)


On May 7, President Obama sent the details of his first official budget proposal to Congress. The President proposes an unprecedented $3.6 trillion budget for FY 2010 to a Congress in which many members, including some in the President’s own party, are concerned with the overall size of the budget and projected deficits. As a result, the FY 2010 budget resolution, already approved by Congress, sets the level that House and Senate Appropriations Committees will have for discretionary appropriated programs at $10 billion below the level that the President is requesting.

As is the case with budgets—federal or family—the President has made some choices to accommodate his initiatives. Thus, the President’s budget proposes to reduce or eliminate 121 federal programs for overall budget savings of $17 billion. Approximately half of the savings would come from defense program eliminations and reforms already announced by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. However, Congress may balk at some of the Administration’s proposed program cuts and eliminations. Due to the need to find funds to restore cuts to favored programs and Congress’s lower overall discretionary funding total, some of the President’s proposed funding increases, may not be realized.

In his budget, the President calls on Congress to make investments to create a clean energy economy; to reform the nation’s health care system to improve the quality and access to care; to prepare teachers and students for the 21st century; to rebuild America’s infrastructure to support economic growth, including investments in science, research, and technology; and to enhance national security by rebuilding the military, securing the homeland, and expanding U.S. diplomatic efforts.

To accomplish these goals, the President proposes $599 billion, an 11.2 percent increase, in spending for non-defense discretionary spending and $534 billion, a 4.1 percent increase, for defense discretionary spending (excluding overseas operations). This marks a sharp change from the previous Administration’s attempts to hold non-defense discretionary spending relatively flat.
For federal research and development programs, the President’s FY 2010 budget request proposes an increase of $555 million or 0.4 percent above the FY 2009 appropriated level and recommits to the doubling of basic research programs, consistent with the President’s Plan for Science and Innovation and the America COMPETES Act. Under this plan, the budget request would provide a total of $12.6 billion for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This represents an overall increase of $731 million or 6.1 percent above these agencies’ FY 2009 enacted funding levels (in addition to the $5.2 billion they received in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). The budget projects completion of the doubling effort in 2016.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) would receive $7.0 billion in the FY 2010 budget request, an increase of $555 million or 8.5 percent above the FY 2009 appropriated level. This increase builds on a 7.6 percent increase NSF received in FY 2009. Overall, research programs receive greater proposed increases than education programs, with a particular focus on clean energy research, cyberinfrastructure and computational science, and climate research and education.
For health research programs in FY 2010, the President’s request for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is $30.8 billion, an increase of $443 million or 1.4 percent above the FY 2009 enacted level. Continued support would be provided for comparative effectiveness research through the Department of Health and Human Services to sustain the initiative begun with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. In addition, the President has proposed an 8-year initiative to double support for cancer research; as the first step, the FY 2010 request would provide $6 billion for such programs across NIH.

For higher education, the President’s budget assumes his proposal to restructure the current federal student loan system, which consists of the Federal Family Education Loan program and the Direct Loan program, into an exclusive Direct Loan program. The funding saved through the restructuring would then be used to create a mandatory Pell Grant along with sustainable increases for the program and an expanded Perkins Loan Program. Overall, the discretionary accounts are level funded, although a large increase is included for the Institute of Education Sciences for evaluation and assessment activities. The budget also proposes increases to teacher training and incentive funds which will advance President Obama’s education reform agenda.