A third of a loaf is better than nothing. That's the feeling among the U.S. research community after the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly yesterday to boost the current budgets of four key science agencies by $337 million. Although it was less than lobbyists had hoped, it's probably more likely to happen than the sizeable budget increases for next year approved this week by several House and Senate spending panels with jurisdiction over a number of science agencies. Lobbyists fear those numbers, for the 2009 budget year that begins in October, could represent high-water marks in a process that likely will extend far beyond the November elections.
This still has to be approved by the Senate, and then signed by the President, so it still has a long ways to go. Still, it has a good prospect of getting through. But this is only a temporary reprieve in the sense that it stops the layoffs, furloughs, etc. It still doesn't provide the money for any significant progress in funding. And then there is the continuing resolution of a crappy budget well into 2009.
All is still not well....