As loyal readers know, this blog is strictly non-political (although we do advocate for good science), but without question the mid-term election results will have secondary and tertiary effects that will be felt in the Federal R&D budget. At a macro-level, this is a non-partisan issue because Federal R&D comes out of the discretionary part of the budget (as opposed to mandatory expenditures such as Medicaid and Medicare). As the overall budget gets squeezed by the deficit (and the need to pay more and more on the federal debt), only the discretionary side of the budget is left to cut–at least without a major overhaul of so-called “third rail” entitlement spending.
So the upshot is pressure on the science programs we love to advocate for–such as the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation. It will be interesting to see how the new GOP leadership in the House decides to view these programs. The last time they were in control, after the 1994 elections, NIH did quite well.
We'll have to stay tuned….