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The New Austerity

The US Senate subcommittee that oversees funding of the National Science Foundation and other research agencies has "voted [on] an appropriations bill that would cut NSF's current budget by 2.4 percent, or $162 million," reports ScienceInsider's Jeffrey Mervis. This, he adds, is ostensibly the "clearest indication yet that 2012 will be a very tough year for scientists seeking funding" from the agency. According to Mervis, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) told the panel, which she chairs: "We've gone beyond frugality and are into austerity. ... We didn't want to do this, but that's the way the world is." ScienceInsider says that while "today's action was approved by a bipartisan margin of 15 to 1," more NSF funding details are to come once the full Senate Appropriations Committee convenes to vote.