Appropriations subcommittees are braced for a series of requests from federal agencies to "reprogram" money to make up for Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit-reduction act cuts in high-priority programs. Reprogramming authority allows an agency to shift resources from one program or project to another.
The National Science Foundation has asked permission to maintain mathematics research programs, an international cooperative ocean drilling program to research continental drift and other scientific theories and several small programs to increase the participation of women, minorities and under-representated geographical areas in science.
To make up for the loss, the foundation proposes to increase the across-the-board cuts proposed for the rest of the agency from 4.3 to 4.8 percent.
The Transportation Department is expected to ask for authority to transfer money from within the department to beef up air traffic control and safety inspection forces.
Under the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings act, any request for additional funds must be accompanied by a proposal to reduce something else by an equal amount. Observers say they expect mass transit aid to be a ripe target for offsetting reductions in transportation.
The National Park Service may ask for reprogramming authority to prevent the closing of popular national parks and monuments. Other appropriations subcommittees that anticipate requests for reprogrammings are military construction and foreign operations.
In the meantime, some departments and agencies have begun to firm up plans to implement their Gramm-Rudman-Hollings cuts.
The Federal Trade Commission recently voted a three-day unpaid furlough for all 1,100 commission employes. Furloughs will begin in May "and will be spread over the summer," according to Judy Pond, director of public affairs. "Managers will allocate the days, working with employes. It won't reduce the effectiveness of the agency," she said.