Reaction to President
Bush's FY 2002 budget has centered on tax reduction. There has been
less discussion about his spending proposals, since they are not complete,
and because Congress has until the start of the new fiscal year on October
1 to act on them.
There has been
some reaction to the Administration's S&T budget request. Among those
commenting have been Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici
(R-NM), Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-MI) and NSF
Director Rita Colwell. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has also
commented broadly on research funding. Selections from their statements
is a key figure in determining the parameters of the FY 2002 budget.
As chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Domenici will play a major
role in writing the Senate Budget Resolution, which will help set the
broad outlines of federal spending. His comments yesterday at a Budget
Committee hearing on NIH funding are of great interest. In addressing
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, Domenici declared:
before us, Mr. Secretary, and you say . . . we're very proud that
we're increasing the National Institutes of Health. Now, I shouldn't
be a senator complaining about that, but I want to tell you, you can't
increase one piece of science in America . . . and leave the other
kinds of research in the doldrums."
have to come to the realization, and the president will, that to increase
NIH 20 percent and not to increase the National Science Foundation,
which has only got a $100 million increase in its budget . . . those
aren't going to mesh. In about five years, you're going to have the
medical scientists clamoring for where are the physical scientists,
where are the physicists, where are the people that work on the newest
physics of machinery and engineers and nano-engines and the like?
And then they're going to look over, 'Where else do we do research?'
and it's going to be the Department of Energy. And they do some outstanding
research that is ancillary to, if not necessary to, the NIH's success.
And you can't have both. You can't cut the DOE's research programs
and think that the NIH is going to succeed at curing all of our ills."
is ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
A statement from Bingaman cautioned:
appears to cut programs - such as basic science, renewable energy,
and oil and gas research and development - by about $1 billion. Clearly,
we don't know all the details of the plan, nor do we know where a
majority of the cuts will fall, but it's hard to see how we can have
a comprehensive energy strategy while making cuts to R&D."
R&D programs also play an important role in supporting excellence
at our national laboratories, particularly in helping to attract the
best and the brightest young scientists and engineers to those labs.
I'm concerned about what kind of impact these cuts could have on our
to President Bush on behalf of a bipartisan group of senators asking
for an increase in spending for these key areas of civilian science.
When the budget and appropriations processes end later this year,
I hope that we will end up with an increase in these important programs."
Rivers is a senior member of the House Science Committee. A statement
released by the Democratic membership of the Science Committee contained
a statement by Rivers:
request remains sketchy, but what we do know suggests that our science
programs will not receive adequate support from the Bush Administration."
is to be congratulated for understanding how important health research
is at NIH - keeping that agency on track to double its budget. However,
I hope that the administration will reconsider its requests for NSF
and NASA. Neither of those critical agencies are scheduled to receive
increases that would even keep pace with inflation and that just isn't
wise. If we are going to keep developing a new, information-based
economy, we have to invest in the research initiatives that drive
that growth. This budget looks like it will fall short on that account."
NSF DIRECTOR COLWELL:
statement focused on the Bush Administration's initiatives for the NSF:
"I am pleased
that the President has selected the National Science Foundation to
lead his Math and Science Partnership Initiative. Investing in people
is the first goal in NSF's strategic plan, and we have. The NSF has
a long-standing commitment to excellence in K-12 math and science
education. I look forward to working with the Administration and the
Congress on this vital effort."
"I also welcome
the strengthened investment in mathematics research, which drives
progress in so many science and engineering disciplines. I also enthusiastically
welcome the focus on graduate student stipends, which - as I have
often said - are long overdue for an increase. The President's priorities
clearly mirror our own in these areas."
emphasis on efforts to improve efficiency also addresses longstanding
NSF priorities - particularly the need to increase grant size and
duration. All of this should set the stage for strong and sustained
investments in research and education over the long term."
FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN GREENSPAN:
testified at a House Budget Committee hearing last week. In response
to a question from Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) regarding "continuing,
if not increasing, government support for research, particularly basic
research," Greenspan responded:
"On the issue
of research, there is just no question that if you're going to have
technology as the base of your economy, which we do, research is crucial."
issue to make a judgment as to where that research should take place.
And that, again, is really a fundamental judgment of the Congress.
And it's a tricky question of how much applied research should government
do, how much basic research, and where. And there are large discussions
and debates on that. But that we should in some way or other enhance
the incentives to do research in this economy, there is just no question.
If we don't, we're going to find that we are in a position where we
may have awesome technologies, but if you don't continuously nurture
them, they won't continue to exist."