In a little over
three and one-half weeks, the Bush Administration will send its full
budget submission to Congress. Many of the "unknowns" about the Administration's
policies and funding requests will be answered in considerable detail
by this document. Until then, hearing transcripts with key administration
officials offer some of the best on-the- record information about what
to expect in the FY 2002 S&T budget.
The Office of
Management and Budget plays an all-important role in this process. A
series of oral and written questions and answers at a January confirmation
hearing between Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT); Mitch Daniels, OMB
Director; and Sean O'Keefe, OMB Deputy Director, have become available.
O'Keefe's answers are of particular interest regarding the Administration's
view of the federal research portfolio, and are worthy of a careful
QUESTION TO DANIELS BY SENATOR LIEBERMAN:
concern is the imbalance between the amount of government research
support for the life sciences, which Congress has been moving to double
over the next several years, and the amount for the physical sciences,
which has actually been eroding. But these two parts of science are
mutually dependent, and advances in the physical sciences have become
essential to further advances in the life sciences. Do you agree with
this concern, and, if so, will you act to adjust the imbalance between
these two sectors of federal research support?"
ANSWER, DIRECTOR DANIELS:
government has an important role to play in supporting research that
is too risky or too long-term for the private sector to support. We
will examine the overall Federal portfolio of research activity in
the context of preparing the Fiscal Year 2002 budget, and will work
to develop an appropriately balanced program of Federal research."
QUESTION TO O'KEEFE BY SENATOR LIEBERMAN:
that President Bush has made public statements suggesting strong support
for civilian R&D, and for prioritizing health research. The President
has gone so far as to suggest a nearly $3 billion increase for medical
research. As you know, NIH has received significant funding increases
in recent years, yet the health community acknowledges that advances
in medical research are heavily dependent on advances in other disciplines
such as physics and chemistry, whose funding is based primarily in
agencies other than NIH. How would you propose to distribute this
$3 billion for medical research? Specifically, how much of this will
go towards agencies other than NIH? How do you define a balanced civilian
Federal Research portfolio?"
ANSWER, DEPUTY DIRECTOR O'KEEFE:
in disciplines such as physics and chemistry have contributed to advances
in medical research. The President's budget continues to invest in
research, both at NIH and at other agencies in basic and applied research.
However, this Administration has put a priority on research that advances
our understanding and capabilities in medicine and health, so that
major increases in our already substantial investment in research
will be at NIH for FY 2002.
needs a balanced portfolio of research, funded by both the Federal
government and the private sector, in both defense and nondefense
areas, and across fields of science. 'Balance' can and should change
over time. For example, a 'balanced portfolio' of research looked
very different during the Cold War era than it does now. Many research
areas have received very large budget increases over the last few
years. Our budget extends this balance by proposing to permanently
extend the R&D tax credit. This will help encourage significant increases
in private sector R&D investments. We believe that the current portfolio
is balanced, but we expect to further refine this balance as we assess
new and ongoing research opportunities in future budgets."