When Congress returns from its recess next week attention to the FY
2006 appropriations bills will increase. While the first bills are many
weeks away, the new chairman of the House Appropriations Committee,
Jerry Lewis (R-CA), has told his subcommittee chairmen to put their
draft bills on a fast track. This and forthcoming FYIs will focus on
what has been said about the Bush Administration's FY 2006 budget request
in a series of statements on S&T funding and several House Science
Committee hearings. This FYI reviews a Senate statement in support of
the DOE Office of Science and the NSF. See FYI #43 for a statement by
Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on
Science, State, Justice, and Commerce and Related Agencies.
Both the House and Senate have passed their own versions of a budget
resolution setting broad parameters for taxing and spending in the next
fiscal year. Members will try next to write a final, compromise resolution
to guide the FY 2006 appropriations process in each chamber. Accompanying
these non-binding budget resolutions is report language which provides
a vehicle for Members to express their chamber's views regarding spending.
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has been a strong supporter of federal
S&T programs. In the forthcoming Senate Budget Committee report
accompanying the Senate Budget Resolution, S. Con. Res. 18, Alexander
was responsible for the following language regarding the DOE Office
of Science and the National Science Foundation:
"The budget resolution recognizes the importance
of the research and education initiatives of the Department of Energy's
Office of Science and the National Science Foundation to the nation's
economic future and our position as the world's leader in technology
"Investment in the physical sciences, life sciences,
engineering, mathematics, and computing is critical to our national
security, energy security, as well as development of the next generation
of America's scientists and engineers.
"Other countries are investing heavily in research
that produces talented, highly-educated workers and cutting edge companies.
China graduates almost four times as many engineers as the U.S. India
is pouring money into technology parks to lure back native talent
and produce world class companies. South Korea has leveraged rapid
global technology diffusion to leapfrog into the global economy. It
graduates nearly the same number of engineers as the U.S. though it
has 1/6th the population and 1/20th the GDP. From 1980 until 2001
the U.S. share of high-tech exports fell from 31 percent to 18 percent.
The European Union is poised to graduate 4 times as many PhD's as
the U.S. over the next 5 years. Clearly, the statistics point to an
emerging crisis in U.S. competitiveness like never before and sustained
investment in science and technology at the Department of Energy's
Office of Science and the National Science Foundation must be at the
core of America's strategy to compete.
"Just as Congress has recognized the importance of
increased support and funding to health sciences research, it is important
to invest in the basic sciences research conducted by the DOE Office
of Science's national labs and the NSF."
Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics