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An Overview of the Federal R&D Budget for Fiscal Year 2006

Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 12:00am
Washington, D.C.

Opening Statement By Hon. Bart Gordon

Thank you Mr. Chairman. I join you in welcoming our distinguished panel to this morning’s hearing.  And I agree with you, Mr. Chairman that the science budget before us today could have been worse - but that doesn’t mean we just take what we get and passively make lemonade out of lemons.  We cannot ignore the cumulative damage this is doing to our future.

This is my second year as Ranking Member and I come to you today even more distressed about the lack of foresight that this Administration has shown in putting together this R&D budget than I was last year.

I’m particularly concerned that reports claim Dr. Marburger called this a "pretty good year" for research funding.  How can this be called a "pretty good year" when the Federal Science and Technology budget decreased by $877 million dollars?

How can this Administration contend that a 12.4% cut to K-12 Science and Math Education is a "pretty good year;" a 6% decrease in NASA aeronautics; $320 million dollars less to basic research and a 8.2% cut to NOAA research - even after the tsunami disaster the world just witnessed?  That doesn’t sound like a "pretty good year" to me.

I wish that was the end of the list, but it is only the beginning.  NSF is over $5 billion dollars behind the authorization level that this Administration signed into law.  Department of Energy research was slashed 4.1% for their Office of Science, cut 3% for high-energy physics research, and 8.4% cuts for nuclear physics.

I want to remind everyone that research in nuclear, high energy and condensed matter physics is not just some random academic exercise.  Research in these areas has led to many remarkable innovations including PET scans, MRIs, nuclear medicines and cancer therapies.

The Manufacturing Extension Program - probably the most effective Federal program in providing immediate help to U.S. manufacturers - is - AGAIN - slashed severely.  The Advanced Technology Program is - AGAIN - eliminated.  It makes no sense to cut job creation programs when U.S. manufacturing is losing tens of thousands of jobs to overseas competition.

This was not a pretty good year - not under any circumstances.

The current approach of this Administration is short-sighted - it ignores the vital role that research performed today plays in our quality of life and world position tomorrow.  We can and we must do better to secure our nation’s future prosperity.  We must redefine the discussion.  We need to consider science and technology research as an investment - not spending.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again now - maintaining a lead in science and technology is a flat-out race.  If we stop running at the top speed we can manage, we will lose.  Even in the current fiscal crisis, this budget is not the top speed we can manage for science and technology investment.  Lack of investment in innovation and invention now will come home to roost later.

We all understand the need for reasonable cuts and budget realignments, but we must do so with an eye towards our country’s future.  I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to try to realign this Administration’s spending priorities to better meet our science and technology needs and guard our future fiscal prosperity.

Thank you.



1 - Hon. John Marburger
Director Office of Science and Technology Policy Office of Science and Technology Policy
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2 - Hon. Samuel Bodman
Secretary Department of Energy Department of Energy
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3 - Hon. Arden Bement
Director National Science Foundation National Science Foundation
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4 - Hon. Charles McQueary
Undersecretary for Science and Technology Department of Homeland Security Department of Homeland Security
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5 - Hon. Theodore Kassinger
Deputy Secretary Department of Commerce Department of Commerce
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Link to Government Printing Office PDF file Link to text version Link to text version with speaker index
Serial 109-4
109th Congress