Bill Introduced by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson Would Double National Science Foundation Funding
The bill (H.R. 1472) provides for 15 percent annual increases in the NSF budget for FY 2002-2005 which, together with the 13 percent increase for the current fiscal year, would double NSF's budget over the period 2001-2005. The increases provided for in the bill will allow NSF to go forward with substantial new and ongoing initiatives in information technology, biodiversity, nanotechnology, the mathematical sciences and the social and behavioral sciences.
Sixteen other Democrats on the Committee joined her as cosponsors. Ms. Johnson is a member of the House Science Committee and is the Ranking Democratic Member of the Research Subcommittee, with jurisdiction over the NSF.
Ms. Johnson noted that, "NSF's budget must be increased so that children of all races and both genders receive the basic grounding in science and mathematics that will prepare them to pursue careers as scientists, engineers and technologists. We simply cannot allow inadequate funding to cripple NSF's efforts in this area."
"There is really no debate on whether support of basic research is an appropriate role of the Federal Government," said Ms. Johnson. "The basic economic argument is well understood. Industry will underinvest in basic research because individual companies cannot capture the full benefits of advances in fundamental knowledge that come from funding basic research.
"The question, rather, is what ought to be the level of the Federal research investment? The bill I am introducing takes the position that it is too low in the President's Budget Blueprint, particularly for basic research in the fields for which NSF is a major funding agency: the physical sciences, mathematics, and engineering," she said.
The connection between funding and strength of the economy has been pointed out by such diverse sources as former presidential science advisor D. Allan Bromley, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and the Hart-Rudman Commission on National Security.