Science Committee Members Blast GOP Budget for Inadequately Funding Science
Three House Democrats who serve on both the Budget Committee and the Science Committee expressed disappointment at the low level of funding for science agencies in the Fiscal Year 2002 Budget Resolution Conference Report. The Conference Report was adopted today in the House by a vote of 221-207.
"I am deeply troubled that the Republican budget significantly lowers funding for scientific research at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and NASA," said Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA). "As the newest member of the Science Committee, I was proud to honor the contributions of the NSF on the House Floor yesterday. It is unfortunate that our Republican colleagues have chosen not to honor the NSF in a much more meaningful way - by funding their scientific research adequately."
"I continue to be concerned about the decreases in the budget for the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy," said Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT). "I was pleased to join my colleagues yesterday in recognizing the contributions of the NSF over the last 50 years. The NSF has been the backbone of basic research in the country and the impetus for much of the innovation and discovery driving our national economy. We should continue to support the NSF at a level providing for on-going success."
"If we do not invest in science education now, there will be fewer scientists trained in the future to produce the innovations necessary to drive our economy" said Rep. Joseph Hoeffel (D-PA). "By cutting funding for the NSF, NASA, and DOE the Republican budget stifles future technology advancements necessary to keep the United States as the world leader in science and technology."
Budget Function 250, which includes the National Science Foundation, all National Aeronautics and Space Administration programs except air transportation programs, and the Department of Energy's fundamental science programs, is the principal category in the Federal budget funding civilian research and development (R&D). The Conference Report includes $21.58 billion for Function 250 in FY 2002 - $620 million below the House-passed level of $22.2 billion and a staggering $1.22 billion below the Senate-passed level of $22.80 billion. Normally, a final conference agreement is a compromise between the House and Senate positions. However, in this instance, the conferees agreed to cut funding for these critical R&D activities significantly below the levels previously approved in both the House and Senate.
For the ten fiscal years 2002-2011, the agreement provides $236 billion for Function 250, $11 billion less than the House level of $247 billion and $4 billion less than the Senate level of $240 billion. Over the five-year period from 2002-2006, the Conference Agreement provides $112.2 billion for Function 250, $200 million less than the President's requested level of $112.4 billion.