White House Statement & Fact Sheet on the GOP R&D Budget Cuts

Office of Science and Technology Policy

For Immediate Release 
Contact: 202/456-6047
August 6, 1999

Statement of Neal Lane

Assistant to the President for Science and Technology

At the beginning of the FY 2000 budget debate last February, bipartisan support for strong, stable investment in science and technology never seemed more resilient. The President submitted a balanced budget that, for the seventh year in a row, requested a substantial increase in civilian research and development funding. The House had just released Unlocking our Future: Toward a New National Science Policy, reaffirming a commitment to America's preeminence in science and technology. Additionally, the House was considering legislation that would dramatically increase funding for information technology research – also an Administration goal, and the Senate had endorsed legislation to double civilian R&D funding over the next 11 years.

Today, as the Congress goes into its August recess, it is deeply disappointing to find that the current budget reality is no match for the early rhetoric. House action to date has decimated the President's R&D budget request with:

· 70% cuts to the Information Technology Initiative;

· $1.8 billion cuts from the President's civilian R&D request;

· $1 billion cuts to NASA's budget that threaten 30 space missions, slash space and earth science programs, and defer Shuttle safety improvements and critical Space Station capabilities; and

· Cuts to the National Science Foundation ($275 million) and the Department of Energy's science programs ($116 million) threaten university-based research funding affecting tens of thousands of researchers and educators, impacting students at all levels across the country, and sending a negative message to all young people about a future career in science and technology.

Scientists and engineers constitute one of the largest, most valuable, yet least heard constituencies in America. Their work makes major contributions to our economy, to our national security, and to the health and well being of our citizens and our environment. Our elected representatives need to understand that investments in the future of science and technology are investments in the future of our country, and are investments that Americans are willing to make.

The truth is that all scientists and engineers, all researchers and educators represent the constituency of the future. And all of us have a duty -- to ourselves, to our children, to future generations – to ensure that Congress does the right thing by enacting a strong, farsighted science and technology budget to help build a better America for the twenty-first century.

 I am confident that this situation can be turned around if America's research community makes its strong voice heard in the days ahead; otherwise, if such cuts are allowed to stand, we will all be leading lesser lives in a lesser land.

 President Clinton reflects the views of the overwhelming majority of Americans when he says, “Cutting back on research at the dawn of a new century where research is more important than it has been for even the last fifty years would be like cutting back our defense budget at the height of the Cold War.”






R&D Headlights Lowered

FY 2000 is the seventh year in a row that the President and Vice President have proposed increased investments in civilian research and development (R&D).

Congress is now headed in exactly the wrong direction – towards substantial reductions in civilian R&D, not just in FY 2000, but as far as the eye can see.

Current R&D appropriations measures threaten the economic future of this country. In the last fifty years, half of U.S. economic productivity is directly attributable to technological innovation and the science that supported it. Today, leaders call for bipartisan support for investments in science and technology, but cannot reconcile rhetoric with reality. Members sponsor authorizations to double funding for R&D, yet vote for historic cuts to R&D. Such hypocrisy will keep the U.S. firmly anchored in the past, while global competitors capture the innovative capacity that will mean prosperity in the 21st century.

  Rhetoric versus Reality

Double the annual amount of Federal funding for basic scientific, medical, and engineering research over 11 years. (S.296)

Cut 8-10% off the President's civilian R&D request for FY 2000.

Cut $75-90 billion from R&D over the next 10 years to pay for the tax cut.

Double basic S&T research programs in information technology (IT) by FY 2004.

(H.R. 2086)

Zero out IT funding for DOE.

Cut 70% from President's request for IT Initiative at NSF, NASA, DOE, and DOD.

The hopes that such cuts to R&D can be overcome in post-recess negotiations dim in the face of the bloated GOP tax cut Not only is Congress risking a return to deficit spending and threatening Social Security and Medicare reform, they are failing to invest in the future. The GOP tax cut plan would require cutting roughly 50 percent from all domestic government programs – including science and technology – jeopardizing the future well-being of our children and grandchildren.

The House rejects the President's proposed increased S&T investments for the future.


President's Request*

Congressional Action*

Civilian R&D

University Research

Space Exploration

Information Technology

Environmental Protection

*compared to 1999 enacted

The House blows up the Administration's bridge to a prosperous 21st century.

· House action to date cuts $1.8 billion from the President's civilian R&D request.

· House eliminates funding for 14,000 researchers and science and mathematics teachers – impacting college and university students across the nation – by cutting $275 million from the National Science Foundation.

· House slashes DOE science funding by $116 million, threatening cutting-edge research at universities and National Laboratories nationwide.

· House zeroes out funding to make America's cultural and educational assets available to all school children by cutting $20 million from the initiative to digitize America's treasures, and provide education resources through the Internet.

· Action on biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health is still to come, but, having robbed Peter to pay Paul, the Labor/HHS cupboard is now bare. This action is in direct conflict with Congressional rhetoric to double R&D spending.

· House earmarks nearly $1 billion of the R&D budget – bypassing merit review processes and potentially directing funds to projects of lower scientific priority.

 The House stalls long-term economic growth by shortchanging information technology investments.

· At a time when information technology is accounting for one-third of U.S. economic growth, and produces jobs that pay 80% more than the private sector average, the House has cut the Administration's long-term Information Technology Initiative by 70%. Information technology is the key to growth in every economic sector, and spurs the pace of discovery in every scientific discipline.

NSF down $111 million.

DOD down $40 million.

NASA down $18 million.

DOE down $75 million for high-end computing and Next Generation Internet.

The House takes giant leap backward, abandons exploration of space – the last frontier.

· $1 billion cut devastates NASA space programs forcing largest restructuring in over 25 years, threatening 30 space missions.

· 500-600 grants nationwide will be eliminated with $240 million cut to space science.

· House reduction of $285 million will terminate earth science programs that could lead to more accurate weather forecasting, and better urban and transportation planning.

· $250 million cut in human space flight budget defers Shuttle safety improvements and critical Space Station capabilities.

The Administration spurs economic growth with steady R&D investments, but an indifferent House drags its feet.

· House zeroes out Advanced Technology Program – cuts $240 million from development of cutting edge technologies from competitive, cost-shared R&D partnerships.

· Additional $60 million cut at NIST stalls progress toward the high-tech industry standards that spur the economy by delaying construction of a new standards laboratory and reducing standards research.

· House eliminates FAA funding for Global Positioning System (GPS) – cuts $17 million from safety and reliability programs for civilian users.

· House slashes Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) request by $28 million – threatening progress toward a fuel-efficient vehicle that could dominate world markets.

The House suffers through dry-spell in environmental protection research programs.

· R&D funding on renewable energy sources cut. Reducing fossil fuel emissions eliminated. Cleaning up power plants blocked. Tax breaks for Big Oil boosted. Fortune 500 companies' Business Roundtable call for developing advanced energy technologies ignored.

The House R&D cuts pose new risks to national security and global stability.

· $147 million reduction hits the Advanced Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI) that replaces reliance on underground testing with computer simulations.

· Laboratory Directed R&D funds cut; technology transfer programs at National Laboratories slashed by 73%.

· Key arms control programs cut; efforts to improve the safety of Soviet-designed nuclear reactors blocked; Nuclear Cities Program virtually eliminated.

A passion for discovery and a sense of adventure have always driven this Nation forward – and such deeply rooted American qualities have always spurred our determination to explore new scientific frontiers and spark our can-do spirit of technological innovation. But continued American leadership depends on our enduring commitment to science, to technology, to learning, and to research.

 “Cutting back on research at the dawn of a new century where research is more important than it has been for even the last fifty years would be like cutting back our defense budget at the height of the Cold War.”

– President Bill Clinton


Office of Science and Technology Policy
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W
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