The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News

Number 77: June 29, 2000

The Clinton Administration has recently released two Statements
of Administration Policy on H.R. 4635, the VA, HUD, and
Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill, and H.R. 4690, the
Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations Bill. H.R. 4635 funds NSF
and NASA, and is now pending before Senator Christopher Bond (R-
MO) and his subcommittee. H.R. 4690, which funds the National
Institute of Standards and Technology, is now before Senator Judd
Gregg (R-NH) and his subcommittee. Selections follow from these
Statements, which outline the administration’s projections of the
impacts of these FY 2001 budget bills:


“The Administration strongly opposes the Committee’s funding
recommendations for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The
Committee’s bill would jeopardize our investment in the future
by cutting NSF investments in science, engineering, and
education by $508 million, 11 percent below the requested level.
This reduction would seriously undermine priority investments in
cutting-edge research and eliminate funding for almost 18,000
researchers and science and mathematics educators — slowing
innovation and reducing the number of well-trained students
needed by the Nation’s high tech industries. This reduction would
also skew the balance among the different sciences within our R&D
portfolio, eliminating physical science, mathematics, and
engineering research that are needed, for example, to make our
biomedical research investments much more productive.

“Research Priorities. The Committee reduction would seriously
undermine priority investments in Information Technology,
Nanotechnology, and Biocomplexity. External advisory committees
have emphasized the vital importance of sustained and adequate
Federal investments for long-term, fundamental research in these
key areas. By failing to provide the Administration’s request in
these priority areas, the House would severely undercut support
for the basic research that serves as the foundation for
breakthroughs in health care, environmental protection, energy,
food production, communications, and a host of technology
dependent industries.

“Research Facilities. The Committee’s deletion of funding for
Earthscope and the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)
would delay the development of large-scale research equipment to
enable us to understand better and predict earthquakes and
threats to sensitive ecological regions. The Committee’s refusal
to fund a second terascale computer would significantly hamper
the burgeoning demand from researchers across the country for
high speed computer applications. The Administration is concerned
by the Committee’s decision to provide unrequested funding for
the lower-priority High-Performance Instrumented Airborne
Platform for Environmental Research aircraft instead of funding
the second terascale computer, NEON, and Earthscope, all of which
went through significant review prior to approval and endorsement
by the National Science Board.

“Education. The Administration is troubled by the Committee
bill’s inadequate funding for undergraduate education, which is
$30 million, or 21 percent, below the Administration’s request,
and five percent below the FY 2000 enacted level. The Committee
bill would provide no funds for the Scholarships for Service
initiative, which is intended to educate the next generation of
Federal information technology managers by awarding scholarships
for the study of information assurance and computer security in
exchange for federal service.

“Opportunity Fund. The Committee bill would eliminate the
Opportunity Fund, hindering NSF’s ability to react to a rapidly
changing research environment. The Fund allows NSF to fund
innovative research that could lead to significant discoveries in
new and emerging fields of science and engineering.”

NASA (H.R. 4635):

“The Administration appreciates the Committee’s effort to fund
the International Space Station program, Space Shuttle safety
upgrades, and Space and Earth Science research. Likewise, we
appreciate that the Committee has included no earmarks for
projects that have not been subject to competitive selection and
encourage the House to maintain this standard as it develops its

“However, the Administration strongly opposes the Committee
bill’s elimination of the $290 million requested for NASA’s Space
Launch Initiative, a program that is critical to the long-term
future of NASA . . . “

“The Administration has several other concerns regarding NASA.
First, the Administration opposes the elimination of the $20
million funding request for the ‘Living with a Star’ initiative.
This initiative would enhance our understanding of the sun and
its impact on Earth and the environment, and would also help
provide early warning against solar flares and mass ejections
that can damage critical infrastructure such as civil, national
security, and commercial satellites. Second, the Administration
objects to the $55 million reduction to NASA’s aeronautical
research efforts that promise new technologies to reduce air
traffic congestion. Third, the Administration requests removal
of bill and report language preventing NASA from funding joint
research projects with the U.S. Air Force. This limitation would
greatly impair NASA and U.S. Air Force research efforts in
aeronautics and space technology, forcing unnecessary duplication
of efforts between both agencies.”


“The Administration strongly opposes the bill’s elimination of
funding for the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). ATP is a
public-private partnership for developing high-risk technologies
that have significant commercial potential. Terminating the
program would stop 185 ongoing projects as well as new grants,
and would halt research and development efforts that are
beginning to produce widespread economic benefits.

“The bill insufficiently funds National Institute of Standards
and Technology (NIST) initiatives to promote the development of
new information technology, nanotechnology, and infrastructure
assurance, as well as enhance the use of e-commerce services by
small manufacturers.”

As stated in FYI #76, Members of Congress are the most responsive
to their constituents. Constituents can be the most effective in
communicating with their representatives by describing specific
examples of why federal funding should be maintained or
increased, or the consequences of funding reductions. AIP’s
Science Policy website at has additional
information on Communicating with Congress.

Richard M. Jones
Public Information Division
American Institute of Physics
(301) 209-3095