Republican and Democratic members of the House Science
Committee have issued a report expressing concern about the
“minuscule” budget increase the Bush Administration requested
for the National Science Foundation for FY 2002, and are
“particularly concerned” about the future of the DOE Office of
Science. The committee also feels that the Administration’s
cost containment measures for the International Space Station
“may provide inadequate.”

These reactions to the Administration’s Budget Blueprint (see
FYI #24) are contained in the “Views and Estimates of the
Committee on Science for FY 2002,” mandated by the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. The report was signed by
all of the committee’s Democrats, and all but three of its
Republicans. The signatories include some of the most
conservative and liberal members of the House. Their report
is posted on the committee’s web site at

This document has two components: a nine-page section signed
by the majority of the committee, and a separate section of
Additional Views. The first section reflects the committee’s
traditionally bipartisan nature, although the Democrats later
explain that they signed the report “to show support for our
new Chairman, and because the content of that report was both
inoffensive and generally pointed in the right direction.”
The Additional Views are more critical of the Administration’s

The nine page section begins by declaring, “Science and
technology are the keystones of our economic prosperity.” It
continues, “But advances in science and technology do not come
cheap or without focused effort; nor are they solely the
responsibility of the private sector.” The committee “intends
to continue to build on, and implement the principles in the
Ehlers report and similar reports that have underscored the
need to invest in R&D.” It will be “especially attentive” to
education, energy policy, and environmental issues. The
report later states, “The Committee looks forward to working
with the Administration and our Congressional colleagues to
try to develop ways to determine whether the current portfolio
is too heavily weighted toward NIH, and, if it is, to figure
out what a balanced portfolio would be.”

In discussing NSF, the report notes that President Ronald
Reagan called for a doubling of its budget, and then states:
“The Committee is concerned that the Budget Blueprint calls
for only a minuscule increase in the NSF budget for FY 2002,
and appears to cut funding for research grants and/or research
equipment (even in current dollars.) While the Committee
understands that macroeconomic constraints may prevent NSF
from increasing at last year’s unprecedented rate, NSF should
continue to grow in FY 2002 and future years. The Committee
looks forward to working with the Administration, which has
expressed support for NSF’s mission and programs, to ensure
that its funding is commensurate with its importance.” While
gratified that the Administration recognizes NSF’s math and
science education work, the committee “believes that greater
funding may be necessary to carry out that mission.” The
committee is pleased that the Administration will be examining
grant size and duration, and large project management.

Regarding the Department of Energy, the report states: “The
Committee is concerned that the Budget Blueprint contains a 3
percent cut in DOE’s budget from FY 2001 levels. However, it
is impossible to analyze the implications of this proposal
without further details.” The report continues: “The
Committee is particularly concerned about the future of the
Office of Science, which funds user facilities and academic
research. In recent years, many user facilities have had to
cut back their hours because of funding limitations, idling
investments that have cost taxpayers billions. In addition,
the Committee believes that money must be budgeted now to
address the aging of many DOE facilities and staff. The
Committee continues to closely monitor the construction of the
Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to
ensure that it remains on schedule and budget.”

In the section on NASA, the report declares: “The Budget
Blueprint includes a 2 percent increase for NASA for FY 2002,
but it is difficult to assess the adequacy of that request
without further details.” It continues, “Of greatest concern
is the future of the International Space Station. The
Committee continues to support development of the Space
Station within the $25 billion development cap enacted into
law last year (P.L. 106-391). The Committee applauds the
Administration for reviewing the costs of the Space Station
and for its commitment to solving the Space Station’s funding
problems . . . . However, the Committee remains concerned
that the proposed steps to contain the Space Station’s cost
growth may prove inadequate to addressing a $4 billion
problem.” Regarding space science, the report states, “The
Committee appreciates the Administration’s commitment to space
and earth science, particularly its decision to ensure that
the Mars exploration program and the second generation of
Earth Observing Satellites are adequately funded. The
Committee, noting the cancellation of the Pluto-Kuiper
Express, believes that NASA should develop an integrated
science strategy for exploring the outer planets.”

Elsewhere, the report discusses the National Institutes of
Standards and Technology, declaring: “First priority must be
given to enhancing the Scientific and Technical Research and
Services account of the National Institute of Standards and
Technology. As NIST celebrates its 100th anniversary, its
laboratory programs, which help industry compete at home and
abroad, are more important than ever. The Committee also
continues to support the Manufacturing Extension Partnership,
which helps smaller manufacturers modernize to remain
competitive. Finally, the Committee looks forward to working
with the Administration as it reviews the Advanced Technology
Program (ATP). The Committee hopes that ways can be found to
structure ATP so it can continue to be a catalyst for
innovation without being an ideological lightning rod. One
possible approach would be to increase the role of the states
in ATP.”

Democratic committee members issued “Minority Additional
Views” critical of the Budget Blueprint. “What we know of the
new Administration’s budget concerns us,” they caution. “We
want to clearly state that we believe – along with such
diverse sources as Allan Bromley, Federal Reserve Chairman
Greenspan, Andy Grove of INTEL, and the Hart-Rudman Commission
on National Security – that Federal funding for research is a
necessary precondition for continued economic success and
security in our high technology economy. We also believe that
funding for our science agencies – all of our agencies, not
just a select set – must be increased.” The Democrats project
that Bush’s request, after inflation, will necessitate a 3 to
4% decline in NSF’s budget for competitive research grants,
question the lack of a rationale for the elimination of two
NASA space science projects, and express concern about the
budgets for other science agencies.


Richard M. Jones

Public Information Division

The American Institute of Physics

(301) 209-3095