It’s a pleasure to welcome everyone here today for our overview of the President’s proposed research and development (R&D) budget for fiscal year 2003. We began our look at the budget last week with a review of the proposed FreedomCAR program and we’ll continue after the President’s Day recess with a hearing on the NASA budget at which we’ll hear from Administrator O’Keefe.

But today our focus is on the R&D budget as a whole – what it says about the nation’s research priorities, and how our leading research agencies are expected to work together to carry it out.

Even a casual glance at the budget makes clear what the R&D priorities are – biomedical research and the fight against terrorism at home and abroad. These are reasonable – even self-evident — priorities and they deserve to be funded more generously than are other programs. That’s what it means to be a budget priority.

But I’m concerned that the proposed budget treats these items not just as priorities, but as panaceas. And that, I fear, is a mistake. I have long supported, and continue to support the doubling of the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). But the NIH alone cannot undergird our economic health or even improve human health. Yet the NIH budget is now larger than that of the rest of the civilian science agencies put together, and just the increase in the NIH budget is larger than the research budget of NSF.

Similarly, I have long been a supporter of Defense Department development programs, but those programs alone cannot create a stable and secure American society or even ensure our protection from enemy attacks over the long-term. Yet while the Pentagon is slated to receive a 12 percent increase, basic and applied research in the Defense Department are flat, and numerous programs in other agencies that unarguably contribute to Homeland Security receive tepid increases.

For years, some have raised the difficult question of whether the R&D budget is out of balance. This year, we may finally find out the answer, and I fear it will be “yes.”

The focusing of the proposed R&D budget on two narrowly defined priority areas has left the spending for other agencies anemic, as I’ve said elsewhere. The Congress, led by this Committee, will have to show its mettle and provide an infusion of cash for the rest of the research budget, even in these straitened times.

A case in point is the National Science Foundation (NSF). The way the budget showers NSF with lavish praise but limited resources reminds me of an old joke about a will. The will says, “To Joe, who I said I would mention in my will, hello Joe.”Ê Sometimes, people – and agencies – expect more than just recognition.

Some have argued that NSF’s budget should be doubled – a proposal that has always struck me as arbitrary. But we need to engage in a serious debate about the future of NSF, and this Committee will do that over the next few months as we write an NSF reauthorization bill.

ÊAnd in discussing the future of NSF, I hope we won’t be distracted by the well meaning, but largely wrongheaded proposals to transfer new programs to the agency. Our Environment Subcommittee will have a hearing on February 28 to review concerns that have been raised about the Sea Grant program, but however legitimate those concerns, moving the program to NSF is a cure worse than the disease. I think the same can be said for moving the U.S. Geological Survey’s hydrology program. ÊThe transfer of the environmental education program is a closer question and we continue to review it.

I also want to continue to keep a close eye on the way the budget is handling the Homestake Mine project, which threatens to take advantage of taxpayers and distort NSF’s priorities

I don’t want to take time in this statement to discuss every agency before us this morning, but let me just say I have concerns about funding levels at the departments of Commerce and Energy as well.

The budget before us also funds several well chosen interagency initiatives, which I hope we will be able to discuss this morning, especially since we have Dr. Marburger with us, who has played a critical role in preparing the R&D budget. I’m especially interested in the Climate Change initiatives, which seem to be moving in the right direction but are short on detail. One concern I have is that the Department of Energy seems wholly uninterested in, and unprepared to carry out the National Climate Change Technology Initiative. Indeed, DOE has repeatedly failed to draw attention to this supposed Presidential priority in its budget and today’s testimony is no exception.

Overall, the Climate Change initiative, at this stage, seems to be asking the right questions without coming up with any clear answers. (In that regard, I guess it has a lot in common with many Congressional hearings.)Ê We’ll be holding a full Committee hearing next month on the Climate Change program, but I hope we can begin examining it today.

So, there’s plenty to discuss this morning. I expect that a lot of the time, we will basically be debating whether the R&D budget outside of DOD and NIH is a glass half- full or half -mpty. I’m willing to see it half-full, but I don’t think anyone will be able to argue that it’s any fuller than that. I don’t want to pour “cold water” over this budget, but I do want to fill up the glass a little more. I look forward to working with today’s witnesses to do that.