House Science Committee, Democratic Membership

Mail address:

Office Location:

2320 Rayburn House Office Building

394 Ford House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

fax: 202/225-3895


staff contact: Mark Harkins 202/226-8324

A senior Member of the House Science Committee expressed concern today at
the release of the Bush Administration’s preliminary budget. Lynn Rivers
(D-MI) said, “This budget request remains sketchy, but what we do know
suggests that our science programs will not receive adequate support from
the Bush Administration.”

Rivers continued, “The President is to be congratulated for understanding
how important health research is at NIH – keeping that agency on track to
double its budget. However, I hope that the administration will reconsider
its requests for NSF and NASA. Neither of those critical agencies are
scheduled to receive increases that would even keep pace with inflation and
that just isn’t wise. If we are going to keep developing a new,
information-based economy, we have to invest in the research initiatives
that drive that growth. This budget looks like it will fall short on that

Committee staff analysis of the request shows the following:

NASA would receive a 2% increase compared to FY2001 to $14.5 billion. No
major new initiatives are requested and there are specific cuts to the Space
Science program (cancellation of the Pluto-Kuiper Express and the Solar
Probe Mission).

NSF receives a $56 million increase over FY2001 to $4.5 billion. Cuts to
some education programs are made to make room for the President’s Math and
Science Partnership Initiative ($200 million to support K-12 partnerships
with universities). It appears that research grants will be frozen at $3.5

Department of Energy civilian science is not clearly broken out in this
preliminary budget. DOE as a whole is requesting $19 billion, a drop of
$700 million from the FY2001 level. Press reports indicate a 7 percent cut
in renewable energy and conservation research.

The Department of Commerce request does not allow for a clear analysis of
what happens to NOAA and NIST. However, the budget does indicate that the
administration wants to suspend funding for the Advanced Technology Program.
This program has provided critical support of cooperative research efforts
between companies and between companies and research universities.

The National Institutes of Health is the only civilian science agency
scheduled to receive an increase in funding with a request of $23.1 billion,
a 14% increase over FY2001. This keeps NIH on schedule for a doubling in
funding in 5 years.

The request for the Department of the Interior also has few details on
research programs, but press reports indicate cuts of up to 22 percent in
the budget of the United States Geological Survey.

Finally, there is an error in the budget authority tables with regard to
general science. Table S-10 (p. 195) shows what seems to be a $1.3 billion
increase in the request for FY2002 for general science (NSF, NASA and DOE
science; function 250). However, the prose describes a cumulative increase
across those agencies of only $300 million. Staff believe that the
aeronautics portion of NASA’s budget did not get moved to the transportation
line (function 400) thereby greatly over-estimating the actual request for
science programs in function 250.