Budget Committee Initial Recommendations on R&D Spending Cuts

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Publication date: 
21 March 1995
Number: 
41

Within the next few weeks, the House will vote on a legislative
package which will include a reduction in discretionary spending of
$100 billion over the next five years.  Discretionary spending is
directly controlled by the annual appropriations process, and
includes funding for NSF, NASA, DOE, and the Department of
Commerce.  Under the provisions of the legislation, a key component
of which has cleared the House Budget Committee, spending caps on
discretionary spending frozen in 1993 would be extended another two
years through the year 2000.  In addition, another $100 billion
beyond this level would be cut from FY 1996 - 2000 budgets.  These
savings will be used to pay for portions of the "Contract with
America."

How could this $100 billion be cut?  A March 16, 45-page document
entitled, "Illustrative Republican Spending Cuts Toward Meeting
Contract with America Offset Requirements," provides "an
illustrative list of discretionary spending cuts that the House
Budget Committee has suggested to show that this $100 billion cap
reduction is achievable."  The document notes that "these
suggestions are not binding."  Actual cuts to meet the reduction
are the responsibility of various committees.  Some of the
physics-related science and technology recommendations made by the
Budget Committee, with projected five year savings, are:

Under a heading which states,"Begin Termination of the Department
of Energy:" "Reduce Energy Supply Research and Development."
$2.318 billion.  Included in this reduction are the international
fusion program, "the neutron source reactor," solar and renewable
energy, biological and environmental research, environment
restoration and waste management, technology transfer, and the
precollege education program. 

U.S. Geological Survey.  "Significant reforms...but not...outright
elimination" are recommended for three Interior Department
minerals-related agencies, for a total savings of $1.049 billion.

"Accept President Clinton's Management Reforms for Human Space
Flight, and Science, Aeronautics, and Technology in NASA." $1.546
billion. 

"Re-Evaluate Mission to Planet Earth Science Requirements." $326
million.  "The EOS program has gone through several planning
exercises that have reduced its cost and scope.... This proposal
would scale back and delay parts of the system."

Under a heading which states, "Begin Phase I of Terminating the
Department of Commerce:" "Eliminate Industrial Technology Services
and Several programs in the National Telecommunications and
Information Administration that are Engaged in Industrial Policy."
($2.166 billion)  "Although the Federal Government has a role in
basic research, it should not be engaged in applied research.
Furthermore, considerable evidence exists that the Federal
Government in not capable of picking projects with the greatest
potential for technological and commercial success.  Therefore,
this proposal would terminate funding in the Department of Commerce
for Industrial Technology Services, including the so-called
Advanced Technology Program and phase out the manufacturing
extension partnership."  Also: "Restructure the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration." ($1.185 billion.)

"Reduce Funding for Goals 2000 and School-to-Work Programs." ($723
million)  "This proposal eliminates funding for three programs:
Goals 2000 National Programs, which support assessments,
development of standards, research, and technical assistance...."
Goals 2000 State and Local Grants would be frozen at $229 million.

House Budget Committee John Kasich (R-Ohio) has stated that
additional cuts in discretionary spending levels will be made in
May when the committee starts work on the FY 1996 budget.  These
cuts will be aimed at balancing the federal budget by the year
2002.  How the Senate will react to these proposals is yet to be
seen.

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