Today, House Science Committee chairman Robert Walker (R-PA) held
a press briefing on the science provisions in the House Budget
Committee's budget resolution. The House Budget Committee, chaired
by John Kasich (R-OH), introduced their version of a balanced
budget plan yesterday. It claims to make a total of $1.4 trillion
in cuts to projected spending for the next seven years in order to
bring the federal budget into balance by FY 2002, and to provide
$360 billion in tax cuts. The Senate version, which would cut $961
billion over the same period and contains no tax cuts, was released
on Tuesday (see FYI #66).
Walker began his briefing by stating that the budget plan "put the
emphasis into basic research." According to Walker and other
sources, the major science provisions of the House resolution
The General Science, Space and Technology budget function, which
includes NSF, NASA, and DOE's basic research programs, would
decline from $16.7 billion in FY 1996 (budget authority) to $14.9
billion in FY 2000.
The NSF budget would continue to grow. Its research and related
activities, with the exclusion of social, behavioral and economic
studies and the Critical Technologies Institute, are slated for
annual increases of three percent. However, just as in the Senate
plan, the House resolution considers a baseline of current-year (FY
1995) funding for future years, and any increase beyond that is
considered growth, with inflation not taken into account.
DOE would be eliminated, although some of its activities would be
continued elsewhere. Programs such as Energy Supply and
Conservation would experience significant cuts.
NASA would be reduced from its current budget of over $14 billion
to $11.7 billion by FY 2000. Estimated savings from President
Clinton's planned management reforms are included in the
resolution, as well as privatization of the shuttle. The Space
Station would remain fully funded. Additional cuts of $2.7 billion
would come from rescoping the Mission to Planet Earth.
The Department of Commerce would be abolished. While the core
intramural laboratory programs of NIST would be preserved, and even
increased to $306.6 million by FY 2000, the Advanced Technology
Program would be canceled.
The Office of Technology Assessment would also be eliminated.
Asked where programs salvaged from the eliminated departments would
be relocated, Walker said that while the plan did not call for a
Department of Science, he thought such an entity might be an
option. He also noted that the fate of many program would lie with
the appropriations and authorization subcommittees, which would
decide how and where to make many of the reductions called for in