"PCAST has an...important responsibility to identify policy options
that may pose threats to the long-term economic security, national
security or quality of life of Americans. The current budget
climate has produced such threats."
--President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology
The President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology
(PCAST), a panel of 19 leaders of industry and academia, expressed
serious concerns about the threat of reduced science and technology
funding in current and future federal budgets. On September 25,
the Committee sent letters to President Clinton, Senate Majority
Leader Bob Dole (R-KS), Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD),
House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), and House Minority Leader
Richard Gephardt (D-MO), warning of the potential impacts of
reduced R&D funding. Below is the text of the letter to
Congressional leaders; the letter to President Clinton was similar.
"At a time when difficult choices are being made in the allocation
of scarce budgetary resources, the nature and extent of the
Nation's investment in science and technology are being
re-examined. The President's Committee of Advisors on Science and
Technology (PCAST) is acutely aware of the budget realities and
wishes to assist the President and the Congress in evaluating the
options among which you must choose.
"PCAST has an equally important responsibility to identify policy
options that may pose threats to the long-term economic security,
national security or quality of life of Americans. The current
budget climate has produced such threats.
"To provide an explicit common framework for PCAST when providing
these views and in our individual dealings with colleagues and the
public, we have drafted a set of "principles" which we respectfully
submit for your consideration. This statement reflects our belief
that science and technology are significant contributors to the
quality of life for all Americans. To preserve this critical
investment for the future, the Administration should continue
stable funding for both basic and applied research and development
and provide strong Federal support for research and education at
universities, research institutions, and national laboratories.
These principles are consistent with the Administration's policy
statements, but also reflect the current debate driven both by
fiscal stringencies and by differing views about Federal
"The resolution of current budget deliberations as well as the FY
1997 budget request will represent crucial statements about the
country's investment strategy as we seek to eliminate the deficit.
We hope that our set of principles may help inform the creation of
this investment strategy and stand ready to provide advice on any
The letter was signed by PCAST Co-chairman John Young of
The Statement of Principles drafted by PCAST, and the justification
for them, will be provided in FYI #142. As yet, PCAST has not
received any replies to its correspondence.