“I know you share my belief that the long-term economic prosperity of this nation depends to a large extent on science, technology, and our ability to innovate,” House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) told the members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. In written testimony to the subcommittee submitted on April 2, Gordon outlined his recommendations for the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and NASA.
Gordon’s testimony, and that of public witnesses from scientific organizations precedes what are expected to be significant budget requests for many S&T departments and agencies that will be sent to Congress late this month or in early May. The Administration has already signaled its intentions in the FY 2010 budget overview sent to Congress in late February. Nevertheless, a budget outcome should never be taken for granted: competition for money will be stiff, and outside developments can change what was thought to be certain.
Historically, relationships between authorizers and appropriators have ranged widely. A recurring theme during the last few years is one of cooperation and coordination. Selections from Gordon’s testimony on NSF, NIST and NASA follow. The Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee does not provide funding for the DOE Office of Science, NIH, or USGS. The full text of Gordon’s remarks is available here.
Administration FY 2010 Overview:
“Although full details are not yet available on the Administration’s budget request, I am pleased that the budget request summary provided to Congress in late February demonstrates the Administration’s continued commitment to science and technology, and welcome the robust funding levels requested for our federal science agencies.”
National Science Foundation:
“The economic downturn has had far-reaching effects, including forcing many universities across the country to cut research budgets. These local cuts make sustained federal investment in NSF research even more important. For this reason, I support the Administration’s budget request of $7 billion for NSF in Fiscal Year 2010. However, I am requesting that the Subcommittee consider providing slightly more funding to NSF, if needed, to accommodate full funding of the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program and to provide an adequate funding increase to MSP [Math and Science Partnerships], without sacrificing necessary funding for the other important programs within NSF.
“I am very pleased that the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program was fully funded in Fiscal Year 2009 at the authorized level of $115 million ($55 million in the Fiscal Year 2009 omnibus appropriations bill and $60 million in the Economic Recovery Act). I urge the Subcommittee to once again demonstrate its commitment to this important program in Fiscal Year 2010. Although the America COMPETES Act authorized $140.5 million for the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, I am requesting that the Program be funded at $70 million in Fiscal Year 2010. This represents an increase over the Fiscal Year 2009 omnibus appropriations bill funding level that is consistent with the increase laid out in the America COMPETES Act. I also urge the Subcommittee to provide for a comparable increase in funding above the Fiscal Year 2009 appropriation for the MSP program.”
National Institute of Standards and Technology:
“I appreciate the Subcommittee’s past commitment to providing adequate funding for NIST and am grateful that the Fiscal Year 2009 appropriations bill provided close to the authorized funding level for NIST. I urge the Subcommittee to once again ensure that NIST is provided the funding it needs to promote U.S. innovation and competitiveness.
“I strongly support the Administration’s budget request of $125 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), and urge the Subcommittee to provide funding at this level.”
“The Technology Innovation Program (TIP) was created in the America COMPETES Act to update and build upon the proven success of the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). . . .
" I appreciate the Administration’s budget request of $70 million for TIP. Although the funding request is significantly below the authorized funding level of $140 million in the America COMPETES Act, I recognize the tough budgetary situation we face. As a result, I support this request. At the same time, if at all possible, I would urge the Subcommittee to consider providing slightly more funding for this important program. A funding level of $85 million, for example, would go a long way to ensuring the success of this new program and would send an important signal about our continued commitment to innovation and economic prosperity.”
“I am pleased that the Administration has requested $18.7 billion for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Fiscal Year 2010, which I consider to be welcome recognition that NASA needs additional resources to carry out the important tasks that the nation has given it. I strongly urge the Subcommittee to provide at least this level of funding, and hope that you will give serious consideration to providing appropriations for NASA consistent with the funding level authorized in the NASA Authorization Act of 2008.
“Last year, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of NASA. As we look ahead to the opportunities and challenges facing NASA over its next 50 years, I believe that we must do what we can to enable NASA to continue to engage in the most cutting-edge research and serve as inspiration for the next generation of scientists and engineers. To do this, NASA will need resources that are sufficient to allow it to fulfill each of its diverse missions, including space and Earth science, microgravity research, human space flight and exploration, aeronautics research and development, and education, as productively as possible.”
“I urge the Subcommittee to keep the promises that we made in the America COMPETES Act and provide adequate funding for the National Science Foundation and the National Institute for Standards and Technology in Fiscal Year 2010. In addition, I urge the Subcommittee to provide funding to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Fiscal Year 2010 at a level that allows it to effectively carry out its responsibilities.”