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House Panel Calls for Increase in R&D Spending

April 04, 1997

The House Committee on Science recently submitted its budget recom-endations to the House Budget Com-mittee. The recommendations call for a three percent total spending increase for federal research and development over FY 1997. The Administration's budget calls for a one percent increase for the civilian science and technology programs that are under the House Science Committee's jurisdiction. Those programs include NASA, FEMA, DOE, EPA, NOAA, NIST, and the Department of Commerce's Technology Administration.

The budget proposal, entitled "Views and Estimates of the Committee on Science for Fiscal Year 1998," was signed by a majority of Republicans and Democrats on the committee. "Views and Estimates" reports are required from each of the House Committees and are used by the House Budget Committee in formulating the Budget Resolution.

Precise dollar figures were not included in the report. However, in addition to the recommendation of a three percent increase, the committee presented a list of five criteria which it believes programs must meet or exceed to receive authorization for funding. These criteria include:

  1. Federal research and development should focus on essential programs that are long-term, high risk, non-commercial, cutting edge, well-managed and have great potential for scientific discovery;
  2. Federal R&D should be highly relevant to and tightly focused on agency missions with accountability and procedures for evaluating quality results;
  3. Beyond the demonstration of technical feasibility, activities associated with evolutionary advances or technical improvements to a product or process or the marketing or commercialization of a product or process should be left to the private sector;
  4. Where possible, international, industry and state science partnerships should be nurtured as a way to leverage taxpayer R&D investment;
  5. Infrastructure necessary for carrying out essential federal R&D programs needs to be prioritized consistent with program requirements.