Scientists decry proposed budget cuts
September 22, 1999
Web posted at: 1:28 p.m. EDT (1728 GMT)
Budget cuts to science programs may affect NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is closely tied to the California Institute of Technology.
A coalition of scientists, university professors and business leaders convened on Capitol Hill today to urge members of Congress to continue support for scientific research at American universities.
"The nation's momentum in job creation and economic growth will be slowed if the FY 2000 federal budget deliberations result in substantial cuts in domestic discretionary spending affecting science research," the coalition wrote in a statement.
The coalition maintains that the economic and medical health of the country is closely linked to scientific research. It fears that a projected 12.5 percent cut in non-defense research and development funding for science research in the FY 2000 budget would adversely affect the nation.
"Our awesome economic success can be traced directly to our past investments in science. The problem is, this year's federal budget for science is a disaster, and it compromises our nation's economic and social progress," D. Allan Bromley, Sterling professor of sciences and dean of engineering at Yale University, wrote in an editorial for the Washington Post Aug. 26.
As Congress returned from its August recess, NASA's science budget had been cut by $678 million, science at the Department of Energy had been cut by $116 million and the National Science Foundation had $275 million less than requested by President Clinton.
The Science Coalition and a host of others convened on Capitol Hill today to urge support for scientific research.
Part of the problem is that Congress imposed a tight budget cap for domestic programs in 1997 that the Republican leadership promises to adhere to as it works out the FY 2000 budget. To do so, cuts in scientific research and development seem inevitable.
"How in heaven's name can a nation with a $1 trillion surplus threaten so much scientific research so vital to its future?" David R. Gergen, editor-at-large at U.S. News and World Report, asked in an editorial that accompanied the magazine's annual guide America's best colleges.
Frederick Smith, chairman, president and CEO of Federal Express will give the keynote speech. He is expected to speak about the importance of scientific research to the nation's economy, said Jennifer Hogan, a spokeswoman for the coalition.
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The Science Coalition
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