Magazine article Issues in Science and Technology

Partisanship Roils Science Committee

Magazine article Issues in Science and Technology

Partisanship Roils Science Committee

Article excerpt

Prior to leaving town for the summer recess, Rep. George Brown (D-Ca.), the Science Committee's ranking minority member, met with reporters to assesses the work of the committee to date. At a lengthy session on August 2, Brown said that he was dismayed by the FY 1996 authorization process and the resulting R&D levels. He argued that Walker did not have the "law or reason" to impose 602b-type authorization caps on the Science Committee's subcommittees. (602b allocations are spending caps assigned to each appropriations subcommittee based on the figures in the budget resolution. As a rule, authorizing subcommittees are not bound by these limits.) Brown believes that the restrictive authorizations required by these caps are responsible for the lower FY 1996 appropriations for programs within the committee's jurisdiction. According to Brown, these programs would experience a 12 percent funding reduction in the House compared to the FY 1996 request whereas programs authorized by other committees (which didn't have such funding constraints) would receive an average 3 percent increase.

Brown expressed concern that as investments in R&D decrease there will be a movement away from science and technology careers that will further weaken the U.S. economic position. Noting his disappointment with NASA's overall budget, Brown said that he doubted that these funding levels can adequately support both a balanced NASA program and the space station. His continued support for the space station depends on how other NASA programs fare next year. …

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