Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Scientists Get Squeezed by Clinton Budget Defense Research Slows Down after Cold War While Budget Caps Constrict Civilian Side

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Scientists Get Squeezed by Clinton Budget Defense Research Slows Down after Cold War While Budget Caps Constrict Civilian Side

Article excerpt

THERE are tougher times ahead for American scientists.

Presidential science advisor John Gibbons warns "there is no new money out there" for science and technology in the administration's 1995 budget request. If any programs get favored treatment, there's "extra pain elsewhere in the budget," he says.

Congressman George Brown, Jr. (D) of California - chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology - adds that this is just the "bad news." The "worse news," he says, is that "the long-term outlook for many science and R&D {research & development} budgets is very grim." He explains that "we will continue to spend less of our national income on nondefense R&D than we did from the mid-1960s through 1980."

That's the stark message that some of Washington's top science policy makers have brought to the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science here.

They stress that it is not official disenchantment with science that is putting the squeeze on research, but an overriding need to contain the general budget deficit and respect spending caps set by law.

Dr. Gibbons tried to reassure scientists meeting here that "the president feels we must sustain and support the science and technology enterprise." Yet, as Representative Brown notes, the Clinton budget plan projects a 2 percent cut in cumulative discretionary spending from 1994-98 to meet the spending caps. That, he warned, "includes a cut of 11.3 percent" for science, space, and technology generally.

President Clinton requests $71.029 billion overall for fiscal year 1995, beginning Oct. 1, for research and development, not including $2.016 billion for facilities. That's a 4 percent increase from fiscal year 1994.

With $31.5 billion for total civilian R&D and $39.528 billion for the defense share - a 47/53 split - the R&D budget is less dominated by defense than a few years ago. …

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