The House Appropriations Committee pulls funding for several key NASA and National Science Foundation programs
The Federal Cyber Services program and air traffic control research and
development were among the NASA and National Science Foundation programs
left out of a fiscal 2001 funding bill approved by the House Appropriations
Committee on Wednesday.
The bill increased funding for NASA and the National Science Foundation
by $112 million and $167 million, respectively, but those numbers are well
below the Clinton administration's request.
Almost all of NASA's current science and technology programs received
funding equal to or greater than requested amounts. New programs were among
* $260 million to continue the Space Launch Initiative, a program to
develop reusable launch vehicles.
* $20 million for the "Living with a Star" initiative to study the impact
of the sun on the Earth's environment.
* $59.2 million for the Aviation System Capacity program for research
and development to improve air traffic control and reduce congestion.
* $9 million for a project with the Federal Aviation Administration
to develop a Small Aircraft Transportation System.
Similarly, all of NSF's new technology programs were cut, including
$45 million for a second Terascale Computing System, which the agency still
expects to award this summer.
The committee also declined to provide about $11 million for the Federal
Cyber Services, a program developed by NSF with the administration to provide
scholarships to information security students in return for federal service.
"This bill represents a missed opportunity," said ranking committee
member David Obey (D-Wis.). "If you don't feed that basic science, sooner
or later you run out of energy, you run out of synergy."
The full committee narrowly rejected an amendment by Rep. Alan Mollahan
(D-W.Va.), ranking member of the Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development
and Independent Agencies Subcommittee, to restore almost all of the NASA
funding. An amendment by Obey to restore all funding to NSF also failed.
The close votes — the Mollahan amendment failed by one vote and the
Obey amendment by four — came despite acknowledgment from Republicans that
science and technology research and development is needed.
"There is no question we get a great return on our investment in science.
We just don't have the money to invest at this time," said Rep. James Walsh
(R-N.Y.), chairman of the VA-HUD subcommittee.
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