White House defends fiscal 2000 R& D request

A Clinton administration technology adviser today urged senators to support the president's fiscal 2000 budget for research and development, which for the first time recommends more money for civilian R& D than Defense.

In his budget request released in February, Clinton requested a total of $78.2 billion for R& D, including $39.8 billion—or 51 percent—for civilian research, said Neal Lane, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Lane testified before the Senate's Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee.

Although Clinton's request for civilian research is 3 percent higher than last year's request, the $78.2 billion request is about 1 percent lower than the $79.2 billion spent in the fiscal 1999 budget.

The president's proposal would provide $18.2 billion—a 4.2 percent increase over fiscal 1999—to fund basic research, which is the type of R& D that historically has been funded by the federal government because it typically does not have immediate commercial application.

Clinton also has asked for an increase in his Initiative on Information Technology for the 21st Century, which is based on recommendations from the President's Information Technology Advisory Council.

Clinton wants $366 million—a 28 percent increase—in those funds, which would build on research in ongoing programs, including the Next Generation Internet and the Energy Department's Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative.

Lane said he was concerned about funding for science and technology because it "takes a hit" in the House and Senate Republican budget resolutions. Specifically, major scientific agencies, including the National Science Foundation and NASA, would receive $18 billion under the House and Senate proposals, while the president has requested $19.2 billion for those agencies.

"The implications are not good" for R& D under the Republican budget, Lane said after testifying.

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