Cyber Services, new tech suffer

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

the exceptions:

* $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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