Subcommittee on Research and Science Education Hearing - Oversight of the National Science Foundation
Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr., Director of the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Steven C. Beering, Chairman of the National Science Board.
DR. EHLERS: NSF FY09 BUDGET REQUEST PUTS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY R&D FUNDING BACK ON TRACK
Washington, D.C. - February 26, 2008 – Today in a hearing of the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education evaluating the fiscal year 2009 (FY09) National Science Foundation (NSF) budget request, Subcommittee Ranking Member Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) expressed his concern that lack of funding from the FY08 appropriations bill will negatively impact the nation’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs, along with future U.S. international competitiveness.
The FY08 omnibus appropriations bill failed to fund NSF at either levels authorized by the America COMPETES Act (a seven year doubling path) or the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) (a ten year doubling path), providing only a 2.5 percent increase over the FY07 level. The FY09 request puts NSF back on the doubling path, but still not at the levels authorized under America COMPETES.
“It is unconscionable to me that a small group of individuals succeeded in destroying such an excellent organization, such as the National Science Foundation, by arbitrarily cutting funding without considering all the factors that go into the operations of the organization,” Ehlers said. “I am pleased to see that the Administration has requested increases for both the research and educational missions of the National Science Foundation. However, the proposed increases fall short of the authorizations provided in the COMPETES Act.”
Dr. Steven Beering, Chairman of the National Science Board, echoed Dr. Ehlers’ disappointment in real funding for NSF, saying, “The National Science Board and the broader science and engineering community were surprised and disappointed by the actual appropriations in the fiscal year 2008 omnibus bill, which erased most of the anticipated increases in support for research.
“NSF-funded research and education provides the foundation for American scientific and technological greatness,” Beering continued. “The FY09 budget for NSF can begin to make up for the opportunities that we will miss this year under the FY08 omnibus appropriations bill.”
Dr. Arden Bement, Director of NSF, highlighted the FY09 budget request. “Our budget request includes an increase of $789 million – or 13 percent – over the current fiscal year 2008 amount,” Bement said. “An investment in the National Science Foundation is a direct investment in America’s economic security…Basic research underpins all of the technology that constitutes the lifeblood of today’s global market.”