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GLIN==> Science Spending to be Slashed

Here we go again!!  The following message is forwarded from the
National Council for Science and the Environment.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Science Spending to be Slashed in first Bush Budget
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 16:45:57 -0500
From: Kevin Hutton <khutton@CNIE.ORG>
Reply-To: Kevin Hutton <khutton@CNIE.ORG>
Organization: National Council for Science and the Environment

Science Spending to be Slashed in first Bush Budget


Letters needed right away

[ HTML version is at http://www.cnie.org/updates/88.htm ]

President George W. Bush will propose that "funds for the National
Science Foundation rise just 1% in fiscal 2002," when he submits his
initial budget, according to a February 16 report in the Wall Street
Additionally, the paper reports that, "the U.S. Geological Survey,
which performs water and biological studies for federal policy makers,
is fighting to stave off a threatened 22% cut from its $885 million
appropriation for this fiscal year."
While budget numbers for other federal science programs have not been
leaked yet, it is expected that the Environmental Protection Agency,
among others, will face cuts.  

President Bush will present his budget priorities to a joint session
of Congress on Feburary 27 and on February 28, release a "blueprint"
document laying out his budgetary themes and proposed spending levels
for federal agencies and departments. Plans are to release the final,
detailed proposed Federal budget on April 3, an analyst from the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reported to NCSE. 

These budget numbers will change ONLY if there is a strong and
sustained response from the scientific community and members of the

We urge you and your colleagues to write to:

*** Mitch Daniels, Director, Office of Management and Budget , New
Executive Office Building, 725 17th St. NW, Washington, DC 20500

*** President George W. Bush, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave,
Washington, DC 20503

*** Your Senators. U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510

*** Your Congressional Representative, U.S. House of Representatives,
Washington, DC 20515 (ask that they send letters to OMB in support of
science funding) http://congress.nw.dc.us/rollcall/

*** Your local newspaper (see attached editorial by David Warsh of the
Boston Globe)

Please send a copy of your letter to NCSE at cnie@cnie.orgŁ or fax

A sample letter can be found at 

Heads of institutions are asked to sign a group letter that NCSE will
send to President Bush and Director Daniels. To be included in the
letter, fax your signature, name and title to NCSE at 202-628-4311 no
later than March 7.

1725 K Street, N.W. Suite 212
Washington, DC 20006-1401
202/530-5810 cnie@cnie.org
Fax 202/628-4311  www.cnie.org


The rationale underlying the Bush economic policy came into sharper
focus last week when the news surfaced that the administration was
planning to cut back sharply on the science budget in order to make
room for its tax cuts.

David Rogers reported in the Wall Street Journal Friday that under
current plans, funding for the National Science Foundation will climb
only 1 percent in the fiscal year that begins in October.

The budget of the National Institutes of Health, which sponsors most
of the nation's basic medical and biotech research, is scheduled to
continue to soar, by as much as $3.4 billion, under a prior
legislative agreement that calls for doubling its budget over five
years. But the US Geological Survey, which among its other duties
monitors water and ecological conditions, is slated for a 22 percent
cut - nearly a quarter of its $885 million budget.

The news leaked after a Wednesday meeting of White House budget
director Mitch Daniels and moderate Republican leadership of the House
of Representatives. GOP legislators were quick to make their
disapproval known. 

''Absurd,'' Representative James Walsh of New York told Rogers. Walsh
is the Appropriations Committee member who oversees the NSF budget. 
Meanwhile, the nation's universities, where most of the NSF's research
is performed, have begun to mobilize.

The Bush administration's desire to cut back sharply from the
relatively generous science funding of recent years stems from its
wish to hold budget increases to about the rate of inflation. The idea
is to tightly cap the third of the budget subject to annual
appropriations in order to facilitate big tax cuts.

Last week the president told the GOP budget-writing team he wants to
hold the appropriations portion of his budget to an increase of about
4 percent when he presents it to Congress next week in a nationally
televised address. But he also wants to increase defense
appropriations by around 10 percent, a rate of growth about which
there exists a broad bipartisan consensus.

To do that means very slow growth or outright cuts in the other half
of the discretionary budget, which includes almost everything the
government does except Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. 
Nobody wants to cut education or law enforcement or transportation
infrastructure or low-income housing or the Veterans Administration.
So sticking it to the R&D budget is one of the alternatives.

Why cap the budget so tightly? To make room for that 10-year, $1.6
trillion tax cut, of course. But what's so important about that number
that it justifies clamping down on the scientific spending that
constitutes our seed corn? The answer: Nothing at all.

The Bush tax plan has its origins in the sense that it wasn't fair to
quickly override the bipartisan tax reform act of 1986 that closed
myriad loopholes in order to establish just two brackets for the
income tax - with a top rate of 28 percent. First on the eve of the
Gulf War, George H.W. Bush agreed to raise the top rate to 31 percent,
in exchange for government spending cuts. Then in 1993, Bill Clinton
pushed the top rate to 39.6 percent, in the name of deficit reduction.

With the elimination of a $125,000 ceiling on a 2.9 percent Medicare
payroll tax, that put the top rate at 42 percent - too high for the
spirit of 1986 and the broad Reagan consensus it represented. Some
part of Bush's tax cuts are merited on grounds of fairness alone.

But surely there is no need to make these cuts all at once. The
well-to-do prospered greatly during the '90s boom. A 42 percent
marginal rate didn't seem to slow growth much at all. So why not cut
the top tax bracket to, say, 35 percent for now? And keep government
spending on science intact?

David Warsh can be reached by e-mail at warsh@globe.com. 
This story ran on page C01 of the Boston Globe on 2/20/2001.
© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.

Kevin Hutton, Webmaster
National Council for Science and the Environment
1725 K St. NW Suite 212 Washington, DC 20006

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