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NSF & Congress

Hearing Summary - NSF Acting Director Arden Bement Testifies Before House

April 1, 2004

On April 1, Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr., Acting Director of NSF, testified before the House VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee on the NSF budget request for FY 2005. Testifying before the panel with Dr. Bement was Dr. Warren Washington, Chairman of the National Science Board.

In their opening comments, both Chairman Walsh (R-NY) and Ranking Member Mollohan (D-WV) discussed the Subcommittee's long-standing support for NSF, but highlighted the difficult budget situation facing the Subcommittee this year. The Chairman and Ranking Member also expressed deep disappointment in the decline in funding for programs in the Education and Human Resources account, and in particular the proposed consolidation of the Mathematics and Science Partnerships within the Department of Education.

The Chair and Ranking Member were joined by Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Rep. David Price (D-NC), Rep. Bud Cramer, Jr. (D-AL), and Rep. Sanford Bishop, Jr. (D-GA).

Among the concerns raised by the subcommittee were cuts to the Advanced Technology Education (ATE) program. Members expressed strong support for the ATE program's unique role at strengthening two-year colleges. Concerns were also expressed about the proposed NASA "Moon/Mars" program and its potential impact on NSF's funding profile; the balance between funding for the core disciplines versus funding for centers; and the need to ensure robust investments in manufacturing research. Additionally, the subcommittee pointed out that the National Science Board report "Fulfilling the Promise," which proposed that the NSF budget should rise to $19 billion dollars, was unrealistic, given the existing budget environment.

The hearing opened with a statement from Chairman Walsh noting that investments in NSF over the past twenty years have directly lead to U.S. prosperity and economic vitality. The Chairman went on to say that funding issues for the Subcommittee are a difficult challenge for them this year, with Ranking Member Mollohan adding that the House Budget Resolution shows a cut in the Budget Function (Function 250) from the President's Request for FY 2005.

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