What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Reauthorization of the National Science Foundation (H.R. 1867)/Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) amendment that would require a 1 percent across-the-board cut in the funding levels authorized for the agency (2007 house Roll Call 290)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
Reauthorization of the National Science Foundation (H.R. 1867)/Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) amendment that would require a 1 percent across-the-board cut in the funding levels authorized for the agency
house Roll Call 290     May 02, 2007
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This vote was on an amendment to legislation reauthorizing the National Science Foundation (NSF), a large federal grant-making agency, at $21 billion through fiscal 2010. Proposed by Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), the amendment would require a 1 percent across-the-board cut in the funding levels authorized for the agency.

The bill to which Campbell was seeking to amend would increase spending for NSF by 9.9 percent in the first year, 7.4 percent in the second year and 7.3 percent in the third year, for an increase of over 25 percent over a 3-year period.

Campbell said those increases concerned him because of the mounting federal budget deficit. He added that no prediction indicated that the federal government was going to have a 25 percent increase in revenue over the same period.

Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) said cutting funding for research and scientific education was not the way to balance the budget and would instead lead to greater budget deficits and negatively impact national security and countless other areas. Baird listed reports by the National Academies of Science, the U.S. Commission on National Security, the Hart-Rudman commission on national security, the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, as well as a coalition of 15 industry associations that all called for similar or greater increases to the NSF budget as the legislation would authorize.

"I would also encourage you to ask your faculty administrators, ask your high technology industries, do you think this country is spending sufficient quantities on fundamental basic research and investment such as that funded by National Science Foundation? And do you think we are doing enough to keep our young people educated in science and math in ways such as supported by this legislation? I guarantee you most of them would say no," Baird continued.

Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) added that he found it ironic that Campbell was proposing to cut "the funding of the one agency that returns more on its money than any other agency does." Furthermore, he said that the National Science Foundation is "just about the lowest-cost research institution" and accounts for significantly less spending than the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health or NASA. "One of the lowest costs with the highest rate of return, I don't see any reason in the world to cut the NSF," Ehlers concluded.

Campbell's amendment was easily defeated. Only five Democrats crossed party lines to support it, while 82 Republicans voted against it. Thus, on a vote of 115 to 301, the House rejected an amendment to legislation reauthorizing the National Science Foundation that would have reduced the agency's proposed funding levels by 1 percent across-the-board, and the bill moved forward without the reduction.

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