(Adopted by Council on April 19, 1997)
As the federal government develops its spending plans for Fiscal Year 1998, we call upon the President and Members of Congress to renew the nation's historical commitment to scientific research and education by providing the requisite funding for the federal agencies charged with these responsibilities. Our call is based upon two fundamental principles that are well accepted by policy makers in both political parties.
- The federal investment in scientific research is vital to four national goals: our economic competitiveness, our medical health, our national security and our quality of life.
- Scientific disciplines are interdependent; therefore, a comprehensive approach to science funding provides the greatest opportunity for reaching these goals.
We strongly believe that for our nation to meet the challenges of the next century, agencies charged with carrying out scientific research and education require increases in their respective research budgets in the range of 7 percent for Fiscal Year 1998. These agencies include, among others, the NSF, NIH, DOE, DOD, and NASA. The increases we call for strike a balance between the current fiscal pressures and the need to invest in activities that enable long-term economic growth and productivity. Such increases would only partially restore the inflationary losses that most of these agencies suffered during the last few years.
Prudent planning argues for strengthening the respective activities of major research agencies, as already recognized in pending legislation. To constrain still further federal spending on their scientific programs would jeopardize the future well-being of our nation.