A Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request for Science Agencies

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 26 Mar 2014 14:00:00 GMT

On Wednesday, March 26, 2014, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology will hold a hearing to review President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2015 (FY15) budget request for programs and science agencies under the Committee’s jurisdiction.

Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), will review the proposed budget in the context of the President’s overall priorities in science, space, and technology and will describe how the Administration determined priorities for funding across scientific disciplines and agencies.

Witness

  • John Holdren, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President

The following web links are highlights of the President’s FY 2015 budget request:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/Fy%202015%20R&D.pdf

The following web links provides highlights U.S. Global Change Research Program, clean energy programs, and climate change initiatives in the President’s FY 2015 budget request:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/FY%202015%20Climate.pdf

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2015/assets/fact_sheets/building-a-clean-energy-economy-improving-energy-security-and-taking-action-on-climate-change.pdf

The following web link provides highlights of the Administration’s STEM education programs in the President’s FY 2015 budget request:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/fy_2015_stem_ed.pdf

The following web link provides highlights of the Administration’s proposals for investing in American Innovation in the President’s FY 2015 budget request:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2015/assets/fact_sheets/investing-in-american-innovation.pdf

Smith asks Holdren about NSF’s “stress in Bolivia” grant.

Holdren: I’m not sure any of us in this room are in a better position to judge these grants than the NSF.

Smith: Don’t you feel that NSF should justify these grants to the American taxpayer?

Holdren: I believe they do. The organic act says the NSF’s job is to promote the progress of science. Funding basic research is in the NSF’s mission, we should let it continue.

Smith: I don’t think they’ve justified these grants.

Rohrabacher challenges Holdren on “bogus figure” of 97% climate scientists, Holdren questions its accuracy but says the study was peer-reviewed. Rohrabacher asks about tornadoes and hurricanes getting more “ferocious.” Holdren says that there is no evidence, none, of changes in tornadoes, but that there is evidence supporting changes in hurricanes, droughts, and floods. Rohrabacher calls Holdren out for “weasel words.”

Neugebauer challenges Holdren on fracking study. “There was not a lot of evidence to justify going down this road. It appears this administration is on a witch hunt. The administration continues to take a negative, slanted view towards the technology.”

Holdren: “This is not a witch hunt. I don’t want and the president doesn’t want to lose access to this natural gas and oil, this very important set of resources because we don’t do this right.”

Statement of Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas)

Hearing on The President’s FY2014 Budget Request for Science Agencies

Chairman Smith: The topic of today’s hearing is the President’s budget request for the coming year. This is the first of several hearings to examine over $40 billion in annual federal research and development (R&D) spending within the Science Committee’s jurisdiction.

Unfortunately, this Administration’s science budget focuses, in my view, far too much money, time, and effort on alarmist predictions of climate change. For example, the Administration tried to link hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts to climate change. Yet even the Administration’s own scientists contradicted the president.

The Administration also has not been as open and honest with the American people as it should. When the Committee asked the EPA for the scientific data being used to justify some of the costliest regulations in history, their response was that they didn’t have it even though they were using it.

When we asked the National Science Foundation (NSF) last year for their justification in funding numerous research grants, the NSF refused to provide a response.

All government employees and their agency heads need to remember they are accountable to the American taxpayer who pays their salary and funds their projects. It is not the government’s money; it’s the people’s money.

Further, an estimated $300 million was spent in building the website Healthcare.gov prior to its public rollout last October. Secretary Sebelius rightly called this “a debacle.” In its haste to launch the Healthcare.gov website, it appears the Obama Administration cut corners that left the site open to hackers and other online criminals. According to experts who testified before the Science Committee, millions of Americans are vulnerable to identity theft from this website.

For this reason, the Science Committee has twice asked the White House’s Chief Technology Officer, Todd Park, to testify about his role in the development of the Healthcare.gov website. Rather than allow him to testify before Congress, the White House instead chose to make Mr. Park available for interviews with Time magazine. So much for accountability and transparency.

The Administration’s willful disregard for public accountability distracts from the important issues of how America can stay ahead of China, Russia, and other countries in the highly-competitive race for technological leadership.

Perhaps the greatest example of the White House’s lack of leadership is with America’s space program. The White House’s approach has been to raid NASA’s budget to fund the Administration’s environmental agenda. In the last seven years, NASA’s Earth Science Division has grown by over 63 percent. Meanwhile, the White House’s budget proposal would cut NASA by almost $200 million in Fiscal Year 2015 compared to what Congress provided the agency this year.

And The White House’s proposed asteroid retrieval mission is a mission without a budget, without a destination, and without a launch date. Rather than diminish NASA’s space exploration mission, President Obama should set forth a certain, near-term, realizable goal for NASA’s space exploration.

Many experts believe that a Mars Flyby mission launched in 2021 is a potentially worthy near-term goal. A human Mars mission would electrify the American public, excite American scientists, and inspire American students.

Our leadership has slipped in areas such as: space exploration where we currently rely on Russia to launch our astronauts into space; supercomputing where China currently has the lead; and even severe weather forecasting where European weather models routinely predict America’s weather better than we can. We need to make up for lost ground.

These budget hearings are about something far more important than simply numbers on a ledger. They’re about priorities. And the Administration should reevaluate its priorities if we want to continue to be a world leader in science, space, and technology.

FY 2009 Basic Research Budget

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 11 Mar 2008 17:15:00 GMT

The Committee will explore the importance of basic research to U.S. competitiveness. The hearing will examine research and development budgets at agencies in the Committee’s jurisdiction, particularly the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), as well as interagency science programs addressing climate change, nanotechnology, and information technology.