Gramm Bill Would Double Federal Research Dollars by 2007
As reported in FYI#11, Senator Phil Gramm (R-Texas) has introduced a bill, S. 124, to double funding for most non-defense federal R&D over the next ten years. The bill specifies the total R&D funding for each year, and the amount to go to the National Institutes of Health. For the rest of the eleven programs covered by the bill, including NSF, NASA, NIST, and non-defense R&D within the Department of Energy, no specifics are given as to how the annual increases shall be divvied up.
The Gramm bill would authorize the following amounts over ten years. (Authorization bills can permit, but not provide, federal funding.) NIH funding would rise by increments of $1.275 billion/year, or 10 percent of its current FY 1997 appropriation of $12.75 billion. Funding for the remaining programs, now totaling $19.75 billion, would increase by $1.975 billion/year (also 10 percent of current funding), and the combined total, currently $32.5 billion, would grow by annual increments of $3.25 billion.
Fiscal Total NIH Remaining % Incr. Year Authoriz. Authoriz. R&D Programs from Prev.Yr. (in billions) 1998 $35.75 $14.025 $21.725 10.00% 1999 39.00 15.300 23.700 9.09 2000 42.25 16.575 25.675 8.33 2001 45.50 17.850 27.650 7.69 2002 48.75 19.125 29.625 7.14 2003 52.00 20.400 31.600 6.67 2004 55.25 21.675 33.575 6.25 2005 58.50 22.950 35.550 5.88 2006 61.75 24.225 37.525 5.56 2007 65.00 25.500 39.500 5.26
In introducing his bill, Gramm noted that federal R&D funding for non-defense programs has fallen in recent years: "in 1965, 5.7 percent of the federal budget was spent on non-defense research and development. Thirty-two years later, that figure has dropped by two-thirds to 1.9 percent. In no year since 1970 has the United States spent as large a percentage of its GDP on non-defense research and development as Japan or Germany.... From 1992 through 1995, for the first time in 25 years, real federal spending on research declined for four straight years. If we don't restore the high priority once afforded science and technology in the federal budget and increase federal investment in research, it will be impossible to maintain the United States' position as the technological leader of the world."
"As a nation," Gramm continued, "we have an interest in the research funding decisions of the private sector. Investing in basic science and medical research can provide much needed help to all our technology companies without giving any single company a special advantage over its competitors. Our goal should be to raise all the boats in the harbor, not just the ones belonging to the politically well-connected."