October 6, 2000
The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
Dear Mr. Speaker:
The undersigned industry, academic, and professional organizations urge you to support passage this year of a cross-agency, multiyear authorizing bill for civilian R&D. On September 21, the Senate passed such legislation together with the widely supported Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act (passed by the House as H.R. 2086) and a bill on internet research. This legislative package (S. 2046) currently awaits House action.
R&D has made an undeniable contribution to our growing economy and federal budget surplus. The comprehensive authorizing measure passed by the Senate sets out a long-term goal for federal civilian research to reach 10% of discretionary spending by 2011. Equally important are the cross-agency policy guidelines for civilian research, which are largely consistent with the landmark Unlocking our Future science policy study approved by the House. Both documents call for federal research priorities, a balanced R&D portfolio, rigorous peer- and merit-review, and ensuring pre-competitive research. Adopting these goals in a bipartisan and bicameral manner would set a valuable guidepost for the next administration and Congress and would highlight the role of federal research in the national debate on the pool of technically trained workers.
It has been suggested that this bill could hamper passage of specific agency authorizations. However, the legislation states clearly that it only establishes a framework within which authorizing committees will work. Indeed, we believe that overall budget and policy goals for civilian science would serve as a springboard for critical agency-specific work.
Mr. Speaker, this effort has the support of major universities, high-tech industry, and over two million scientists and engineers. We believe that both Houses should make every effort to compromise and enact legislation this year to help secure the nations research and innovation enterprise. Thank you for considering our views on this important matter.
American Association of Engineering Societies
Last Update: 9 Oct. 2000
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Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.