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GOP Task Force Drafts Budget Bill; Proposes Department Eliminations: AIP FYI No. 64, May 5, 1995

Keith L. Cowing kcowing at aibs.org
Fri May 5 21:03:55 EST 1995


>From the American Institute of Physics.  The AIP FYI archive can be
accessed at gopher://pinet.aip.org:70/11/fyi.archive

From: fyi at aip.org (AIP listserver)
Date: Fri, 5 May 95 15:32:17 EDT
To: fyi-mailing at aip.org
Subject: FYI #64 - GOP Task Force Proposes Budget Bill


GOP Task Force Drafts Budget Bill; Proposes Department Eliminations

FYI No. 64, May 5, 1995

During the last session of Congress, a group of House Republicans
joined together to develop their own plan to reduce the federal
deficit.  This ad hoc group, the GOP Balanced Budget Task Force,
now boasts over 60 GOP representatives.  Working independently of
the House Budget Committee, the Task Force, chaired by Rep. Gerald
Solomon (R-NY), has just come out with draft legislation to balance
the budget in five years.  "Restructuring Government Through
Balancing the Budget," released on May 4, proclaims that it is "a
preliminary draft of one way Congress could get from where we are
to where the taxpayers want us to be."  

The bill proposes to amass a total of $815.0 billion in savings
>From projected spending over the next five years.  The savings are
achieved by various means, from eliminating, cutting, or
restructuring some programs, to freezing or slowing the growth of
others.  

The Task Force would attain its largest savings, $105.41 billion,
by reforming Medicare.  The second largest source of savings,
$97.42 billion, would be in Health programs, including freezing NIH
funding for three years and cutting $0.9 billion from
federally-sponsored health-related university research.

Savings from the "Science, Space and Technology" budget function
would total $12.46 billion over the five years, obtained by:

  -  Freezing the federal account for General Science and Research 
     activities, for a savings of $0.32 billion;
  -  Limiting the growth rate of the National Science Foundation, 
     for $0.32 billion;
  -  Imposing an unspecified NSF Grant Application Fee, for $0.02 
     billion;
  -  Canceling the Space Station, for $10.4 billion;
  -  Canceling the National Aerospace Plane, for $0.2 billion; and
  -  Reducing funding for High Performance Computing and          
     Communications, for $1.2 billion.

Within the Department of Energy, the Atomic Vapor Isotope
Separation (AVLIS) program would be terminated to save $0.5
billion, with additional cuts, elimination, or privatization of
such programs as power administrations, petroleum reserves, and
energy conservation.  

Under the Department of Commerce, NIST's Advanced Technology
Program (ATP) is targeted for abolishment, for a savings of $0.8
billion.  

Environmental programs slated for termination include the U.S.
Geological Survey, for a savings of $3.3 billion, and the National
Biological Survey, saving $0.14 billion.

Within the Department of Education, proposals include reducing
"Untargeted Funding for Math and Science programs," to save $1.2
billion.

The bill makes cuts to almost everything the federal government
does, including: National Defense; International Affairs; Science,
Space and Technology; Energy; Environment; Agriculture; Commerce
and Housing; Transportation; Commercial Development; Education;
Health; Medicare; Income Security; Veterans' Benefits;
Administration of Justice; and general government.  Coupled with
Welfare Reform, the proposal estimates that it would achieve a
savings over five years of $815.0 billion to bring the federal
budget into balance.  

In addition, there is more yet to come.  Next week, the Task Force
plans to complete additional legislation, including possible
proposals to abolish the Energy, Education, Commerce, and HUD
departments.  How this will affect science and technology programs
within those departments is not yet known.

On the premise that the best defense is a good offense, Energy
Secretary Hazel O'Leary is taking actions of her own to try to
avoid elimination of her Department.  She announced on May 3 that
DOE would achieve a savings of $1.7 billion by cutting its
workforce by 27 percent over five years.  In addition, O'Leary
hopes to save several billion dollars more through additional
actions, such as selling several electric power agencies and the
National Petroleum Reserves.  According to press reports, O'Leary
announced she was "cutting the crap" to save the science,
technology, national security, and environmental clean-up programs. 
Rep. George Brown (D-CA), ranking Democratic member of the House
Science Committee, called her proposals "a perfect example of how
we can move to make responsible cuts without sacrificing more of
our diminishing national science and technology capability."  But
Science Committee chairman Robert Walker (R-PA), while commending
O'Leary, added that "a reevaluation of DOE programs, and perhaps
even the existence of the department itself, will have to be a part
of a balanced budget effort.  The Department of Energy has provided
a useful first step, but reorganization is not the end of the
walk."


###############
Public Information Division
American Institute of Physics
Contact:  Audrey T. Leath
fyi at aip.org
(301) 209-3094
##END##########

-- 
Keith L. Cowing
Manager of Planning and Operations
American Institute of Biological Sciences
10700 Parkridge Blvd, Suite 380 - Reston, VA, USA, 22091
703.758.1212 voice - 703.758.1222 Fax
kcowing at aibs.org - gopher://aibs.org



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