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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release October 11, 1995
                            On H.R. 2405
       The Omnibus Civilian Science Authorization Act of 1995

Pending Congressional legislation that seeks to eliminate critical investments in civilian technology is unwarranted, unwise, and unnecessary. If passed, the Omnibus Civilian Science Authorization Act of 1995 would hurt American workers, jobs, and living standards now and well into the future.

For more than 200 years, Americans have maintained an unwavering, bipartisan commitment to technological leadership. It is investments -- public and private -- in science and technology that have driven economic growth and opportunity for the American people. From basic research to product development, public and private investments -- in agriculture, aeronautics, computers, biotechnology and medical devices, to name a few -- have generated new knowledge, spawned new industries, created new jobs, sustained economic and national security, and increased our living standards. Indeed, since World War II, innovation has been responsible for at least a quarter -- and possibly as much as half -- of the nation's economic growth.

Now, in the name of rigid ideology that ignores the realities of the marketplace, Congress, through this bill, is taking direct aim at federal investments in high-risk, long-term research and development. In particular, this bill effectively eliminates those merit-based, cost-shared efforts such as the Commerce Department's Advanced Technology Program and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership that bridge the gap between basic research and commercial development of products. The bill also seeks to eliminate or severely restrict the Energy Department's Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, and the Environment al Protection Agency's successful Environmental Technologies Initiative.

This could not come at a worse time. Public and private sector investment in R&D in the United States has been anemic for more than a decade, while Japan already invests 35 percent more in civilian technology than the United States on a per capita basis; Germany invests 30 percent more. Emerging economic powers -- China, India, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, also are aggressively promoting investment in R&D and deployment of technology.

This is a foolish choice that, as the President's balanced budget demonstrates, does not have to be made for any budgetary reason.

In the global economy, innovation means jobs, economic growth, and increased living standards for the American people. It means opportunity -- and the opportunity for families to prosper. That is why the Administration will fight to promote innovation and why President Clinton's plan both balances the budget and secures our future. This is the common ground on which American economic progress and quality of life depend.