Schiff Amendments Would Boost Funding for Critical Science, Space & Technology Initiatives

Washington, DC– Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) offered two amendments to the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill for FY2012 to restore vital funding for science and technology, which were disproportionately affected by the cuts proposed in the underlying bill. Unfortunately, both amendments failed in committee.

“It is important that we make a strong investment in science and technology if we want our nation to have a prosperous future,” Rep. Schiff said. “The cuts included in this bill could not be more shortsighted – science and technology funding is vital to ensuring that America continues to be at the forefront of space exploration.”

Specifically, the bill cancels the James Webb Space Telescope, after billions has already been invested in it. Rep. Schiff believes this successor to the Hubble Space Telescope will be just as revolutionary, and it will be the centerpiece astronomical instrument in the world for decades to come.

“The James Webb Space Telescope has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of our place in the universe,” Rep. Schiff said. “It will be a hundred times more sensitive than current observatories and accessible to thousands of scientists at universities all across the country, while providing images even more impressive than the Hubble images that have staggered our imagination. I am deeply disappointed to see that this was not made a priority by the committee.”

The bill also makes significant cuts to Earth Science, which contains projects to help us understand earthquakes in California, long-term weather patterns that affect rainfall across the country, and many other important issues. Additionally, the bill cuts technology funding by more than 60 percent from the President’s request.

“Technology research at NASA has been decimated over the last decade,” Rep. Schiff said. “If we are worried about America’s place in the world and the emergence of global players like China in space and high-tech fields, this is the place to start. America is not the leader in space because we build bigger rockets than everyone else – we don’t – but because we build better rockets than everyone else. I hope the full House will make these initiatives a priority and restore funding for these important programs.”

One of Rep. Schiff’s amendments would restore a portion of the cut to science, providing an additional $200 million, or an increase of about 4 percent. The second amendment offered by Rep. Schiff would add $125 million to the space technology account, increasing the account to $500 million. Rep. Schiff believes this is the minimum amount that would allow real technology development at NASA. He will continue fighting to restore funding for these initiatives when the bill comes to the floor for a vote on the full House.