Senate Subcommittee Completes Work on FY 2001 DOE Funding Bill The draft report language by the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee delivers the bad news early under the section entitled Science: "Severely constrained spending limits for fiscal year 2001 have forced the Committee into very difficult decisions regarding many otherwise outstanding programs and initiatives under the Office of Science. In order to adhere to the subcommittee's allocation, address critical ongoing research and development efforts, and balance congressional priorities with those of the administration, the Committee regrets that it has not been able to recommend many of the substantial increases requested for programs, and in some cases, had to cut programs below current year levels. Furthermore, the Committee regrets that it cannot recommend funding for many worthwhile initiatives."
Fortunately, the subcommittee's figures are not the final numbers for next year. In no instance did the Senate bill provide the administration's request; in three instances, recommended levels were less than the current year. The numbers follow, with selected draft subcommittee report language. The full Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to act on this bill tomorrow, after which it will go to the Senate floor for action. Following that, the bill will go to a House-Senate conference committee. Finally, a note about the below numbers: it is not uncommon for budget numbers to vary from source to source, due to different accounting methods, etc.
HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS:
Current year funding is $707.9 million.
For High Energy Physics Research and Technology, the Senate bill would provide $218.0 million, compared to the House's figure of $224.8 million, and the Administration's request of $237.7 million. While the House bill reduces total combined funding for the Next Linear Collider and the Muon-Muon Collider, the Senate subcommittee bill would provide no R&D money for the Next Linear Collider. The draft Senate report language states: "...the Committee urges the Department to develop consensus within the high energy physics community and finalize the development of a long term future plan before continuing investments in this next generation facility." Without explicitly identifying the Muon-Muon Collider by name, the Senate recommendation is to reduce the $8.7 million request by $2.5 million.
For High Energy Physics Facility Operations, the Senate subcommittee recommends a cut of $16.0 million from the original request. The Senate recommendation "does not support the $5.0 million increase in the program to enhance the capability of large scale computational modeling and simulation; or the $5.5 million increase in capital equipment funding for the university based physics research program."
The draft language states: "The Committee strongly supports the goals of the high energy physics program and reductions to the accounts are made without recourse and as a result of the severe budget constraints within which it must provide funding. As such, the Committee directs the Department to allocate the resources provided in full consultation with the field and without prejudice to any site."
Current year funding is $352.0 million.
Again, "severe budget restraints" are the causes of the reduction. The subcommittee bill would not provide money for the waste treatment program. In addition, the Senate would reduce funding for new research initiatives, and cut funding for increased facility operations by $8.0 million.
BASIC ENERGY SCIENCES:
Current year funding is $779.0 million.
The budget for facility operations would remain flat in the Senate bill, a cut of $23.7 million from the request. The Senate would not include the requested $8.0 million for the SPEAR 8 upgrade at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory.
The Senate would provide $241.0 million for the Spallation Neutron Source, of which $221.9 million would be construction and $19.1 million for "other activities related to the project." The House-passed bill provided $100.0 million of the $261.9 million requested by the Administration. The draft report language states: 'The Committee recognizes the importance the SNS offers in advancing the frontiers of science and technology and the opportunities it will provide for future scientific and industrial research and development for the United States." And later, "Due to the allocated budget constraints, the Committee is unable to provide the full budget request. The Committee endorses and supports the SNS as it enters the construction phase and hopes additional resources can be made available so as to limit any impact on the project's schedule and cost." Note that the House report language on the SNS stated, "The funding reduction does not reflect concern with the current status of the project, but rather the severe funding constraints under which the [House Appropriations] Committee is operating in fiscal year 2001."
The Senate draft report also states that "The Committee strongly supports the Department's role in the government-wide investment in nanotechnology . . . " However, "due to severe budget constraints," the committee would provide only $20.1 million of the $36.1 million requested increase.
FUSION ENERGY SCIENCES:
Current year funding is $250.0 million.
The draft Senate report language states, "While, in the past, the Committee has supported increases above the level of the request for this program, severe budget constraints and shortfalls elsewhere in the Department's request, necessitate the reduction at this time." TFTR decontamination funding would remain flat, a substantial decrease from the request. In his opening remarks at the Senate Energy and Water Development mark up last week, subcommittee chairman Pet Domenici (R-New Mexico) stated that his allocation for non- defense programs in the bill was $603 million less than the President's request, and $73 million below the current year. He later added, "The allocation forced the Committee into some very difficult decisions regarding many otherwise outstanding programs and initiatives under the Office of Science."
Richard M. Jones