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FYI THIS MONTH: MARCH 2000

HIGHLIGHTS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN WASHINGTON IMPACTING THE PHYSICS COMMUNITY FROM FYI, THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS BULLETIN OF SCIENCE POLICY NEWS

Richard M. Jones, Audrey T. Leath
fyithismonth@aip.org

PRIORITY URGED FOR SCIENCE AND MATH EDUCATION: AIP and four of its Member Societies joined nearly 20 other professional societies in a statement calling on policymakers to support improved K-12 science, math and technology education. /fyi/2000/fyi00.029.htm Congress is already busy with education; while House committees considered the FY 2001 request for K-12 education programs, a Senate committee has passed a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. /fyi/2000/fyi00.031.htm

RICHARDSON TESTIFIES ON NNSA: One day after the March 1 establishment of the National Nuclear Security Administration within DOE, a House Armed Services Committee hearing demonstrated that friction still exists between Members of Congress and Energy Secretary Richardson over management of the semi-autonomous agency. /fyi/2000/fyi00.030.htm

REQUEST FOR DOE SCIENCE PROGRAMS CONSIDERED: The budget request for DOE's Office of Science came under review by two House panels in March. Energy and Water Development chairman Ron Packard (R- CA) cautioned that the available money would be "very close to level funding." Questions were raised regarding the status of Spallation Neutron Source construction, and the need to shut user facilities or reduce running times because of funding constraints and higher priorities. Several Members expressed concern over the requested budget for fusion. /fyi/2000/fyi00.032.htm

EFFORTS ACHIEVE $1 BILLION INCREASE FOR R&D IN BUDGET RESOLUTION: The House last week approved a plan to give general science spending a $1 billion increase in the FY 2001 budget resolution. Efforts to urge strong funding levels for science were spearheaded by several Members of Congress including physicists Vern Ehlers (R-MI) and Rush Holt (D-NJ), as well as by industry leaders. See /fyi/2000/fyi00.033.htm and /fyi/2000/fyi00.036.htm

HEARINGS REVIEW NASA BUDGET AND PERFORMANCE: Also under the congressional microscope were NASA's FY 2001 request and recent problems and mission failures. Agency head Dan Goldin testified that while his "'faster, better, cheaper' concept is absolutely okay," too much emphasis may have been placed on cutting costs. House VA/HUD appropriators offered their continued "strong support" but warned that funding may be tight again this year. /fyi/2000/fyi00.034.htm

CONGRESS LOOKS AT FY 2001 DEFENSE S&T BUDGET: Members of congressional Armed Services subcommittees expressed great concern with the level of funding for R&D in the Defense Department, but also acknowledged the funding deficiencies in other areas of the defense budget, ranging from replacing aging ships and planes to recruitment and retention needs. /fyi/2000/fyi00.035.htm