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
LEW ON R&D: "We have put forward proposals that have not been well-funded so far in the appropriations process," OMB director Jack Lew said at the National Press Club, in a talk that encompassed balance, priorities, and earmarking in the federal R&D budget.
ATP FUNDING HISTORY: The House would zero out NIST's Advanced Technology Program (ATP), repeating language used unsuccessfully last year to kill the program. The ATP has survived numerous budget cuts and termination attempts over the years.
NASA NEWS: A House committee looked at how NASA can avoid mishaps such as its recent Mars failures;Vice President Gore and Science Committee Chair James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) commented on the successful Russian launch of the third space station module.
GORDON ON NNSA: As he prepared to head the National Nuclear Security Agency, General John Gordon described his plans to the House Armed Services Committee, and warned, "there are changes afoot."
DOUBLING OF NSF BUDGET URGED: Influential senators Christopher Bond (R-MO) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) plan to send a letter to Senate leaders calling for a doubling of the NSF budget over five years. They received support from former NIH director Harold Varmus and Institute of Medicine president Kenneth Shine. In related news, Sen. James Jeffords (R-VT) plans to develop a bipartisan reauthoriz ation bill for NSF over the next month.
LOW NUMBERS FOR DOE SCIENCE: Senate Energy and Water Development appropriators would provide less than FY 2000 funding for High Energy and Nuclear Physics, and Fusion, and less than the request for the Spallation Neutron Source.
EDUCATION, DIVERSITY ISSUES IN SCIENCE: A House press conference, a Senate roundtable, a House luncheon briefing, and several hearings addressed issues of diversity in the science workplace, private industry contributions to science education, recruitment and retention of math and science teachers, and related issues.
HEARING, BILL ON GLOBAL WARMING: Senator John McCain (R-AZ) reviewed "the serious business" of global warming in a Commerce Committee hearing; the White House has threatened to veto the Agriculture appropriations bill over language preventing implementation of Kyoto Protocol provisions.
NMD TESTING AMENDMENT: The Senate voted against an amendment to the defense authorization bill that would require "operationally- realistic testing against countermeasures for national missile defense [NMD]." Senate Armed Services chairman John Warner (R-VA) argued that the issue was already being addressed.
FINAL FY 2001 DOD BILL: The House and Senate agreed on a final FY 2001 DOD funding bill; total basic and applied research and technology development will increase over current levels for all the services and defense-wide programs.