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FYI THIS MONTH: MARCH 2001

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

FY 2002 BUDGET BLUEPRINT RELEASED: The general outline of President Bush's FY 2002 budget request shows a 1.4% increase for general science, space, and technology. DOE funding would be cut, NSF and NASA would receive below-inflation increases, and Education Department funding would increase by 11.5%. Bush proposes limiting overall discretionary spending growth to the level of inflation over the next five years. He plans to keep NIH on a path to doubling over five years, and will determine final DOD funding levels after a review of the nation's defense strategy. More specifics on the request will be released on April 9.

REACTIONS TO FY02 S&T REQUEST: Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-MI) expressed concerns with the funding levels for NSF, NASA, and DOE programs. Members of Congress in both chambers are calling for a doubling of the NSF budget by FY 2005, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich criticized the FY02 basic science request as insufficient "for the long-term security of this country." The House Science Committee in its "Views and Estimates" raised concerns about the "miniscule increase in the NSF budget" and "the future of [DOE's] Office of Science."

OMB OFFICIALS ON S&T PORTFOLIO: At their January confirmation hearing, OMB officials noted that Bush's emphasis in his FY02 budget will be on funding for NIH, and commented that they "believe that the current portfolio is balanced."

BUSH ON CARBON DIOXIDE REGULATION: In a March 13 letter, Bush wrote that "I do not believe that the government should impose on power plants mandatory emissions reductions to carbon dioxide." House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) called such opposition to controls on carbon dioxide "misguided and unjustified," while Ranking Member Ralph Hall (D-TX) praised the President's position.

ESEA REAUTHORIZATION: Both the Senate and House have started to take up reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). A Senate committee has marked up a version that would consolidate funding for science teacher professional development into a broader program, but authorize new partnerships to improve science and math education.

BINGAMAN ON S&T IN THE STATE DEPARTMENT: "It is time to recognize the significant ways that [S&T] issues are now part of our national security concerns, and should be an essential component of our foreign policy priorities," stated Sen. Jeff Bingaman at a March 14 State Department forum.

BUSH NOMINATES PCAST CO-CHAIR: On March 28, Bush named Floyd Kvamme as co-chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.