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
NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD SYMPOSIUM: During a two-day symposium, a draft report, "The Scientific Allocation of Scientific Resources" (http://nsf.gov/nsb/) was discussed, a finding of which was "Critics and supporters alike note the need for a clearly articulated and compelling rationale for Federal investments in science and technology equivalent in persuasive powers to the rationale of the Cold War."
NSF APPROPRIATIONS HEARING: When NSF Director Rita Colwell was pressed about the budget, she declared, "doubling remains important to us." Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ranking Member Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO) want to double the NSF budget over five years, although Mikulski admitted it would be "very hard" to provide the 15% increase needed to do so in FY 2002.
DEFENSE S&T FUNDING: Edward Aldridge, new Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics told a Senate subcommittee that between 2 « and 3% of the defense budget should be allocated for defense S&T. Current funding is too low, he said.
OFFICE OF TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT: Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) introduced H.R. 2148 to reestablish OTA. The bill has 32 cosponsors, including House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R- NY).
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE: President Bush called for "an effective and science-based response to the issue of global warming," although many European officials called the U.S. policy "short on action." A Cabinet-level working group reported on the U.S. effort and will develop policy options. The National Academy of Sciences released a report.
DOE AND USGS FY 2002 APPROPRIATIONS: A House bill would largely maintain current funding for the USGS. Another House bill would also keep funding at current levels for most physics-related DOE programs in FY 2002.
EDUCATION BILL: The Senate passed a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which like its previously-passed House counterpart, makes significant changes in the federal support of math and science education programs. The Senate bill contains language on the teaching of biological evolution.
JOHN MARBURGER TO BE NOMINATED AS OSTP DIRECTOR: Marburger is Director of the Brookhaven National Laboratory. He came to Brookhaven after the disclosure of a tritium leak at the laboratory's High Flux Beam Reactor, and has received considerable praise for his efforts to resolve the situation. The nomination hearing is scheduled for September.