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
FY02 DOE APPROPRIATIONS COMPLETED: President Bush has signed the FY 2002 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. As requested, funding for High Energy Physics, Nuclear Physics and Fusion Energy Sciences will remain essentially flat. Basic Energy Sciences will grow by 1.2%, although the Administration sought more. The bill provides $10 million for a new program to address infrastructure needs at DOE science labs.
YOUNG, O'KEEFE TESTIFY ON SPACE STATION: Appearing as witnesses at a November 7 House Science Committee hearing were OMB Deputy Director Sean O'Keefe and Thomas Young. Young chaired a recent Task Force which found the space station cost estimates and program plan "not credible," and recommended significant management changes and then a reevaluation of the appropriate "end state" for the station. O'Keefe, a management and budget expert, has since been nominated as the new Administrator of NASA.
VA/HUD FUNDING BILL COMPLETED: The FY 2002 VA/HUD Appropriations bill gives NSF an increase of 8.4% over FY 2001, to $4,789.0 million, significantly more than the Administration requested. NSF's Research and Related Activities will grow by 7.4%, Education and Human Resources will grow by 11.4%, and funding will be provided for a new category, Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction. Also in the VA/HUD bill, NASA will receive $14,793.2 million, 3.8% greater than last year. Space Science, Earth Science, and Biological and Physical Research accounts will all receive more than requested. Human Space Flight and the International Space Station will get less than requested, and the conference report contains extensive language critical of NASA's management of the space station program.
FY02 NIST APPROPRIATIONS ALSO COMPLETED: NIST's in-house laboratories will receive an increase of 2.9% to $321.1 million, which is less than requested. The Advanced Technology Program, which the House and the Administration sought to virtually eliminate, instead will receive a 26.9% increase, including funding for new awards. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership will get a 2.2% increase.
PROGRESS ON DOD APPROPRIATIONS: The DOD funding bill, still working its way through Congress, was passed by the House in late November. Under this version, Basic Research (6.1) funding across DOD would fall by 0.2% from last year. Applied Research (6.2) funding across the department would fall by 9.6%, while funding for Advanced Technology Development (6.3) would increase by 0.9%.
NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF PROGRESS IN SCIENCE EDUCATION: Results of a 2000 national survey of student performance in science shows little change from 1996. This survey of a sampling of U.S. students in three grades shows that 29% of fourth-graders tested were evaluated as Proficient or higher in science. Of eighth- graders tested, 32% were considered Proficient or above, and of twelfth-graders, only 18% were Proficient or above.