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
APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS BEGINS: Although Congress is supportive of science and technology, it will be larger questions of military actions, the state of the economy, and the upcoming elections that drive the outcome of the FY 2003 appropriations process. As the appropriations cycle begins, the AIP Governing Board has endorsed statements by three S&T coalitions, recommending specific FY 2003 funding levels for NSF, DOE's Office of Science, and DOD's S&T programs.
USGS REQUEST CRITICIZED: Key House appropriators voiced their opposition to the Administration's plan to cut USGS funding and transfer a program to NSF, commenting that similar proposals had been "wisely rejected" in the past.
O'KEEFE TESTIFIES ON NASA BUDGET: In his first testimony as NASA Administrator, Sean O'Keefe described his view of the agency as "a leading agency" for implementing the President's Management Agenda. As usual, funding for the space station was the most contentious issue.
PCAST MEETS: At its first public meeting, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology was charged to develop recommendations on four topics: using S&T to combat terrorism, energy efficiency policies and technologies, federal investment in R&D, and rapid deployment of broadband communications.
DOE APPROPRIATIONS HEARINGS: House and Senate appropriators responsible for DOE funding praised the work done by DOE's Office of Science and expressed concern over the relatively flat request and the aging infrastructure at DOE facilities.
BOEHLERT ON NANOTECHNOLOGY: "...[I]n science and technology, few things could actually be bigger than nanotechnology," House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) said recently. While the President has requested an increase of 17 percent for federal nanotechnology research, Boehlert warned that scientists still need to make the case for this increase to Members of Congress.
SCIENCE SUBCOMMITTEE HEARINGS: House Science Committee members successfully pushed for higher NSF funding in the House Budget Resolution than the President's request, and witnesses at a subcommittee hearing were invited to describe the benefits of NSF programs from several viewpoints. Another subcommittee highlighted the need for high-quality S&T education at the undergraduate level and promoted House and Senate bills that would encourage higher education institutions to seek creative ways of attracting students to these fields.
HOLT ON JASON: Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) has sent a letter to other Members of Congress, expressing concern about DOD's decision to disband JASON, an independent advisory panel of scientists.