FYI THIS MONTH: APRIL 2004

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

DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTERS: Now that the appropriations process is underway, Members of Congress are voicing their funding priorities in letters to key appropriators, and asking their colleagues to join in via "Dear Colleague" letters. Recently- circulated letters include: a Senate letter calling for DOE Office of Science funding to be increased by 10% over the requested level of $3.43 billion and a Senate letter urging that DOD S&T programs receive "3% of the total FY05 Defense Department budget"; a House letter requesting "the highest possible level" of funding for NSF; and a House letter urging $300 million for the Education Department's Math and Science Partnerships.

AIP ENDORSES AGU STATEMENT: Last December, the AGU Council adopted a position statement addressing human impacts on climate. This statement was recently endorsed by the Governing Board of AIP.

DEFENDING NSF MATH/SCIENCE PARTNERSHIPS: President Bush's proposal to begin phasing out the Math and Science Partnership program at NSF has come under fire from Congress and from the National Science Board.

NSF HEARING: Although NSF's budget request does not come close to the level authorized for FY05, Acting NSF Director Arden Bement said in testimony, "in light of the significant challenges that face the nation - in security, defense, and the economy - NSF has, relatively speaking, fared well."

PCAST MEETING: On March 30, members of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology heard a presentation describing challenges to the nation's technological leadership, and several briefings on the potential health and environmental impacts of nanomaterials .

"BUNKER BUSTER" CONTROVERSY: Legislation last year funding the study of a Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, or "bunker buster," stated that "none of the funds provided may be used for activities at the engineering development phases," but the Administration's 5-year budget projection raises questions about future plans to develop such a weapon.

MOON/MARS EXPLORATION: President Bush's space exploration proposal recently came under review by the House Science Committee, the Senate Commerce Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee, and the House VA/HUD Appropriations Subcommittee. Speaking to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R- NY) declared that "Congress should get more answers before ramping up the new program too steeply."

VIEWS ON S&T FUNDING: At the 29th annual AAAS Science and Technology Policy Forum, OSTP Director John Marburger and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) voiced differing opinions regarding the Bush Administration's funding of science and technology.