FYI THIS MONTH: APRIL 2006
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
DOE OFFICE OF SCIENCE APPROPRIATIONS HEARINGS: House and Senate appropriators gave Office of Science Director Ray Orbach positive feedback at two important budget hearings. While Members expressed disappointment about some aspects of the FY 2007 request, there was bipartisan support for the proposed budget, with one key appropriator declaring "There will always be some winners and some losers in the competition for a limited appropriation."

AMERICAN COMPETITIVENESS INITIATIVE: Almost all indications were positive at a House appropriations hearing on the ACI featuring OSTP Director John Marburger, with one member calling it "a very welcome change." Subcommittee chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) was troubled by NASA's request to cut FY 2007 aeronautics research by 18%, saying "I think that's going to be your problem this year." At a later hearing, House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) gave a strong endorsement of the ACI, calling it "my top priority." President Bush appeared at a suburban Washington school to highlight the ACI, saying "We need to always be on the leading edge of technological change. We need to be the center of research and development."

NASA APPROPRIATIONS HEARINGS: A common theme at House and Senate appropriations hearings on the NASA request was the lack of sufficient funding for the agency to do everything Members were interested in. NASA Administrator Michael Griffin acknowledged that tough choices had to be made to provide sufficient funding to complete the space station, and urged appropriators not to "Rob Peter to pay Paul" to increase science funding.

MIXED CONGRESSIONAL REACTION TO ARPA-E PROPOSAL: Two- thirds of U.S. senators have cosponsored legislation to establish an ARPA-like entity in the Department of Energy that would sponsor out-of-the-box, transformational energy R&D. A House Science Committee hearing revealed some Member skepticism about the proposal, with many concerned that it would draw money from the DOE Office of Science.

HOUSE EFFORT UNDERWAY TO INCREASE DOD BASIC RESEARCH FUNDING: A letter is circulating in the House supporting an increase in 6.1 funding in FY 2007. A similar letter in the Senate was signed by twenty- four senators.

APPROPRIATIONS CYCLE ENTERS CRITICAL STAGE: House appropriators will begin the drafting of their FY 2007 bills in coming weeks. Constituent input is needed! At an address to the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman repeated this theme, saying "It is time for your community to step forward."