FYI THIS MONTH: JULY 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 APPROPRIATIONS: Following the lead of the House, Senate appropriators approved all of their FY07 appropriations bills in July in preparation for their month-long August recess, although most have not yet made it to the Senate floor. Of the programs and agencies tracked by FYI, Senate appropriators approved a double-digit increase over current funding for DOE's Office of Science, slightly more than both the Administration's request and the House bill. Senate appropriators would also provide a significant increase for DOE's nuclear energy programs, while House appropriators tried to cut those funds below FY06 levels.

MARBURGER ON ACI: On a June 30 conference call, OSTP Director John Marburger gave an optimistic update on progress toward implementing the President's American Competitiveness Initiative. His main criticism of the various competitiveness bills circulating in Congress was that they were trying to "put too much in."

C-J-S APPROPRIATIONS: Under the FY07 Commerce, Justice, and Science spending bill, Senate appropriators would give NSF a 7.4% increase, slightly less than that proposed by the Administration and the House. NASA would receive a 3.1% increase under the Senate bill, more than in the House bill but less than the request. The appropriations committee's report language expressed concern that NASA's science program "is being left behind." Senate appropriators agreed with the Administration and the House on the requested increase for NIST's laboratory research program and on termination of the Advanced Technology Program, but went their own way in suggesting an increase for the Manufacturing Extension Partnerships.

PREPARATION FOR FY08 BUDGET: Even as the House and Senate work on passage of the FY07 appropriations bills, the Administration is developing the FY08 request that will be submitted to Congress next February. A recent memo to federal department and agency heads outlined the Administration's R&D priorities, including the American Competitiveness Initiative.

OTHER APPROPRIATIONS BILLS: Under the Interior appropriations bill, Senate appropriators would keep funding for the U.S. Geological Survey virtually flat. The Administration sought a reduction while the House recommended an increase. Senate appropriators' version of the FY07 Defense funding bill would cut DOD S&T spending by nearly 10%, close to the request; the House supported a slight increase instead. The Senate version of the Labor-HHS-Education bill recommended slightly more than the Administration and the House for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, keeping institute's funding relatively flat. Also in the Labor-HHS-Education bill, Senate appropriators would increase funding for the Education Department's Math and Science Partnership program over FY06 and over the request, but less than the House.

DEBATE ON SHIFTING NASA FUNDS: During the House floor debate on FY07 funding for NASA, two attempts to shift money out of NASA programs were defeated.