FYI THIS MONTH: JANUARY 2007
HIGHLIGHTS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN WASHINGTON IMPACTING THE PHYSICS COMMUNITY FROM FYI, THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS BULLETIN OF SCIENCE POLICY NEWS
Audrey T. Leath, Richard M. Jones
fyithismonth@aip.org
AIP SCIENCE POLICY PRODUCTS AND SERVICES: Please see our web site at http://www.aip.org/gov/ for information on services, programs and products intended to keep the physics community informed about government policy-making. To aid you in visiting your Members of Congress or contacting relevant Members on an issue of importance to you, please see the congressional calendar and information on the committee rosters for committees with jurisdiction over R&D and education.

FY07 APPROPRIATIONS: As the 110th Congress works to complete the fiscal year 2007 appropriations process, Members of Congress made their funding priorities known to key appropriators by seeking their colleagues' signatures on "Dear Colleague" letters. Letters supporting the full FY07 request for NSF were circulated in the House by S&T Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) and Reps. Vern Ehlers (R- MI) and Rush Holt (D-NJ), and in the Senate by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). Letters asking for the full request for DOE's Office of Science were initiated in the House by Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL), and in the Senate by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN). A list of Members who signed these "Dear Colleague" letters is provided. On the final day of January, the House passed an FY07 appropriations bill that, if enacted, would provide substantial increases for NSF, the Office of Science, and NIST.

DOE APPROPRIATIONS CONCERNS: As the "Dear Colleague" letters indicate, the FY07 appropriations wrap-up raised concerns that federal R&D programs would not receive the substantial increases proposed in President Bush's FY07 request. The Department of Energy prepared a short document highlighting the impacts that flat (FY06) funding would have on its programs. For the Office of Science, these impacts included suspending operation of several facilities, a possible 50 percent reduction in ITER efforts, severe impacts to the High Energy Physics program, and major staff layoffs.

TSUNAMI DETECTION BILL: One of the last actions of the 109th Congress was to pass a law authorizing and expanding NOAA's programs to understand, detect, and warn the public about tsunamis. President Bush signed the bill into law on December 20, 2006.

SCIENCE EDUCATION BILLS: With the recent emphasis on competitiveness and the upcoming reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, Senators and Representatives have already introduced a number of bills targeting science and math education.

PELOSI ON R&D, CLIMATE CHANGE: In a Democratic address to the nation on the State of the Union, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) discussed strengthening R&D and combating global warming.

COMPETITIVENESS INDEX: A recent Council on Competitiveness report looks back and ahead at U.S. economic success and prospects for continued global competitiveness.