FYI THIS MONTH: FEBRUARY 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
FY07 RESOLUTION: Congress was still wrapping up the FY07 appropriations process when President Bush released his FY08 request. A continuing resolution (CR) to fund the remainder of the 2007 fiscal year was finally signed by the President in mid-February. While holding most programs to FY06 levels, it includes extra funding for NSF research, DOE's Office of Science, and NIST's in-house labs, all considered part of the President's American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI)

S&T FUNDING WITHIN THE FY08 REQUEST: The President continued the emphasis on R&D in his FY08 budget submission by increasing his requests for R&D programs considered part of the ACI. Because the FY07 appropriations process was unfinished at the time the FY08 request was released, all amounts that follow (except for DOD S&T) are compared to Bush's requested FY07 levels: NASA funding would increase 3.1%, with the growth rate for science funding slowed to 0.9%. NIST would receive increases only for its in-house labs and construction, with another attempt to zero out the Advanced Technology Program. DOE's Office of Science would experience 7.0% growth, with all disciplinary areas slated for increases. NSF would be kept close to the doubling path laid out in the ACI, with a requested increase of 6.8%. Funding for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering would remain virtually flat; while USGS funding would grow 3.2%. Within the Education Department, $397 million would be targeted for science and math education programs supporting the ACI, while NSF's Education and Human Resources Directorate would increase by 4.8%. The Math and Science Partnership programs at both agencies would be held to level funding. S&T programs within the Defense Department would be cut by 19.2% from actual FY07 funding; the DOD spending bill was one of only two that Congress had completed before the FY08 request came out.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE BEGINS HEARINGS: A House Science and Technology Committee hearing with Office of Science and Technology Director John Marburger highlighted areas of agreement and disagreement between the committee and the Administration. Marburger pointed out that the Administration had placed a high priority on basic research "in a year of belt-tightening for many other domestic programs." Committee concerns included the focus of efforts to improve science and math education and the role of NSF; funding for NIST's industry programs; and many aspects of NASA's budget. Another S&T Committee hearing addressed the deterioration of the nation's system of Earth observing satellites and a National Research Council report on this topic.

WAR ON EARMARKS: Congress excluded all earmarks from the continuing resolution completing the FY07 appropriations process. Now, a February 15 memorandum from the White House Office of Management and Budget directs federal department and agency heads not to obligate funds for any earmarks previously mentioned in congressional reports or documents other than "statutory text," through the end of the 2007 fiscal year. This cancels earmarks for thousands of projects from previous years.