FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

FYI This Month: August 2008

Highlights of Developments in Washington impacting the physics community from FYI, The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News

To read the cited FYIs, see the FYI archive

FY 2009 BUDGET PROCESS STALLED: A dispute over the development of offshore oil drilling has stalled further action on the FY 2009 appropriations bills. Senate appropriators have completed work on nine of the twelve bills, while House appropriators approved five bills. Although the defense and military construction-VA bills might be enacted, the remaining bills likely will remain on Capitol Hill until next spring. Funding will continue, largely at present levels, through a continuing budget resolution. (#82)

HEARING FOCUSES ON STEM EDUCATION: Witnesses discussed the importance of science and math education at a hearing of the House Committee on Education and Labor. Teacher training was given prominent attention, as were programs to encourage girls to retain their interest in science in middle grades. Also discussed was the need to increase the overall level of scientific literacy of the American public. (#83)

HIGHER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITY ACT SIGNED INTO LAW: After years of debate on Capitol Hill, a reauthorization bill for the Higher Education Act was sent to the President. There are many provisions of interest to students, prospective students, and student borrowers, as well as programs to encourage students to enter STEM fields. (#84)

BILL WOULD PROVIDE ADDITIONAL SCIENCE FUNDING: Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV) has drafted legislation to provide almost $1 billion in additional current year funding for Department of Energy science programs, to speed production of a space shuttle replacement, research grants at the National Institutes of Health, and for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This stimulus supplemental bill will be considered by the Senate in September. (#85)

NUCLEAR ENERGY'S FUTURE: A senior Department of Energy official described the importance of the public's understanding and acceptance of nuclear energy in the development of the nation's nuclear energy policy. (#86) Also important is a solution to the long term storage of nuclear waste, with another DOE official saying that the establishment of an effective funding mechanism is needed to move the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository forward. (#87)

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics