FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

FYI This Month: April 2010

Richard M. Jones
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Highlights of developments in Washington impacting the physics community from FYI, the American Institute of Physics Bulletin of science policy news

Reauthorization of Elementary and Secondary Education Act

The American Institute of Physics and five of its Member Societies endorsed a letter sent to the House of Representatives committee responsible for writing a new version of the No Child Left Behind Act that offers several STEM recommendations. (FYI #39)

Energy Secretary Steven Chu Testifies on Capitol Hill

Chu testified before four congressional committees on DOE’s FY 2011 request. Members were very interested in Chu’s comments on energy, particularly nuclear energy, and the department’s plans for the disposal of nuclear waste. Appropriators expressed concern about the Administration’s proposed $500 million reduction in the Army Corps of Engineers’s budget, and the impact it would have on DOE’s budget. (#40)

Nuclear Posture Review

The Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, which will shape U.S. nuclear weapons strategy in the next five to ten years, called for investments in science and technology, infrastructure, and the workforce. (#41)

House Appropriations Hearing on the U.S. Geological Survey

Members expressed support for the proposed increase in the USGS FY 2011 budget, with questions centering on proposed funding reductions for some programs and coordination with other agencies on research programs. (#42)

Congressional Hearings on New Space Policy

Members have many questions about the proposed cancellation of NASA’s Constellation Program and the use of commercial transportation for flights to the International Space Station. (#43)

President Obama Details Administration’s New Space Exploration Policy

The President spoke about the decision to cancel the Constellation Program, the development of the Orion Capsule and a heavy-lift vehicle, future destination for human exploration, workforce issues, and America’s role in space exploration. (#44)

Norman Augustine Responds to President Obama’s Speech on New Exploration Policy

Augustine reviewed the role and recommendations of the space flight review committee that he chaired, and said the Administration’s new policy was “very close” to one of the options in its report. (#45)

House Science and Technology Committee Acts on new COMPETES Bill

Following a series of subcommittee hearings (#46), the committee approved its version of a reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act. In addition to authorizing a number of new programs, it maintains the doubling path for the budgets of the National Science Foundation, the DOE Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. (#50)

Senate Appropriators Give Little Support to New Space Policy

Senators had many questions about, and expressed outright hostility to, the Administration’s new space policy. (#47)

NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel’s Observations on Key Issues

A member of this influential panel described its findings regarding the space shuttle’s remaining life span; the follow-on to the shuttle; workforce transition; and resources and schedules. (#48)

Funding Statements

Coalitions supporting the DOE Office of Science, the National Science Foundation, and the science and technology programs of the Department of Defense have issued recommendations regarding FY 2011 appropriations. (#49)

Senators Seek Support for Letter on DOE Office of Science Request

Two senators have asked their colleagues to sign a letter to appropriators in support of the DOE Office of Science request. Constituent interest in this effort will be instrumental to its success. (#51)

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