FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

FYI This Month: June 2012

Richard M. Jones
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Obama Administration Comments on FY 2013 DOE Funding Bill

The Office of Management and Budget released a Statement of Administration Policy praising and criticizing the House FY 2013 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill, including provisions on the Office of Science, the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and Yucca Mountain.

House Defense Authorization Bill on National Ignition Facility

A House Armed Services Committee report included language on the difficulty of achieving ignition at NIF, and made recommendations about strategies the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) should take in the future.

House Discussion on National Ignition Facility

“I want to affirm with you that the mission of NIF has not changed and that inertial fusion energy and basic science research, as well as stockpile stewardship, will continue to be vigorously pursued at NIF,” asked a representative to two senior appropriators during House consideration of the NNSA funding bill.

Unsuccessful House Amendment to Transfer Funding from DOE Energy Program to Office of Science

During the House’s recent consideration of the FY 2013 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill, an amendment was offered to reduce funding for the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program.  Half of the $30 million reduction would have been transferred to the DOE Office of Science.

Sending a Message: House Action on Yucca Mountain

By a four-to-one-ratio, the House passed an amendment to the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill to increase funding to study the suitability of the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

House Rejects Move to Increase FY 2013 ARPA-E Funding

An amendment was rejected to increase funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy by shifting $133.4 million from the Department of Energy’s FY 2013 budget for fossil fuel R&D.   

Amendment on Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Account Funding Defeated

During House consideration of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill an amendment was rejected to increase the appropriation for the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation account.

House Votes Against Proposed Cut in FY 2013 Nuclear Weapons Technology Funding

During House consideration of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill, an amendment was defeated to reduce the budget for the nuclear weapons technology account by $298.0 million. 

Letter Urges Senate to Reject Attempts to Reduce FY 2013 NSF Funding

The American Institute of Physics and five of its Member Societies joined more than 120 organizations in signing a letter to the Senate regarding FY 2013 funding for the National Science Foundation.  The letter urged strong support for the research and development budget at the NSF while opposing “legislative attempts to micromanage NSF and undermine the merit review process by singling out specific programs for elimination as recently occurred in the House.”

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hears About the Role of Government in Energy Innovation

A May 22 hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee focused on issues of government involvement in the clean energy sector, highlighting the complexities of establishing the energy market.

Making Hard Choices: OMB and OSTP Issue Guidance to Agencies on Formulation of FY 2014 Budget Requests

The Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy issued two memorandums to department and agency heads providing guidance on formulating budget requests for the fiscal year starting on October 1, 2013.

Senate Defense Authorization Bill: Funding for S&T Programs

The Senate Armed Services Committee recommended a decrease in total FY 2013 spending for the three defense science and technology programs, as did the Administration’s request and the House defense authorization bill, with all three figures approximately the same.

Senate Defense Authorization Bill: Report Language on National Ignition Facility

In contrast to rather extensive language on the National Ignition Facility in the reports accompanying the House defense authorization bill, and the House and Senate defense appropriations bills, the report of the Senate Armed Services Committee was considerably briefer.

Recent NSF Activity on Merit Review

The primary science-funding agencies from nearly 50 countries gathered at the National Science Foundation to form a Global Research Council to develop best practices for collaboration and to compose a common set of merit-review principles.  NSF also submitted a report on merit review.

FY 2013 House Defense Appropriations Bill: Science and Technology Programs

Changes in program funding varied in the bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee.

FY 2013 Senate Appropriations Committee Recommendation for National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

Senate appropriators recommended is $337.9 million, a decrease of $0.2 million or essentially level funding, for NIBIB.

Amendment to Restore $51 Million to Math and Science Partnership Program Passed

The American Institute of Physics was among over 50 organizations, including several of its Member Societies, supporting an amendment restoring $51 million in proposed cuts to the FY 2013 budget for the Mathematics and Science Partnerships (MSP) program at the Department of Education.

Holdren on Administration’s S&T Policies

Committee members at a recent House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing expressed great interest in the Administration’s policies, with the tone of the questions addressed to OSTP Director John Holdren reflecting from what side of the dais they were asked.

Richard M. Jones
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics