HIGHLIGHTS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN WASHINGTON IMPACTING THE PHYSICS COMMUNITY FROM FYI, THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS BULLETIN OF SCIENCE POLICY NEWS
Richard M. Jones, Audrey T. Leath
CONGRESS COMPLETES APPROPRIATIONS BILLS; ADJOURNS: The five remaining appropriations bills were combined into one, incorporating a 0.38 percent across-the-board reduction to all FY 2000 discretionary spending. (FYI #163) Included in the last-minute measure were NIH, which received a 15 percent increase, and NIST, which suffered a 27 percent reduction to the Advanced Technology Program. The Department of Education's Eisenhower program will continue to be funded at the FY 1999 level. (Percentages and amounts given do not take into account the across-the-board cut.)
R&E TAX CREDIT EXTENDED: Also in the final appropriations bill, Congress and the Administration agreed to extend the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit through June 30, 2004. (FYI #163)
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ASK FOR STRONG DOD R&D REQUEST: In a letter to President Clinton, 96 Members urged him to submit an FY 2001 defense science and technology budget with growth of at least 2 percent over inflation (FYI #158). Twenty Democratic Senators also wrote to the White House Chief of Staff calling for strong DOD R&D funding. (FYI #165)
EDUCATION TOPIC OF HEARING, FLOOR SPEECH: A House Science subcommittee heard that research on education and learning is underfunded and often of poor quality (FYI #159). Physicist Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI) has made science and math education a priority and is drafting a bill dealing with teacher recruitment, preparation, and retention. (FYI #161)
DOUBLING BILL INTRODUCED IN HOUSE: Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) introduced H.R. 3161, to authorize a near doubling of federal civilian research funding by 2010 (FYI #160). Her bill has ten cosponsors. Similar legislation was passed in the Senate earlier this year.
INAUGURATION OF LIGO SITE: NSF Director Rita Colwell spoke at the dedication of one of NSF's two Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory sites (Hanford, WA and Livingston, LA). She noted that the project was on time and on budget. Detectors are now being installed, with first observations expected in 2002. (FYI #162)
DATA ON U.S. R&D SPENDING: An NSF data brief released this fall analyzes public- and private-sector spending on R&D in the U.S. While total R&D spending as a percentage of GDP is at its highest level since 1967, the share supported by the federal government in 1999, 26.7 percent, is the lowest since data was first collected in 1953 (FYI #164).
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