A bi-monthly update from the APS Office of Public Affairs
Issue: Research Funding
Before Congress recessed for the election, it had sent four FY 05 appropriation bills to the President for signature: Defense, Military Construction, Foreign Operations and Legislative Branch. In a post-election session, Congress will wrap most of the remaining nine bills into a single appropriation or extend a Continuing Resolution until February. Prior to the recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a 3% increase over FY04 for NSF, countering the House cut of 2%. The Senate Committee was also much kinder to NASA than the House, funding it at $135 million more than the request and $1.2 billion more than the House. The Senate Appropriations Committee joined the House in approving a restoration of funding for the NIST core programs that suffered major cuts in last year's omnibus bill.
At its October 23 meeting, the APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) unanimously supported a study on nuclear power and proliferation resistance. Roger Hagengruber will chair the study; other POPA participants currently include: John Ahearne, Ernest Moniz, Burt Richter, Wayne Shotts, Francis Slakey, and Frank von Hippel. The study is scheduled to be completed by April 1.
Issue: Scientific Advice to Congress
At its October 23 meeting, POPA established a subcommittee, chaired by Peter Eisenberger, to review various proposals for supplementing the means by which Congress receives scientific and technical advice, among them bills introduced by Senator Bingaman (D-NM) and Representative Holt (D- NJ) that can be downloaded from the Office of Public Affairs website. The Eisenberger subcommittee will discuss its findings and recommendations at the POPA January meeting.
The State Department reported significant improvement in visa processing beginning in September, including a decrease in visa mantis clearance delays, that have impinged on the ability of foreign students and scholars to enter the US in recent years. APS continues to monitor the visa processing system and advocate implementation of six recommendations made in a joint statement issued this spring along with more than 30 other science and university organizations.
At its October 23rd meeting, POPA approved a policy report on the Administration's Moon-Mars initiative and sent the report to the Executive Board for final action.
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Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette