A bi-monthly update from the APS Office of Public Affairs
ISSUE: SCIENCE RESEARCH BUDGETS
Congress is currently holding hearings to consider the President’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2007, which begins on October 1. As noted in the previous Dispatch, the president has proposed significant increases for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Office of Science, and the NIST laboratories as part of his American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI). The Appropriations Committees has yet to mark up any of the spending bills, but the Budget Committees have moved ahead with their work on the Budget Resolution. The Budget Committee’s actions influence overall funding levels for the federal budget and the individual spending bills, rather than the budget of specific line items. The Senate Budget Committee, chaired by Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), signaled strong support for ACI basic research budget requests in the Committee’s draft of the Budget Resolution. It included levels to fully fund the President’s ACI basic research increases and also provided a reserve fund. On the House side, the Budget Committee, chaired by Representative Jim Nussle (R-IA), in its committee draft reduced the ACI basic research components by more than $300 million. Reflecting the difficulties that the House Republican Leadership is having in achieving a consensus on spending levels, the Budget Resolution failed to gain a majority in early April. Final spending levels may not be worked out until the appropriators mark up their bills. For details of the FY07 budget process, go to http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/.
To express your views to Congress on the President’s ACI requests, go to http://www.congressweb.com/cweb4/index.cfm?orgcode=apspa&hotissue=58.
The bipartisan Senate competitiveness bills discussed in the previous Dispatch continue to gain co-sponsors. Senate committees are currently holding hearings on the bills and are expected to hold votes soon. In the House, competitiveness bills addressing science have been stalled by lack of action by the House Leadership. House Democrats have submitted bills that mimic the bipartisan Senate counterparts. Although the House Republicans introduced a “competitiveness” bill in March, it did not address basic research.
ISSUE: RELIABLE REPLACEMENT WARHEAD (RRW)
The Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) is participating informally in the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons Complex Assessment Committee (NWCAC). The committee, chaired by Bruce Tarter of Lawrence Livermore National Lab, has 13 other members, of whom 8 are APS members and 5 are APS Fellows. The first act of the committee will be to review and comment on the proposed Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW).
ISSUE: GLOBAL NUCLEAR ENERGY PARTNERSHIP (GNEP)
The Department of Energy (DOE) recently proposed a plan for a Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP: http://www.gnep.energy.gov). The plan contains some elements that were proposed by the POPA Nuclear Energy Study Group (NESG). Roger Hagengruber of the University of New Mexico, chair of the study group, plans to reconvene the committee to review and comment on GNEP. For information on the membership of the Nuclear Energy Study Group, please visit the website at
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Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette
Staff Writer: Ernie Tretkoff