Senate Passes Helium Bill: Action by September 30 Deadline Still Not Assured

September 23, 2013

Crude Helium Enrichment UnitOn September 19, the Senate took an important step forward in voting to pass a substitute amendment to H.R. 527, its version of a helium bill. The vote, 97-2, underscored the fact that ensuring a continuous supply of helium from the Federal Reserve is not a partisan issue but an issue of national concern.

The legislative victory is the result of countless meetings, prodding and advocacy carried out not only by the APS, but also the hard work and dedication of a coalition of end users. The end users, including those in the medical imaging and semiconductor communities, have formed a cohesive advocacy force that can take a lot of credit for the victory in the Senate.

But, it’s not over yet.

Until the House acts on the Senate bill, the clock continues to tick down to Sept. 30, at which time the Bureau of Land Management begins shutting down operations for the helium pipeline. So, we need to keep the pressure on. As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!”

Policy news and viewpoints for the physics community. The analysis and opinions are those of the APS Office of Public Affairs and do not necessarily represent the entire Society.