The House and Senate completed work on their FY09 Budget Resolutions. The Senate voted to spend $30.5 billion on the Function 250, which is the General Science Function and includes the National Science Foundation (NSF), programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) except for aviation programs, and general science programs at the Department of Energy (DOE). The Senate number is approximately $1 billion above the President’s request. The House figure for Function 250 is $29.9 billion. But the increases for science are predicated on a total Federal Budget bottom line figure of approximately $1.01 trillion in both the House and Senate versions, which is about $22 billion above the total presidential request. The difference sets up a scenario similar to FY08, which resulted in a stalemate.
The last Washington Dispatch noted that the budgets for NSF, NIST, and the DOE Office of Science ended up significantly lower than the levels approved by Congress earlier in the year and authorized in the America COMPETES Act. The APS Washington Office has worked to mobilize the Society’s membership to lobby members of Congress and Congressional leadership to include $510M ($180 million for NSF, $30 million for NIST Core, and $300 million for the DOE Office of Science) for science in the FY08 Supplemental Appropriations Bill. More than 7,000 APS members have already responded to the call using the APS web site to communicate to Congress or signing letters at the APS March and April Meetings. The Washington Office urges APS members who haven't yet written to do so at APS Write Congress.
To track the progress of the appropriations bills and the emergency supplemental bill, visit AAAS or APS.
ISSUE: Nuclear Forensics
The APS Panel on Public Affairs, in cooperation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Center for Science Technology and Security Policy, issued an unclassified report that reviews the US nuclear forensics program. The report provides a summary of the techniques and capabilities and identifies five areas for improvement. The report was summarized in APS News in the April Back Page, and can be downloaded from APS.
The Washington Post published a story in its February 17th Sunday edition regarding the conclusions of the APS/AAAS nuclear forensics report. The Post also ran an op-ed on March 25th by Jay Davis, a member of the APS/AAAS study group that developed the forensics report. This report was covered by more than 200 additional media outlets including the Associated Press, New Scientist, and Scientific American.
ISSUE: Campaign Education Project
The American Physical Society, in cooperation with 10 science and engineering organizations, is hosting a “Campaign School” on May 10th to be held in Washington DC. The purpose of the event is to educate members of the participating organizations on running for state and local elected office. For more information and to register, go to the event’s web site.
The APS, in cooperation with AAAS and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is engaged in an examination of US Nuclear Weapons Policy. The Project has three tracks: Technical Issues (chaired by Mike Cornwall), International Issues (chaired by former Congressman Jim Leach), and Military Issues (chaired by Frank Miller). After workshops on each track, there will be an integration workshop (chaired by John Hamre) to synthesize the results into a set of options and conclusions. Each workshop will have the strong participation of physicists working in the relevant issue areas. A final report is scheduled to be completed in mid-September.
ISSUE: Washington Office Media Update
The Chicago-Tribune published an op-ed by Kevin Pitts, a Fermilab scientist, on April 2. The piece detailed the damage done to science since last year's omnibus bill and advocated for a $510 million supplemental bill to fix the situation.