6 April 2001
1. BUDGET I: "NO SCIENCE, NO SURPLUS."
Within Republican ranks
supporters of a strong science program have been speaking up, and
it seems the President is listening. First came a widely quoted
New York Times op-ed by Allan Bromley, "Science and Surpluses"
(WN 09 Mar 01).
Bromley observed that the estimated $5.6
trillion surplus over a decade, which is supposed to bankroll the
Bush program, must come from scientific innovation. "No science,
no surplus," Bromley declared, "It's that simple." Yesterday,
Bromley's line was quoted in an editorial in the widely-read
Capital Hill newspaper, "Roll Call." Meanwhile, a letter to Rep.
Young, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, signed by
both Republican and Democratic members, urged that science
agencies, and the NSF in particular, be given high priority in
the budget, putting them back on the doubling track. The House
Science Committee expressed concern about the "minuscule" budget
increase for NSF in its Views and Estimates report. The report
was signed by all but three of the Republicans on the Committee.
2. BUDGET II: BOND AMENDMENT PASSES SENATE ON A VOICE VOTE.
How widespread is congressional sentiment favoring an increase in the
nation's investment in science? Last night, on a voice vote, the
Senate passed the Bond-Mikulski amendment, boosting the General
Science Account in the President's budget request by $1.44B.
Compared to 2001 enacted levels, this amendment adds $469M to
DOE's science account, $674M to NSF and $518M to NASA.
3. BUDGET III: PRESIDENT BUSH SHOWS HE'S PAYING ATTENTION.
now, any interest of the President in science has been carefully
concealed. And on Monday, when he releases his final budget
request, his direct involvement in the budget comes to an end.
So what's he going to do when, in an evenly divided Congress, the
leadership of his own party and most Democrats agree on funding
for science? Redefine his position. Yesterday, in remarks
before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Bush devoted a
single brief paragraph to research. He said his budget would
finish the job of doubling medical research at NIH by 2003. Then
he added, "Basic research gets big increases too." He gets an A.
4. SPACE: HOUSE SCIENCE COMMITTEE LOOKS AT "THE VISION THING."
On Tuesday, in a hearing entitled "Vision 2001: Future Space,"
the Committee explored "visionary concepts of America's future in
space. Witnesses were asked to examine issues as far-ranging as
space travel and the potential of science fiction fantasies to
become reality. They were encouraged to let their imaginations
roam." Wednesdays hearing, was "Space Station Overruns." In
this look into the future, witnesses reviewed, "the causes of
cost growth, risks associated with reliance on international
partners, the re-prioritization of planned science, and actions
NASA is taking to address these issues.