Friday, 20 May 1988
NSF IS ABOUT TO BE CLOBBERED BY THE SENATE AGAIN THIS YEAR.
California did not drop into the Pacific last week as Nostradamus
had predicted, but a major disaster took place on Friday the 13th
when the Senate Appropriations Committee made its allocations for
the 13 subcommittees. Whether it was the stars or the lame-duck
status of Subcommittee Chairman William Proxmire (D-WI), the
allocation for HUD-Independent Agencies, which includes both NSF
and NASA, was about $1B less than its House counterpart got. The
NSF Office of Legislative and Public Affairs acknowledges that
this makes it highly unlikely that the Senate appropriation for
NSF will even come close to the 9.8% increase called for by the
House subcommittee (WN 13 May 88).
sources predict that the Space Station is comatose if not dead,
but they do not expect its demise to benefit the NSF. The
subcommittee will complete its gruesome work about mid-June.
. A "BUY AMERICA" PROVISION THREATENS THE NSF AUTHORIZATION
that is scheduled to go to the House floor in early June.
The amendment, sponsored by Doug Walgren (D-PA), whose district
includes a lot of idle steel capacity, would require the NSF's
Antarctic research vessel to be built in an American shipyard.
That runs counter to the free trade policy of the Administration,
and OMB has declared its intention to urge a Presidential veto.
3. THE NEXT ADMINISTRATION WILL DECIDE THE FATE OF THE SSC.
The House passed the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill
this week (WN 13 May 88) with
few changes. In providing no funds
for construction of the super collider (or any other new start),
the House made it easy for the next administration to reexamine
its priorities. On the Senate side, the Energy and Natural
Resources Committee scolded Secretary of Energy Herrington for
transferring $8M from the FY 88 Departmental Administration
Appropriation to cover costs incurred in the SSC site selection
process by a private contractor. The Committee implied that if
the DOE had that much money lying around, it should have used it
to relieve the serious underfunding of existing DOE facilities.
4. THE DISPOSAL OF WEAPONS-GRADE NUCLEAR MATERIALS
dismantled warheads would be a major problem in the event of a
strategic arms reduction treaty. The Morrison Amendment to the
Defense Authorization Bill (H.R. 4264) gives the Secretary of
Energy 90 days to formulate a plan for demonstrating the
feasibility of burning the material in a liquid metal reactor.
Wolfgang Panofsky commented at a conference last November that
the American nuclear power industry might welcome a change of
image to "the industry that destroys nuclear weapons."
5. THE UBIQUITOUS "DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE" AMENDMENT STRIKES
Yesterday it was attached to the House bill to fund
Congress. It fails on voice vote but always passes on roll call.