Friday, 14 September 1990 Washington, DC
1. FLASH! WALTER MASSEY HAS BEEN NOMINATED BY PRESIDENT BUSH
be the ninth Director of the National Science Foundation. The
White House announcement has been expected for several weeks.
Massey will replace Erich Bloch whose six year appointment came
to an end in August. Massey, who was formerly director of
Argonne National Laboratories, is currently VP for Research at
the University of Chicago. He is also Vice President of the APS.
2. ALL NSF GRANTEES COULD GO ON HALF RATIONS BEGINNING 1 OCTOBER!
The mindless monster of sequestration will be unleashed on that
date, unless the Administration and Congress can reach a budget
agreement consistent with the deficit targets mandated by Gramm-
Rudman. The NSF has submitted a plan to the Office of Management
and Budget for coping with the projected 32.4% reduction in the
rate of spending; it calls for a 50% cut in committed increments,
and suspension of new programs. It does not call for a halt in
new awards under existing programs. The sequester would terminate
grant support for 21,000 individuals. New appointments at NSF
would be frozen--and if that doesn't do the job, staff furloughs
would follow. Meanwhile at DOE, construction of the SSC and RHIC
would cease and start up of CEBAF would be delayed. Operating
levels at Fermilab, SLAC and LAMPF would be reduced at least 50%.
3. IRONICALLY, NSF FARED RELATIVELY WELL IN THE SENATE YESTERDAY-
-if you look only at the total. The VA/HUD/Independent Agencies
Appropriations Subcommittee recommended a 14% increase for FY 91,
to $2.36B. Research, however, would increase by only 9.5% over
FY 90, which is about the same as House version (WN 29 Jun 90).
The bill also blocks the planned relocation of NSF; Senator
Mikulski (D-MD), the subcommittee chair, was not pleased by the
decision to exclude the Maryland suburbs from consideration. The
Subcommittee joined the House in eliminating $47M for the Laser
Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, but the Senate
version insists on spending $71M more on education than NSF
requested, whereas the House bill only crams an extra $34M down
the throat of education. Neither House seems to understand that
research is what universities teach. Where did the extra money
for education come from? NASA was used as a living organ donor.
4. NO ONE MADE A MOVE TO DEFEND SPACE STATION FREEDOM YESTERDAY
when the Subcommittee called for a cut of $1.67B in the $15.1B
request for NASA, with half of the cut coming from the space
station. Serious design flaws, no discernible mission, soaring
cost estimates, a grounded shuttle fleet and almost unanimous
opposition from the science community may have weakened support
for Freedom. The bill also calls for elimination of FY 91 funds
for Moon/Mars and cuts $44M from the aerospace plane, but keeps
the full $12M for the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.
Whatever bill is finally agreed to will still face across-the-
board cuts, either from sequestration or the budget summit.