Friday, 12 March 93 Washington, DC
1. HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CALLS FOR $830M CUT IN SCIENCE BUDGET.
The budget resolution is not binding, but it serves to define the
starting point for the appropriations process. Science is lumped
into Budget Function 250, which includes, among other things, the
space station, the SSC and NSF. Under the Clinton plan, Function
250 would get $18.89B; the resolution that came out of committee
calls for $18.06B, but declines to explain just where to make the
cuts. Some Republicans would have preferred to be explicit, but
amendments to terminate the space station and the supercollider
were both defeated; even those Democrats who usually oppose the
two mega-projects voted against the amendments, arguing that the
fight over specifics belonged in the appropriations process.
2. EFFORT TO CUT UNIVERSITY INDIRECT COST REIMBURSEMENT DEFEATED!
Over in the Senate, where cuts went even deeper, Sen. Hank Brown
(R-CO) introduced an amendment to the Budget Resolution that
would cap indirect cost reimbursement to universities at 50%. The
amendment was defeated, but university administrators are still
taking Maalox. Clinton's economic plan calls for saving $1.23B
on university overhead
(WN 26 Feb 93). How? There was talk of a
23% cap on administrative costs and a 44% cap on total indirect!
But late word is that although there will be some reduction in
reimbursement, the Administration has backed away from $1.23B.
3. NSF OBSERVES "WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH" WITH A FASHION PROGRAM.
"Kathy Spearman, Casual Corner Fashion Consultant," discussed
"public and personal image, silhouettes (identifying your body
shape), how to organize your closet, scarf tricks and much
more!," to start the annual observance of Women's History Month.
4. FREEDOM-LITE REDESIGN TEAM MUST FINISH ITS WORK BY 1 JUNE 93.
Following a meeting with President Clinton, NASA Administrator
Daniel Goldin announced that operating costs of the redesigned
station must be cut in half, and the planned lifetime shortened
from 30 years to 10. Goldin was unable to put a figure on the new
construction cost, but even though no design now exists he said,
"we do not want to create dislocations; we have not stopped any
activity or contract." It might be more appropriate at this point
to administer existing contracts as a welfare program under HHS.
5. REALIGNMENT OF NSF DIVISIONS SAID TO BE UNDER CONSIDERATION.
A position paper in preparation in the Mathematics and Physical
Sciences Directorate of the NSF addresses a realignment in which,
among other changes, Condensed Matter Physics would move from the
Materials Research Division to the Physics Division. Similarly,
Solid-State Chemistry would move from Materials Research to the
Chemistry Division. The proposal will be run by the Advisory
Committees in early April. One factor driving the change may be
the emphasis on the "strategic research initiatives"
(WN 19 Feb
93), which has resulted in severe imbalances between programs.