Friday, 18 June 93 Washington, DC
1. APPROPRIATORS TRY TO SUPPRESS REPORT ON RECORD PORK SPENDING!
This is the most gluttonous year yet for earmarking, but it's not
that easy to get the facts. In a letter to George Brown (D-CA),
Senator James M. Jeffords (R-VT) wrote that when he asked the
Congressional Research Service for a copy of its recent study
documenting FY 93 academic pork, he was told "the Appropriations
Committee had intervened to prevent further release of these
reports." CRS has also been instructed to exclude statistics from
future publications on earmarking. This year's statistics reveal
that $600M worth of authorized science projects were displaced by
academic earmarks. And over 20% of the pork went to clients of
one lobbying firm. Peer reviewers are losing to the lobbyists.
2. PRESIDENT CLINTON REAFFIRMS HIS SUPPORT FOR THE SUPER COLLIDER
in a letter to the chair of the House Appropriations Committee,
William Natcher (D-KY). The President warns that "Abandoning the
SSC at this point would signal that the United States is
compromising its position of leadership in basic science--a position
unquestioned for generations." The President seems to be saying
that his support is not conditioned on foreign participation.
Clinton's request for FY 94 is $640M, in a stretch-out to cut the
annual cost. The Appropriations Committee is looking at $620M.
3. CLINTON FAVORS "SCALED-DOWN VERSION OF SPACE STATION FREEDOM"!
His statement wasn't specific about which "scaled-down" version
he had in mind
(WN 11 Jun 93), but he promised to give Congress
the details in the near future. His own advisory committee, the
Vest panel, had recommended the most radical redesign
(WN 11 Jun
93), but what do they know about politics? To make up the large
difference in cost, the President directed NASA to "implement
personnel reductions and major management changes to cut costs,
reduce bureaucracy and improve efficiency." The question now is
the angle of declination. Die-hard supporters of the Shuttle are
trying to block the 51.6 degree declination--that's the angle
required for Russian launches to the station. If the Russians can
service the station, who in his right mind would use the shuttle?
4. HOUSE SCIENCE SUBCOMMITTEE HAS ITS OWN CONCERNS ABOUT THE NSF.
When Walter Massey was running the NSF, he stressed technology
transfer and the needs of the Education Directorate. But Tuesday,
in hearings on the reauthorization of NSF, acting director Fred
Bernthel, and James J. Duderstadt, chair of the National Science
Board, used more traditional language. They identified research
as the best investment in education and reaffirmed the importance
of NSF's mission to support basic research. But Committee members
raised other concerns: How does NSF plan to address the $10B need
for academic facilities modernization? Would the panel favor
killing the SSC if the money went to NSF? Why is there only one
woman on the 22-member National Science Board? The panel had an
answer for the last question: Reagan and Bush picked the Board.