Friday, 1 Oct 1993 Washington, DC
1. BY A 57-42 VOTE, SENATE APPROVES THE SUPERCOLLIDER ONCE AGAIN!
It was the smoothest political maneuver you would ever hope to
see. Before Sen. Bumpers could bring up his amendment to kill
the SSC, an amendment was introduced by Hank Brown (R-CO) to halt
spending on the project after 90 days--unless the Secretary of
Energy certifies that management problems raised by the GAO have
been addressed. It passed by voice vote. The effect was to take
the mismanagement issue away from SSC opponents when the Bumpers
amendment came up. SSC backers in Congress are now hopeful that
a House/Senate Conference Committee will agree to the full $640M.
2. THE ADVANCED LIQUID METAL REACTOR a.k.a. INTEGRAL FAST REACTOR
also survived. Like the SSC, the House killed it, so its fate
rests on the conference. But at $30M, this is not a money issue.
Opponents worry about breeders; proponents worry over Pu storage.
3. THE SENATE DEFERRED THE $36M FOR CONSTRUCTION OF A B-FACTORY.
The Administration request was for a B-Factory "at a site to be
determined." But the Senate won't put up the money till it knows
where it's going, and Secretary O'Leary hasn't made her decision.
4. BROWN AMENDMENT STRIPS EARMARKS FROM DEFENSE CONVERSION FUNDS.
In the House report accompanying the Defense Appropriations Bill,
$123M of the Technology Reinvestment Project, 23% of the total,
was earmarked. The report can't be amended, so George Brown (D-
CA) managed to amend the bill itself, requiring that TRP funds be
awarded competitively. In an eloquent statement, Brown charged
that: "Reports are generally written by a few committee staffers.
In most cases, Members never vote on the report; indeed, in most
cases, Members never even see a report until after it is filed."
5. WHITE HOUSE HELP SOUGHT TO RESIST APPROPRIATIONS REPORT ABUSE.
Although report language is not binding, agencies are intimidated
by the prospect of retaliation. In a letter to Vice-President Al
Gore, George Brown has suggested that one possibility would be to
issue an executive order requiring agencies to ignore earmarks.
6. FORMER APS PRESIDENT IS AWARDED THE NATIONAL MEDAL OF SCIENCE.
Val Fitch, who shared the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physics with James
Cronin for discovering CP violation, received the Science Medal
from President Clinton yesterday in a ceremony on the White House
lawn. Fitch was the only APS President to serve two years, 1987-
88. Alfred Cho of AT&T Bell Labs, co-inventor of molecular beam
epitaxy and a Fellow of the APS, also received the Science Medal.
FLASH! CONFEREES COMPLETE WORK ON HUD/VA/IA APPROPRIATIONS BILL!
Late this afternoon it was agreed to increase NSF research by 7%,
splitting the difference between House (10%) and Senate (4%). The
"hortatory" language in the Senate Report on the "Future of NSF,"
will not be included in the Conference Report (WN 1 Oct 93).