Friday, 29 Oct 1993 Washington, DC
1. WHY DOES "ACADEMIC PORK" SEEM TO BE LESS APPETIZING THIS YEAR?
Earmarking funds for academic research facilities and projects is
the modern way for members of appropriations committees to flex
their muscles in front of the folks back home. For universities,
it can mean big bucks without all the hassle of proposal writing;
all they need is a Representative or Senator on an appropriations
committee. A total of over $700M was earmarked for academic programs
last year alone, and even after George Brown (D-CA) led a
successful fight to strip earmarks from Energy and Water, they
miraculously reappeared in Defense
(WN 10-8-93). Brown has since
gotten a rule change making this sort of end run more difficult.
But the Defense Conference isn't finished--and appropriators are
very resourceful. So far, however, academic earmarks are down by
78% in the Energy and Water Report, 87% the in HUD/VA/IA Report!
2. ALAS, AT LEAST ONE SENATOR HAS NEVER LOST HIS TASTE FOR PORK!
One of the remaining earmarks in the DOE budget is $4.6M for the
Oregon Health Sciences University--which works out to $3,345.45
per student! And this was an off year! Over the last 10 years,
OHSU has been forced to find ways to spend $90M in earmarks; that
ranks it right up there with the University of Alaska and Iowa
State. The OHSU earmark was slipped into the conference report
by Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR), the ranking minority member on
Appropriations. Last year, the Senate Ethics Committee rebuked
Hatfield for failing to disclose gifts from the University of
South Carolina at a time when the University was seeking a $16M
earmark for an engineering center. The University got the money;
Hatfield's son got a full scholarship. This year, the Medical
University of South Carolina got an earmark for $5.8M, courtesy
of Senator Hollings (D-SC), who is also on Appropriations. The
softest earmark simply urges the Midwest Superconductivity
Consortium to include the University of Nebraska. I bet they will.
3. DESPITE A STRONG DISTASTE FOR PORK, MINNESOTA GOES AFTER MORE!
The University of Minnesota made off with $10M for a biomedical
research building in 1991, but a University official expressed a
strong aversion to earmarks and told the Minneapolis Star Tribune
that the University has no strategy for seeking them. Even as he
spoke, however, a memo was going to department heads asking them
to get their earmark requests in by 1 Nov so the University's
"federal lobbyist" could seek to have them inserted in the FY 95
Defense Appropriations Report, courtesy of Rep. Martin O. Sabo
(D-MN). Sabo sits on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
4. THE REVISED CONFERENCE REPORT ON THE SSC CLEARED BOTH CHAMBERS
and is on the President's desk. Rep. Boehlert (R-NY), arch SSC
foe, wanted assurances that the stake had gone through the heart.
Rep. Tom Bevill (D-AL), manager of the bill, confirmed that the
site could not be "kept warm or mothballed." Roy Schwitters asked
today that he be replaced as director of the SSC Laboratory.