Friday, 10 June 94 Washington, DC
1. WHITE HOUSE MEMORANDUM LAYS OUT THE R&D PRIORITIES FOR FY 96.
Addressed to the heads of departments and agencies, and signed by
both John Gibbons, head of the Office of Science and Technology
Policy, and Leon E. Panetta, director of the Office of Management
and Budget, the 16-page memo was meant to provide guidance in the
preparation of FY 96 budget requests -- but it reveals much more:
behind it is the struggle with Senator Mikulski over who will set
(WN 17 Sep 93).
President Clinton is expected soon
to personally present his plan for federal support of science in
the post-Cold War era
(WN 4 Feb 94); reportedly, the White House
is simply waiting for a suitable occasion. It's not difficult to
deduce from the Gibbons-Panetta memorandum what will be in the
new plan. Even the dual authorship takes on significance in light
of the Boucher bill (WN 24 Dec 93),
which includes a provision to
elevate the OSTP director to the same level as the head of OMB.
2. THE GIBBONS-PANETTA MEMO INCLUDES BROAD R&D POLICY PRINCIPLES.
First among them is "emphasize peer review," followed by "invest
in human resources" and "invest in fundamental science." Other
principles include international cooperation on big projects.
Budgets are expected to adhere to these principles, and address
six goals: (1) better health, (2) more jobs, (3) world leadership
in science, math and engineering, (4) environmental improvement,
(5) expanded information technology and (6) national security.
3. HOUSE BILL: SPACE STATION IS FULLY FUNDED -- NSF TAKES A HIT!
The VA/HUD/IA Appropriations Subcommittee met late yesterday to
make its recommendation for FY 95. With an allocation $413M less
than the President's request, it was not expected to be pleasant.
The first action was to exclude the press from the room. Behind
closed doors, the subcommittee cut the 6% increase requested for
NSF in half; that saved $94M. To fund the space station, they
needed to find $400M in cuts without offending powerful groups
such as veterans. We don't have complete numbers yet, but they
took $130M from the Environmental Protection Agency, which never
produces much outcry, and $240M from other NASA accounts. The
$240M broke down as $113M from mission support and $127M from
human space flight. This afternoon, George Brown (D-CA), chair of
the House SS&T Committee, pronounced himself satisfied with the
bill (WN 20 May 94).
There is still a long way to go before we
have an appropriation, but since the Senate's problem is $316M
bigger (WN 3 Jun 94),
the NSF figure is probably at its maximum.
4. MARTIN-MARIETTA CEO IS SKEPTICAL OF U.S.-RUSSIAN PARTNERSHIP!
At a Tuesday Press Club lunch, Norman Augustine was asked about
contracting part of the station to Russia. First you contract
launches, he said, because they do it cheaper. Then construction,
because they do that cheaper too--and their scientists earn $30/
month. "Pretty soon we just mail them NASA stickers and a check."