Friday, 4 Nov 94 Washington, DC
1. PORK POLITICS: THE GAME IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK IS "WHAT IF?"
In spite of a late surge in the polls, most analysts expect the
Democrats to give up control of the Senate and maybe the House as
well. What would that mean for science? Oregon would get more
academic pork than West Virginia for one thing; Mark Hatfield of
Oregon is the ranking Republican on Senate Appropriations. If
anyone can outdo Robert Byrd in pork lust it's Hatfield
(WN 12 Aug 94). Ted Stevens (R-AK),
who once earmarked millions for a
project to tap energy from the Aurora Borealis, would be in line
to chair the Defense Subcommittee. The ranking Republican on the
VA/HUD/IA Subcommittee is Phil Gramm of Texas, but Gramm will be
busy running for President. The next in line is Alfonse D'Amato.
In the House, the ranking Republican on Appropriations is Joseph
McDade of Pennsylvania, who is famous for earmarking millions of
defense dollars for the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Whoever is out next session, academic pork will still be in.
2. HOW DO WE PAY FOR THE "CONTRACT WITH AMERICA"? YOU GUESSED IT!
The Republican "contract" to fight crime and cut taxes will need
a few spending cuts. The Republican staff of the House Budget
Committee made a little list, including: reduce NSF by 1% a year;
cap university overhead rates at 46%; cut energy research, high-
performance computing, and agricultural research; eliminate the
Advanced Technology Program; and abolish the Geological Survey.
3. ADVANCED NEUTRON SOURCE BACKS AWAY FROM BOMB-GRADE URANIUM.
Aside from its cost, the biggest rap against the ANS has been a
design that relies on highly-enriched uranium. The US has been
urging its allies to stop using HEU in research reactors because
of proliferation concerns, and the State Department is not about
to agree to using it here. DOE's Basic Energy Sciences Advisory
Committee calls for switching to 50% U-235, well below the 93%
enrichment used in weapons, but still higher than the 20% typical
of power reactors. Even with an additional fuel element, the
performance would be about 20% below the original design. It
would, however, still meet the performance criteria set by the
user community: five times the flux of the Grenoble source. The
State Department is reportedly ready to accept the compromise,
but Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary has yet to make a decision.
4. JUST WHAT THE CIA NEEDS: DOE'S OPENNESS INITIATIVE AND TQM.
The Administration has been trying to figure out what to do with
Hazel O'Leary. First it was rumored that she would become the
Ambassador to South Africa. Now she is mentioned as a possible
replacement for James Woolsey, who flunked his house-cleaning
exam. Presumably, she would introduce "customer-oriented" man-
agement to the agency. It should be noted, however, that Aldrich
Ames introduced an openness initiative at CIA years ago. Deputy
Secretary of Defense John Deutch is mentioned as her replacement.