Friday, 17 Nov 95 Washington, DC
1. HOUSE-SENATE CONFEREES AGREE ON VA-HUD-IA APPROPRIATIONS BILL.
The agreement was reached last night and prompt approval by both houses is expected. Then President Clinton is likely to use his veto pen again. The conferees split the difference between the two versions on Research and Related Activities at NSF. The final figure is $2.27B, which is just slightly above FY 95. Although some of the funds cut earlier from EPA were added back in, and 17 riders restricting enforcement of environmental regulations were dropped, EPA is still down 14% from FY 95. The space station was, of course, fully funded. Meanwhile, the Defense Appropriations bill got final approval and goes to the President for his veto.
The defense bill calls for another Seawolf submarine, expansion of the stealth bomber fleet, and $3.4B for missile defense. The
President wants less in the defense bill and more in VA/HUD/IA.
2. SCIENCE COMMITTEE CHAIR RESPONDS TO WHITE HOUSE R&D REPORT.
The Council of Economic Advisors figured the rate of return on federal R&D investment at 50% and claimed Republican efforts to balance the budget would slash civilian R&D spending by 30%. Robert Walker (R-PA) accused the CEA of "phony analysis." The
Republican budget, according to Walker, cuts technology programs but increases spending on basic research. The priorities in the budget are to "get back to doing good basic science and get rid of the phony science done in the name of corporate welfare." To stimulate U.S. technology, he proposes regulatory and tax reform.
3. SECRETARY O'LEARY KEEPS HER JOB, BUT CRITICISM STILL MOUNTS.
She was rebuked by President Clinton after it was revealed that
DOE had hired a private firm to rate journalists' coverage of the
Energy Department (WN 10 Nov 95). Now, DOE admits hiring a $277-a-day media consultant to make O'Leary a "household name."
4. NUCLEAR RETALIATION: BEAUJOLAIS BOYCOTT BOLSTERS BEER BUYERS.
The initial reports on 1995 Beaujolais Nouveau are ecstatic, but
H.R.2529, introduced by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), would impose a prohibitive tariff on imports of the fruity red wine. The 800% increase in duty would apply until President Clinton certifies to
Congress that the government of France has terminated its nuclear test program and begun dismantling its nuclear test facilities in the South Pacific. An international Beaujolais boycott to protest the tests has calmed the annual madness that greets the new crop, but importers say U.S. sales are about normal. That could mean protestors here haven't quite gotten the hang of how a boycott works. In a demonstration in Washington yesterday, protesters dumped Beaujolais Nouveau on the sidewalk. The French producers don't care where the wine is poured. Concern that reduced red wine consumption could increase heart disease were eased by a new
Harvard study that found it's only the alcohol that's important. Beer, it seems, works just as well. Science comes through again.
THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY (Note: Opinions are the author's and are not necessarily shared by the APS, but they should be.)