“While earthquakes are inevitable, their consequences are not, and there is much that we can do as a Nation to improve public safety and our resilience to earthquakes and related hazards.” – David Applegate, Associate Director for Natural Hazards, U.S. Geological Survey
There were only a few lines of commendation in a four page "Statement of Administration Policy" issued by the Office of Management and Budget on the House FY 2008 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill. The Administration criticized both the provisions of this legislation and its price tag, and warned, "if H.R. 3093 were presented to the President, he would veto the bill."
The House of Representatives took parts of two days last week to consider the FY 2008 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill. Although numerous amendments were offered to the $53.8 billion bill, few changes were made to the bill's provisions pertaining to the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Attention now turns to the Senate floor, where consideration of this bill will await the Senate's return in September from its recess that starts on Friday.
The House Appropriations Committee has sent to the floor a bill that would increase the FY 2008 budget for the National Science Foundation by 10.0 percent or $591.8 million to $6,509.0 million.
The bill was written by the House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee. The subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV); the Ranking Member is Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ).
The Senate Appropriations Committee has sent to the floor an FY 2008 appropriations bill that would increase the National Science Foundation's budget by 10.8 percent. The full House Appropriations Committee is poised to pass its version of the same bill, which would increase the foundation's budget by 10.0 percent.
"There is a spectacular future awaiting the United States in plasma science and engineering. But the national framework for plasma science must grow and adapt to new opportunities. Only then will the tremendous potential be realized." So argues a new report just released by the National Academies Plasma 2010 Committee, whose principal conclusion calls for a unified approach to the conduct and support of federal plasma science research in the United States.
Concerns about duplication of effort have prompted the Bush Administration to press for a reduction of the National Science Foundation's Math and Science Partnership program because a program with the same name is administered by the Department of Education. During consideration of H.R. 1867, the National Science Foundation Authorization Act, Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI) offered an amendment expressing the Sense of the Congress on the two programs. Subcommittee on Research and Science Education Chairman Brian Baird (D-WA) commented that Ehlers was "absolutely right . . .
It was almost midnight when the House took its final vote last week on H.R. 1867, the National Science Foundation Authorization Act. The vote of 399-17 to pass the bill reflected the high esteem there is for NSF on Capitol Hill. Perhaps more telling were the five hours of debate on various amendments that would have reduced the authorized growth rate for the foundation's budget, and which would have prohibited the NSF from funding specific grants.
Today, the House Science and Technology Committee is scheduled to vote on a three-year reauthorization of the National Science Foundation. The bill (H.R. 1867), which was passed by the Research and Science Education Subcommittee on April 19, would authorize annual funding increases for NSF of more than 7 percent for the fiscal years 2008 through 2010. A bipartisan effort, the bill was sponsored by Subcommittee Chair Brian Baird (D-WA), full Committee Chair Bart Gordon (D-TN), and Reps.
The reauthorization of NSF was the topic of the first two hearings by the new Research and Science Education Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science and Technology. The issues identified as a priority by Chairman Brian Baird (D-WA) included NSF's role in science education; the balance of interdisciplinary and disciplinary research; ways to nurture young researchers; and how to get the most out of NSF's partnerships with industry. Testifying at the first hearing were NSF Director Arden Bement and National Science Board Chairman Steven Beering.