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Steve Nahn | USLHC | USA

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Here we go again: Congress guts science

Science is going under the knife again in Congress.

I echo Peter’s outrage, although I am starting to get jaded. Science loses again? But it isn’t over – you too can contact your senators and representatives and tell them what you think. If that doesn’t work, let the Obama administration know that this is not indicative of “putting science in its rightful place”. From the white house agenda on technology:

  • Invest in the Sciences: Double federal funding for basic research over ten years, changing the posture of our federal government to one that embraces science and technology.
  • Invest in University-Based Research: Expand research initiatives at American colleges and universities. Provide new research grants to the most outstanding early-career researchers in the country.

Doesn’t look like that right now. Maybe he would veto the bill although that is tough given the Economic situation. But at least if you want to see the US participate in the LHC and other endeavors to expand the frontiers of human knowledge, let the people who represent you know how you feel.

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6 Responses to “Here we go again: Congress guts science”

  1. Harbles says:

    May not be the end of the world as Phil at Bad Astronomy reports.
    Plus won’t there be a regular budget at some time that can address the President’s stated desire to restore science?

  2. ExpHEP says:

    Details of the House and Senate bills can be found on Senator Nelson’s website:
    http://bennelson.senate.gov/documents/Nelson-Collins%20Stimulus%20Final.xls

  3. Steve says:

    Perhaps I should back off the “science” bit, since everyone has their favorite science, but for basic research in High Energy (and Heavy Ion) physics, it is DoE Office of Science and NSF, and what I learn from here is
    Doe Office of Science got cut by 83.5% between House and Senate versions. Actually, the House proposal got cut out completely, and then senate added something for “Lab construction” although I’m not sure which lab that is.
    NSF took a 60% cut between the two proposals.

    So not so good for HEP. As far as the regular budget cycle goes – yes, one could wait for that, but, well, we’ve been there before with the Omnibus bill, plus a effective continuing resolution for HEP this year may produce the same situation which gave us Fermilab furloughs, potential layoffs (before the golden parachute), and little money to support all these students who are so raring to go because of the LHC. So, again, what looked like a very positive statement about the value of science to the nation again becomes a missed opportunity. That’s my $0.02

  4. Harbles says:

    Just to up date for posterity most of the science funding got put back in the bill during the conference process.

    From Science

    The National Institutes of Health will receive $8.5 billion, along with $1.5 billion for NIH to renovate university research facilities. The large numbers reflect an amendment to the Senate version of the bill successfully added by Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who was one of three key Republican senators whose support for the stimulus package allowed it to pass the Senate.
    The Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which supports U.S. physical science, will receive $1.6 billion.
    $400 million will be provided to fund a new mini agency within DOE called the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy. President Barack Obama’s energy secretary, Steve Chu, is a fan. Now Congress has bestowed their blessings—and big money—on his dream energy program.
    NASA will get $1 billion including $400 million for climate change research.
    The National Institute of Standards and Technology will receive $580 million.
    The National Science Foundation would receive the full $3 billion increase that the House had passed last month. That’s a 50% boost to its $6 billion budget. The breakdown of that number is not clear, but the House version contained $2 billion more for research grants; $900 million for three infrastructure programs, including a revived $200 million extramural facilities competition; and $100 million for two education programs.

    So Good news No?

  5. Steve says:

    Hi Harbles-
    You are correct but I don’t want to jinx the whole deal as the bill is not yet signed. Even scientists can be superstitious, plus, you know what day it is, right? I’ll rejoice when Obama’s ink is dry.

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