H.R. 2405: Department of Energy Provisions

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Publication date: 
5 October 1995
Number: 
138

Next week the House of Representatives will consider H.R. 2405, the
Omnibus Civilian Science Authorization Act of 1995. Title III of
this bill, known as the "Department of Energy Civilian Research and
Development Act of 1995" provides a number of important indicators
of the direction and level of DOE's future science and technology
programs.  Passage of this bill is not assured, and it only
permits, but does not provide, actual program funding.  It will,
however, if passed by the House, represent a clear picture of the
attitudes of the House of Representatives toward important physics
programs.  Congress is nearing completion of the Energy and Water
Development Appropriations Bill for FY 1996, which provides the
actual money (see FYIs #110, 111, and 112.)

FUNDING:

This legislation only covers FY 1996.  Under the category of Energy
Supply Research and Development Activities, $254.1 million is
authorized for the Fusion Energy program.  Of that, $245.1 million
is for Magnetic Fusion Energy, with $4.8 million for Inertial
Fusion Energy.  The Administration's FY 1996 request for Fusion
Energy was $366.1 million.  The House and Senate versions of the
appropriations bill provide $229.1 million and $225.1 million
(actual funding will be in this range.)

Under the category of General Science and Research Activities,
$680.1 million is authorized for High Energy Physics programs in FY
1996.  The Administration requested $685.6 million.  The House and
Senate versions of the appropriations bill provide $677.0 million
and $657.0 million.

Under this same category, $316.9 million is authorized for Nuclear
Physics Programs in FY 1996.  The Administration requested $321.1
million.  The House and Senate versions of the appropriations bill
each provide $304.5 million.

The total of the authorization levels for Fusion Energy, High
Energy Physics and Nuclear Physics is $1,251.1 million.  Of this
total, the breakdown of the individual program authorization levels
is as follows: High Energy Physics - 54.4%; Nuclear Physics -
25.3%, and Fusion Energy - 20.3%. 

Another category under Energy Supply Research and Development
Activities is Basic Energy Sciences, which provides some money for
physics research.  $828.0 million is authorized for FY 1996; the
Administration requested $811.4 million.  The House and Senate
versions of the appropriations bill each provide $791.7 million.
H.R. 2405 does not provide budget numbers for specific kinds of BES
research.

FUNDING LIMITATIONS:

Section 304 of this bill states "none of the funds...may be used
for the following programs, projects and activities:".  Included in
this 42 item list are the Tokamak Physics Experiment, the Advanced
Neutron Source (for which the Administration has not requested
money), University and Science Education, and a number of solar,
Russian, fossil fuel, and other technology programs.

HIGH ENERGY AND NUCLEAR PHYSICS PROGRAM DIRECTION:

LARGE HADRON COLLIDER PROJECT:  Section 309 of the bill instructs
the Secretary of Energy to "enter into negotiations with CERN
concerning United States participation in the planning and
construction of the Large Hadron Collider project...."  Eight
provisions are listed "to protect the United States investment in
the project."

REPORT TO CONGRESS: Section 309 also requires the Secretary to
prepare a report for Congress "in consultation with the Director of
the National Science Foundation and with the high energy and
nuclear physics communities" which will be "a strategic plan for
the high energy and nuclear physics activities of the Department."
This report is due before January 1, 1996 (assuming the bill is
passed.)

It is important to note that in describing this strategic plan, the
bill states: "assuming a combined budget of $950,000,000 for all
activities authorized under... [this bill] for fiscal year 1997,
and assuming a combined budget of $900,000,000 for all activities
authorized under... [this bill] for each of the fiscal years 1998,
1999, and 2000."

In looking ahead to future year authorization levels for High
Energy Physics and Nuclear Physics, the House Science Committee
cites the following levels:

FY 1996 Authorization:  $997 million  (The Administration requested
$1,006.7 million.)
FY 1997 Authorization:  $950 million (a decline of 4.7%, not     
adjusted for inflation)
FY 1998 Authorization:  $900 million (a decline of 5.3% from FY  
1997 or 9.7% from FY 1996)
FY 1999 Authorization:  $900 million
FY 2000 Authorization:  $900 million

These levels are for report planning purposes only.  They are not
set as authorization  levels, and are not the actual amount of
money that will be provided in the appropriations bills, which
could vary greatly (up or down).  They do give an indication,
however, of Science Committee thinking.

EARMARKING:  H.R. 2405 instructs the Secretary to "exclude from
consideration for awards of financial assistance...after fiscal
year 1995 any person who received funds...from any Federal funding
source for a project that was not subjected to a competitive,
merit-based award process" for five years after the award was made.

A FINAL REMINDER:  Please reread the first paragraph of this FYI
regarding the relationship of authorization bills to actual
funding, as well as the outlook for this bill.  In a sense, H.R.
2405 can be viewed at this point in time as being "for illustration
purposes only," but in this era of funding constraints, the
illustration is a very important one.  If this bill is ever signed
into law, it would have very important ramifications for physics
research programs supported by the Department of Energy.

Explore FYI topics: