House Appropriators Recommend 1.8% Increase for DOE Office of Science

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Publication date: 
20 May 2005

The House Appropriations Committee has sent to the House floor its version of the FY 2006 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. H.R. 2419 provides an increase of 1.8% or $66.2 million for the Office of Science. Under this legislation, the Office of Science budget would increase from $3,599.9 million this year to $3,666.1 million in FY 2006.

For perspective on the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee bill, note that the Bush Administration requested a cut of 3.8% in the FY 2006 Office of Science budget to $3,462.7 million. The subcommittee's bill is $203.4 million above the Administration's request. The subcommittee is chaired by David Hobson (R-OH); the Ranking Member is Peter Visclosky (D-IN).

House Report 109-086 provides the subcommittee's funding recommendations for various physics-related programs of the Office of Science. Selections from the report follow; the entire report may be viewed at

The Senate has not yet drafted its bill. The final bill will be written this fall.


"The Department of Energy is the largest financial supporter of research in the physical sciences. The essential role of DOE is often neglected in discussions of government science, yet DOE funding and facilities have supported major discoveries, including many that have resulted in Nobel prizes. Its initial work with nuclear reactors and particle accelerators has led DOE to support a wide range of government, academic, and industrial research by providing light sources and neutron sources for use in studying the structure of materials and processes at the atomic and subatomic scale. Researchers from diverse fields and backgrounds rely increasingly on the advanced capabilities provided by the DOE user facilities. Existing and planned new facilities will offer researchers the revolutionary ability to observe chemical reactions as they happen, including those that take place within living cells.

"While DOE Science laboratories and researchers possess many multidisciplinary research capabilities, the unique niche that DOE fills is in the area of large research instruments (‘big iron') such as accelerators, colliders, and most recently the Spallation Neutron Source. These projects are of such a scale, complexity, and cost that they exceed the capabilities of universities, private companies, and even other government agencies. The DOE Office of Science takes on these challenging, high-risk research projects, and while it does not always achieve its schedule and budget targets, this experience in managing high-risk science projects has helped shape its science activities. In many ways, the work of the DOE Office of Science complements the funding strengths of the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health with their focus on providing grants to individual researchers and research teams. While DOE also makes grants and has committed to increasing use of agency-wide research announcements inviting open competition among universities, government labs, industry and others, often DOE is the provider of state-of-the art user facilities--both research machines and computers--that are used by NSF and NIH grantees. The health and success of science programs at DOE is critical to the overall health of research and development in the United States. National security, both from an economic and a defense perspective, rests on a foundation grounded in the physical sciences, and depends on DOE's continued leadership in these fields.

"The Committee was disappointed in the Department's budget request for the Office of Science in fiscal year 2006. The Committee recommendation is $3,666,055,000, an increase of $203,337,000 compared to the budget request and $66,184,000 over the fiscal year 2005 enacted level. The Committee has provided additional funding for the Office of Science to address the following Committee priorities: high performance computing; additional operating time at Office of Science user facilities; and redirection of fusion funding to restore domestic fusion research that was displaced by the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)."

HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS: Down 0.1% or $0.5 million from this year's budget of $736.4 million.

"The Committee recommends a total of $735,933,000 for high energy physics, an increase of $22,000,000 over the budget request. With the proposed transfer of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) to the Basic Energy Sciences account, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will become the only remaining high energy physics national laboratory in the country. High energy physics is the cornerstone of our understanding of the physical universe, and the Department of Energy maintains unique capabilities that cannot be duplicated in the academic or private sector, or by any other federal agency. The Committee provides an additional $22,000,000 to maintain high energy physics at the fiscal year 2005 enacted level. Of the additional funds, $11,000,000 is provided for research on the next-generation international linear collider and $11,000,000 is provided for upgrades to the neutrino research program. The Committee supports the Department's decision to maximize the operating time of its high energy physics user facilities during fiscal year 2006. The control level is at the High Energy Physics level."

NUCLEAR PHYSICS: Up 0.9% or $3.5 million from this year's budget of $404.8 million.

"The Committee recommendation for nuclear physics is $408,341,000, an increase of $37,600,000 over the budget request. An additional $6,000,000 is provided to initiate a competitive down-select process for design and operations concepts for the Rare Isotope Accelerator, and an additional $31,600,000 is provided to restore operating time of the user facilities in the Nuclear Physics program (i.e., RHIC, TJNAF, HRIBF, and ATLAS) to fiscal year 2005 levels."

BASIC ENERGY SCIENCES: Up 6.2% or $68.6 million from this year's budget of $1,104.6 million.

"The Committee recommendation for Basic Energy Sciences is $1,173,149,000, an increase of $27,132,000 over the budget request. For purposes of reprogramming during fiscal year 2006, the Department may allocate funding among all operating accounts within Basic Energy Sciences, consistent with the reprogramming guidelines outlined earlier in this report.

"Research.--The Committee recommendation includes $772,025,000 for materials sciences and engineering, and $223,051,000 for chemical sciences, geosciences, and energy biosciences. An additional $19,737,000 is provided to maintain operating time on the Basic Energy Sciences user facilities at fiscal year 2005 levels, and an additional $7,395,000 is provided to restore university grants for core research in the basic energy sciences. The Committee recommendation funds nanoscale science research and the science research portion of the hydrogen initiative at the requested levels. Also included within this account is $7,280,000 for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the same as the budget request.

"Construction.--The Committee recommendation includes $178,073,000 for Basic Energy Sciences construction projects, the same as the requested amount. The Committee recommendation provides the requested funding of: $41,744,000 for the Spallation Neutron Source (99-E-334) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory; $2,544,000 for Title I and Title II design work (03-SC-002) and $83,000,000 to initiate construction (05-R-320) for the Linac Coherent Light Source at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center; $36,553,000 for the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (05-R-321) at Brookhaven National Laboratory; $9,606,000 for the Molecular Foundry (04-R-313) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and $4,626,000 for the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (03-R-313) at Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories."

FUSION ENERGY SCIENCES: Up 8.1% or $22.3 million from this year's budget of $273.9 million.

"The Committee recommendation for fusion energy sciences is $296,155,000, an increase of $5,605,000 over the budget request but with a significant redirection of funds as outlined below. The Committee is concerned that two-thirds of the proposed increase for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) would be achieved by reducing domestic fusion research and operating time on domestic user facilities. Under the proposed fiscal year 2006 budget, operating time at the three major fusion research facilities (DIII-D, Alcator C-Mod, and NSTX) would be reduced from 48 weeks in fiscal year 2005 to a total of only 17 weeks in fiscal year 2006. If the United States expects to be a serious contributor to international fusion research in general and to ITER in particular, the Nation needs to maintain strong domestic research programs and user facilities to train the next generation of fusion scientists and engineers. The Department's proposal to increase support for ITER at the expense of domestic fusion research is unwise and unacceptable. Such an approach is not only short-sighted, but inconsistent with prior Congressional guidance. Therefore, the Committee directs the Department to utilize $29,900,000 of funding proposed for ITER and the additional $5,605,000 to restore U.S.-based fusion funding to fiscal year 2005 levels as follows: $7,300,000 for high performance materials for fusion; $14,305,000 to restore operation of the three major user facilities to fiscal year 2005 operating levels; $7,200,000 for intense heavy ion beams and fast ignition studies; $5,100,000 for compact stellarators and small-scale experiments; and $1,600,000 for theory. As in previous years, the Committee directs the Department to fund the U.S. share of ITER through additional resources rather than through reductions to domestic fusion research or to other Office of Science programs. If the Department does not follow this guidance in its fiscal year 2007 budget submission, the Committee is prepared to eliminate all U.S. funding for the ITER project in the future."

BIOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH: Down 9.7% or $56.2 million from this year's budget of $581.9 million.

"The Committee recommendation for biological and environmental research (BER) is $525,688,000, an increase of $70,000,000 over the budget request. The Committee approves the Department's decision to maintain the operation of BER user facilities at fiscal year 2005 levels. Within available funds, the Department shall continue to fund the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory until the expiration of the current contract. The Committee recommendation provides an additional $70,000,000, with $35,000,000 for Congressionally-directed university and hospital earmarks and $35,000,000 for Medical Applications and Measurement Science. Congressionally-directed projects are shown in the table below." [This table was not provided in the electronic version of the report.]

ADVANCED SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING RESEARCH: Up 5.9% or $13.6 million from this year's budget of $232.5 million.

"The Committee recommendation is $246,055,000, an increase of $39,000,000 over the budget request. The additional $39,000,000 is provided to support the Office of Science initiative to develop the hardware, software, and applied mathematics necessary for a leadership-class supercomputer to meet scientific computation needs; not more than $25,000,000 of this increase should be dedicated to hardware, and $9,000,000 of the total increase should be dedicated to competitive university research grants. The Committee is disappointed that the Department's fiscal year 2006 budget request did not preserve the increases that Congress provided for this purpose during the past two fiscal years. Consistent with guidance provided in prior years, the Committee has chosen not to earmark these additional funds for a particular laboratory or a particular technology. However, the Committee expects the Department to make full use of the laboratory-industry capabilities that have already been selected competitively in previous years and not ‘reinvent the wheel' each fiscal year."

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