The Year in Review

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Publication date: 
26 December 2006

The following are selected policy and budget developments as reported in FYI. The month refers to the issue date; the (number) to the particular issue which may be read at

JANUARY: NSF seeks public input on its new strategic plan.(4) Brookhaven National Laboratory announces $13-million private contribution to operate RHIC.(6) Report calls for more research on possible harmful effects of nanotechnology.(7) New York Times reports on efforts to control public statements by leading NASA climate change researcher.(15) President Bush announces American Competitiveness Initiative which would double federal support for some physical science basic research over the next ten years.(17)

FEBRUARY: Bush Administration requests historic budget increases for DOE Office of Science, NSF, and NIST research programs.(17) House Science Committee hearing reveals strong support for American Competitiveness Initiative, and concern about requested proposed cuts in other FY 2007 S&T budgets. (29)

MARCH: House Science Committee members express profound concern about NASA’s FY 2007 science budget request.(34) House Science Committee leadership satisfied with new NASA policy regarding scientific openness.(36) Republicans and Democrats on Science Committee react differently to Administration’s FY 2007 civilian S&T budget request.(38) Senate budget resolution recommends full funding of Administration’s request for NSF and DOE Office of Science, and math and science education initiatives.(40) OSTP Director John Marburger tells President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology that the American Competitiveness Initiative is a new rationale for physical sciences’ funding in post-Cold War America.(43)

APRIL: House and Senate appropriators react favorably to FY 2007 DOE Office of Science request.(44) OSTP Director Marburger has a very positive hearing with House appropriators on FY 2007 S&T request.(45) House appropriators express concern about NASA science budget request.(47) Science Committee leadership expresses different opinions regarding establishment of an ARPA-Energy at DOE; Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) express skepticism while Ranking Minority Member Bart Gordon (D-TN) is supportive.(49) Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on FY 2007 NASA request spotlights wide disparity between budget request and the agency’s programs.(52)

MAY: Senate hearing reveals considerable enthusiasm for NSF, but misgivings about some of the social, behavioral, and economic research it supports.(57) One hundred and sixty-four representatives write to House appropriators in support of FY 2007 NSF request.(58) NRC issues report that is critical of NASA’s plan for space science program.(60) House appropriators recommend 2.1 percent budget increase for USGS.(61) House appropriators recommend 14.1% budget increase for DOE Office of Science.(62) Science Committee Democratic leaders call for higher NASA funding in FY 2007. (63) An NRC committee issues a report on the future of elementary particle physics research.(64) Members of the House Science Committee introduce three competitiveness bills.(65) National Science Board and Members of Congress comment on scientific information policies.(66) House Government Reform Committee hearing highlights further improvements needed in visa processing.(67) House passes legislation encouraging hydrogen fuel research.(69) United States initials ITER fusion research agreement.(71) Commerce Department announces formation of deemed export control federal advisory committee.(73) Results of student performance assessment released.(74)

JUNE: Commerce Department withdraws proposed deemed export control regulations.(76) House debates a sense of Congress resolution on global warming, which was ultimately removed on the grounds that it violated House procedure.(78) The House votes to provide full 18.3 percent budget increase for NIST research program and the termination of ATP funding.(81) The House votes to reduce FY 2007 NIBIB funding by the requested 0.7%.(82) House appropriations bill drafted that rejects Administration request to cut DOD S&T program funding, increasing the recommended FY 2007 level by 0.5 percent.(83) House appropriators agree to fully fund the Administration’s FY 2007 request for a 7.9 percent increase for NSF.(84) The House votes to increase FY 2007 NASA funding.(86) NSF seeks comments on draft strategic plan.(87)

JULY: Senate appropriators approve 16.6 percent budget increase in the FY 2007 DOE Office of Science budget.(88) Congressional appropriators complete differing versions of FY 2007 USGS funding bill, recommending almost flat funding.(91) Senate appropriators approve 7.4 percent increase in FY 2007 NSF budget.(92) Senate Appropriations Committee recommends 3.1% budget increase for NASA in FY 2007.(93) Senate appropriators agree to full NIST research request and the termination of ATP.(94) TheBush Administration reaffirms ACI ten-year doubling objective in an FY 2008 budget guidance memo.(95) Senate appropriators recommend 9.5 percent cut in defense S&T program.(96) The House votes against two attempts to shift FY 2007 NASA funding from the manned Mars mission program and from the Science account.(98)

AUGUST: The GAO identifies management shortcomings in James Webb Space Telescope Program.(102) An NRC committee releases report recommending how the federal government should support atomic, molecular, and optical science research.(105) House Science Committee holds a hearing on S&T analysis for Congress.(106) Science Committee sends a bill to the full House authorizing components of the Administration’s Advanced Energy Initiative, giving qualified support for nuclear fuel reprocessing plan.(107, 108)

SEPTEMBER: Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) readies bills to clear the way for the opening of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.(110) A Senate committee holds hearing on hydrogen and fuel cell R&D, with a senior Administration official saying that more time, and not necessarily more money, is needed to advance the technology.(112) An NRC committee releases an interim report on condensed-matter and materials physics research, and seeks public comment.(113) Congress runs out of time for passing all of the FY 2007 appropriations bills, and passes the first of several stopgap funding bills.(116)

OCTOBER: The FY 2007 Defense appropriations bill is signed into law with 5.6 percent budget increase for basic research.(117) The National Academies release a report on women in S&T academe.(118) House Science Committee members find Administration climate change technology strategic plan wanting.(123) A House Science Committee hearing reveals differences of opinion about the development of a space shuttle replacement.(124) Thirty-nine senators sponsor an extensive bill that would authorize major changes in federal R&D support and science education.(125)

NOVEMBER: NOAA authorization bill passes the House.(129) Agreement signed for the ITER fusion test reactor to be built in France. (134) The Task Force on the Future of American Innovation releases a new S&T benchmark report.(135)

DECEMBER: Three incoming chairs of key Senate committees send a letter to President Bush asking his commitment to pass meaningful climate change legislation.(139) Science Committee Chairman Boehlert urges Bush Administration to fully fund second year of American Competitiveness Initiative.(140) Congress gives up on passing remaining FY 2007 appropriations bills, pushing the outcome into 2007.(141)