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NSF Congressional Highlight
Highlights on the Hill

May 15, 1997

  • Budget Agreement Remains Stalled as Congressional Leaders Continue to Negotiate details
  • Supplemental Spending Bill to be Considered -- Initial Rule on the Bill is Defeated details
  • NSF to Participate in Hearing on the Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Program details
  • Science Committee Chair Sensenbrenner Gives Hope to U.S. Participation in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) details

MARK-UP OF CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET RESOLUTIONS DELAYED

This week the House and Senate Budget Committees had hoped to mark-up versions of the Budget Agreement hammered out between congressional leaders and the White House. However, last minute snags have delayed markups as budget negotiators seek to find agreement on the final details of budget plan that would balance the budget by the year 2002. Currently, the impact this budget agreement will have on NSF and other federal science programs is unclear and will not be known fully until after the resolutions are announced, both parties have stated that the science is a priority in the agreement.

SUPPLEMENTAL SPENDING BILL TO BE CONSIDERED ON HOUSE FLOOR -- RULE IS DEFEATED

The House is expected to revisit consideration of the emergency supplemental spending legislation after eleven House Republicans joined with Democrats to defeat the rule bringing the bill, H.R. 1469, to the floor. The bill now returns to the Rules Committee where the GOP leadership must work with several members dissatisfied over the types of amendments that would be allowed on the bill.

NSF TO PARTICIPATE IN HEARING ON STTR BEFORE HOUSE SMALL BUSINESS SUBCOMMITTEE

NSF will participate in a hearing on May 22 on the reauthorization of the STTR program. The hearing will be held by the subcommittee on Government Programs and Oversight of the House Small Business Committee. Witnesses will include representatives of the small business community, government agencies participating in STTR - including NSF, SBA and DoD - and the General Accounting Office. STTR was originally authorized as a pilot program in 1992 for three years (with a one year extension in 1996) and Congress is seeking to consider a multi-year reauthorization of the program.

SENSENBRENNER MAY SUPPORT U.S. LHC FUNDING AFTER RECEIVING ASSURANCES FROM ENERGY DEPT.

At a May 15 hearing of the House Science Committee on the Department of Energy, Committee Chairman Sensenbrenner told DoE Secretary Frederico Pena that the Science Committee would revisit its previous opposition to LHC funding.

Sensenbrenner noted in a statement that he was pleased with DoE's willingness to address his concerns about U.S. participation in LHC construction at CERN. "The Committee staff have been working closely to develop acceptable changes to the February agreement. I am hopeful that we can come to closure on this issue very soon," Chairman Sensenbrenner said.

Sensenbrenner stated several reasons for his uneasiness about the draft U.S.-CERN agreement, including the lack of a formal management role for the U.S. despite the substantial financial contribution, the reduction of contributions from other CERN members, the impact of LHC cost overruns on the U.S.'s planned experimental program at the facility, and the refusal of CERN to commit to an "Open Access" policy for U.S. scientists.

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