Highlights on the Hill for this Week
March 13, 1997
- Norm Augustine to testify Wednesday on future of South Pole Station.
- Outside Witnesses to testify Thursday on NSF Education Programs.
- NSF Assistant Director for Biological Science to testify Thursday before Senate Agriculture Committee.
- Senate Labor Committee scheduled to consider nominees to National Science Board.
Work on a FY 1998 budget agreement continues slowly. House Majority Leader Richard Armey (R-TX) on Tuesday said that Republicans hope to take identical budget resolutions to the House and Senate floors during the first two weeks of May - while negotiations with the administration continue in the hopes of avoiding the conflict that marked previous budget negotiations. Some House GOP members have voiced frustration at the lack of a Republican alternative to the President's Budget.
In the Senate, Budget Chairman Domenici (R-NM) indicated Tuesday that his committee would begin preliminary work on a budget plan this week. Senator Domenici also praised the balanced budget plan presented by a group of conservative democrats known as the "Blue Dogs". The Blue Dog budget is widely viewed as a middle ground between proposals offered by the President and Republicans. Elements of the Blue Dog proposal include: a delay in any tax cuts until budget balance is achieved, fixed dollar increases for cost of living adjustments (COLAs), rather than percentage increases; and a reduction of 0.8 percent in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Senator Ford to Retire
Senator Wendell Ford (D-KY) announced his retirement on Monday. Ford becomes the third senator to announce his retirement this year, joining Sens. Dan Coats, (R-IN), and John Glenn, (D-OH). First elected in 1974, Senator Ford rose to become a key figure in the Senate Democratic Leadership becoming the Chief Democratic Whip, the number two position in the leadership. Speculation in the news media about Ford's likely successor focused on Senator John Breaux (D-LA), Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-SD) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).