Lamar Smith continues waging his three-year war on the National Science Foundation. If Congress has its way, the next round of grants by the National Science Foundation, a hallmark of government funding for graduate students and scientists, will no longer be based on scientific merit. Proposals would not be reviewed by panels of preeminent scholars across the United States as they have been for more than a half-century; instead, they would all be “in the national interest,” with strict new rules adopted earlier this month by a Republican House committee. Previously. This is not the first time Smith has tried to impose Congressional control on the NSF's budget.
NASA's 2015 budget request has been released (PDF, OMB Summary), with an interesting mission study : $15 million to look at a unmanned mission to Jupiter's moon Europa. Why Europa? It may have more water than Earth, sloshing around under a thick ice, which makes it a major contender for harboring life. Don't get too excited just yet though. The mission would't launch until around 2025 and would arrive in Jupiter's orbit in the early 2030s. That's a long way off, but a particular US Congressman really wants this mission to happen.
Happy Political Clusterf*ck Day (U.S.)! In one corner: the first federal government shutdown since 1996, born of the House GOP/Tea Party faction's crusade to delay, defund, and destroy Obamacare (and the Democratic Senate and President's resolve to not do that). "Continuing resolutions" have ping-ponged between the two houses, fighting over language to cancel healthcare reform (plus a few other items, such as the implementation of Mitt Romney's entire economic agenda). National parks are closed, contractors are hamstrung, and 800,000 federal workers furloughed until Speaker Boehner drops the "Hastert Rule" and passes a bill the other branches can agree to. In the other corner, heedless of the chaos (though not without glitches of its own): the official rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its state insurance exchanges. The portal at Healthcare.gov is your one-stop shop for browsing, comparing, and purchasing standardized, regulated insurance coverage with premium rebates, guaranteed coverage, and expanded Medicaid for the poor (in some states). A crazy day, overall -- but peanuts compared to what might happen if the debt ceiling is breached in 16 days. [more inside]
What is the cost of the war on Iraq? [more inside]
CNN reports that the House passed HR 4241 this morning by a narrow vote almost entirely along party lines. This is part of the Republican Party's Operation Offset (previously discussed here) designed to cut spending to counter the deficit, growing by leaps and bounds because of Iraq & Katrina (among other things). Now they'll have to work to reconcile it with the Senate version, SR 1932 (voting record here). You may want to Write your representative to let them know how you feel. You might also want to express your displeasure to the two Dems who didn't vote, considering the bill passed by a margin of 2. [Budget Filter]
"The United States Congress has stepped in to find nearly $300m in humanitarian and reconstruction funds for Afghanistan after the Bush administration failed to request any money in this latest budget."
So much for rebuilding Afghanistan.
So much for rebuilding Afghanistan.
The first cut is the deepest: Smithsonian to take massive money cuts Under the budget submitted to Congress this week, deep cuts to be made in Smithsonian programs and divisions, as well as personnel. It is, I believe, cuts, seldom making big media stories, that give us an idea of what is viewed as important by our political figures
Keep pushing for low power FM. Budget negotiations are on hold but Congress could come back and try to again kill low power FM. Voice your concern (if you are concerned) to your representatives.