Rep. Peter Torkildsen (R-Mass.) said Tuesday he is optimistic that the House Science Committee will restore the $31 million cut in nuclear physics research. The cut threatens the operation next year of the MIT Bates Linear Accelerator Center and accelerators at four other universities.
Rep. Torkildsen's office informed John C. Crowley, director of the MIT Washington Office, at noon that the Tuesday afternoon markup by the chairman of the House Science Committee, Rep. Robert Walker (R-PA), would propose authorizing funding of nuclear physics by the Department of Energy (DOE) at the $321 million level recommended by the Clinton Administration for fiscal year 1996. The Bates center in Middleton is budgeted to receive $18.6 million. The House Science Subcommittee on Energy and Environment on June 8 had voted only $290 million and had specified closing down the accelerators at MIT, Yale, Duke/University of North Carolina, University of Washington, and Texas A&M.
Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee yesterday was marking up its subcommittee bill on nuclear physics. Its subcommittee last week reportedly recommended $304.5 million-a cut of $16.5 million or five percent. The subcommittee reportedly said the DOE should determine where to cut. As Tech Talk went to press, it was not known what the full Appropriations Committee would do.
The budgetary suspense is expected to last until the beginning of October of federal fiscal year 1996 as the budget goes through the process-the House authorizing subcommittees and committees, the House appropriations subcommittees and committee, a vote by the House; a similar process in the Senate; a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate; and approval or veto by the President, possibly followed by attempts to override a veto.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 21, 1995.