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Monday, April 14, 2008

Budget news!

Contributed by anonymous:

Scooby, you may want to create a separate post for the budget info below. As an eternal optimist, I see the possibility of Miller pleading our case and bringing back $$$ to avoid further destruction of a 'significant treasure'.

Keep up the great work of running this site...

The Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee will delve into the nation's nuclear weapons complex in a hearing Wednesday.

The White House's 2009 budget request of $9 billion for the nuclear weapons complex and the national security component of the Energy Department takes up more than one-third of the total $25 billion budget request.

This year DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration announced a complex transformation that will significantly alter the size and location of the nation's nuclear weapons work. NNSA said the idea is to consolidate and shrink the size of the complex while also refocusing on the needs for the 21st century, including nonproliferation, terrorism and defense.

Part of this new vision for NNSA is a controversial new advanced nuclear warhead that DOE says will be easier to maintain, reliable and last longer. The department is asking for $10 million in 2009 to conduct further research on the "reliable replacement warhead" program after facing significant resistance to an $88 million request in 2008.

Chairman Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) has announced serious doubts about the new technology.

"There must be an authorization before this program continues," Dorgan said at last year's appropriation markup. "There are questions facing this country about what we expect to do in terms of nuclear weapons."

The subcommittee still funded the program at $66 million revealing ranking member Pete Domenici's (R-N.M.) support for the project.

But the House zeroed out the program and the advanced warhead ultimately was not funded in the 2008 omnibus appropriations bill.
National labs

Research on the reliable replacement warhead and other nuclear weapons work for NNSA takes place mainly at the national laboratories at Los Alamos and Sandia in New Mexico and Lawrence Livermore near Berkley, Calif.

The directors of each of these labs are scheduled to appear at the hearing, likely to testify about the quality of funding and their new work under the complex transformation -- which includes new infrastructure but also layoffs of 20 to 30 percent of the workforce over the next decade.

Congress has been critical of the lack of funding for the national laboratories and has appropriated money above the White House's request for the past several years. Dorgan has vowed to sustain appropriate funding for the labs which he described as a "significant treasure" for the country.

Domenici is sure to inquire about the $14 million cut to the Los Alamos laboratory 2009 budget request, although the Sandia site received a $25 million boost. The Lawrence Livermore laboratory was also decreased by $63 million in the 2009 request.

Schedule: The hearing is Wednesday, April 16, at 2 p.m. in 138 Dirksen.

Witnesses: Tom D'Agostino, administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration; George Miller, director, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Mike Anastasio, director, Los Alamos National Laboratory; and Tom Hunter, director, Sandia National Laboratory.


Anonymous said...

"Congress has been critical of the lack of funding for the national laboratories and has appropriated money above the White House's request for the past several years."

Actually, the opposite has happened. This is part of reason for LLNL's shortfall. Look at the 10% cutbacks at SLAC, Argonne, and Brookhaven. This was due to congress transferring funds from these Labs to their district pet projects.

Anonymous said...

Don't hold your breath. If congress cared they wouldn't have cut our budget.

Anonymous said...

April 14, 2008 3:43 PM

It's all a show and dance or what we use to call a dog and pony show.

Lets hope congress isn't stupid enough to fall for the game. Here's how it goes.

NNSA says get rid of all term and contract employees. LLNS/ LLNL complies. Shortly afterwards, LLNS says, oh my god we can't meet our commitments because we don't have the skilled labors to do it and cry to congress, " see if NNSA would have done it our way we'd have been on time and on budget, however, if you just give us back our old funding level we can make it happen.

What's your bet?

Congress will see through the ploy and tell NNSA / LLNS and DOE to pound sand, or, will they say, "Okay here's the funds now lets try this again"?

It's all a big joke, played by the most refined self-centered politicians in the world, none of which have any balls and or will call a spade a spade.

Pitiful, hah?

Anonymous said...

The cartoon is a prime example of the way a lot of meeting are conducted at LLNL, how congress and the senate listen to the people and for that matter how some households are run. The sad part about all of this is, nothing of value is ever accomplished by being as the cartoon depicts and yet one can't be wishy washy nether to the point where any meeting is a waste of time. The bottom line is, we have no useful leaders. This cartoon could be any two people of any organization. Use your imagination and think of two people of power at LLNL that could in fact be this way. I know at least four and they are male and female in ULM.

Anonymous said...

So much wasted energy. The USA will not remain a superpower with this kind of culture.

Anonymous said...

Your are mistaking to think that Miller will magically get more money for the Lab. Miller is hated by those on the Hill, and they would love to see him fail. This is why UC never made him a Director (even though he tried over three times) before the contract change over. LLNS and DOE/NNSA either didn't care and were willing to let the Lab fail, or were too ignorant to understand.
The writing is on the wall, so either organize or bend over.

Anonymous said...

April 14, 2008 7:22 PM

The USA gave that up the day the voted NAFTA into play, decided to base America's future on a global economy and then made it impossible to have a home and two cars one a single income. With one stoke of the pen they ruined every generation to come. No parents, no discipline, equates to full prisons and a culture with no base to build upon. Oh and now we have no pensions to depend on. It's all downhill from here my friends.

Anonymous said...

let us not forget it was a Republican Congress and President that created this mess not the current Democrat Congress

Anonymous said...

April 14, 2008 8:21 PM

It will be no different with a demon-crat in office. We had 8 years of billary and now the country may be doomed with 8 years of hillary. Can you spell, SOCIALIST. I may not like Bush or his cronies but I surely am not voting demon-crat. Not now, not ever.

Personally I don't see anyone I like. We have two demon-crats which equals NO GOOD for the country, and then we have one republican which means more of the same where there will be no change and stay the course.

I only wish one good leader would pop out of the woodwork at the last minute.

Anonymous said...

Why do they say "near Berkley, Calif."? They could have just as well said, I don't know... in Livermore, CA? Or Near San Francisco, CA? How are we near Berkley, CA?

Anonymous said...

"let us not forget it was a Republican Congress and President that created this mess not the current Democrat Congress"

Yes, you can believe this if it makes you feel any better. The truth is that LLNL is not high on the list of either party. For example, have you seen any real help from the "distinguished" congresspersons of our districts? They could have given use help in our budget by accepting the Whitehouse budget for the Lab, but instead took funds away. And, the Whitehouse didn't complain because we are low on their list also.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, you can believe this if it makes you feel any better."

So you agree it was the Republicans who did this. The restructuring of the weapons complex including privatization of the management of the weapons lab is a creation of a Republican administration and congress which is an undeniable fact.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and the Democrats are innocent because if they would had the chance they would have stood behind the weapons Labs because they love them and what they stand for, and they are at the top of their list those they want to protect. And even though they have majority of both houses of the Congress they couldn't do anything about current cutbacks because of the boogie man in the White House.

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