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AMS Committee on Science Policy
1998 Annual Report


AMS Committee on Science Policy Report for 1998
Cathleen S. Morawetz, Chair

The principal points to be made in this report are not major.

1. CSP agreed without much ado to have the AMS office prepare a handout about the Society for use in a variety of ways, but in particular, for having in Congressional offices. This is the final outcome of seeking a Federal Policy Statement which had been under discussion for several years without any robust agreement of what it should aim to achieve.

2. In the CSP meeting in the spring in Washington, DC, it was agreed to invite President Clinton and Dr. Rita Colwell, the new head of the National Science Foundation (NSF), to speak in San Antonio. President Clinton declined, and Dr. Colwell agreed. We also asked Dr. Colwell to participate in a discussion with a selected group, but as of this writing she has not yet decided on that.

3. Throughout the year CSP responded to requests to help keep mathematics before Congressional staff and members where possible. Many attended the Congressional visiting day and others wrote to their Congressmen on issues important to mathematics. The particular issues were the support of the NSF FY1999 budget, the bill in the Senate supporting the doubling of funding for science (S.2217). The CSP was also kept informed about the status of the H1-B visas which is very important at the postdoctoral level. There has been some increase.

It is worth nothing that despite the failure of the tobacco settlement, the NSF budget did go up 7.1 percent. That meant research went up 8.8 percent. Education rose only 4.7 percent. Some pork barrelish items were eliminated. At DOD Basic Research went up 6.8 percent (6.1 money), Applied Research less. Extensive lobbying and writing were done by President Jaffe, the Washington Office, and many others. But whether math went up or down is not known at this time.

The Senate passed a "doubling funds for science" bill, but it died with the end of the Congressional year. The Eisenhower program for science education also was under attack in Congress but that was put on hold also in the end of year roundup.

For science the most striking outcome is the election of Russ Holt, former Associate Director of the Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton. He was in charge of public relations there. He makes the second Ph.D. in physics in Congress, the other being Ehlers and bodes well for science in the new Congress. I do not know whether the departure of D'Amato and the election of Schumer is good or bad for science. D'Amato voted on behalf of science, but the odds are Schumer will continue in that path.

I append the CSP report to the ECBT for your information.

Cathleen Synge Morawetz
Chair, Committee on Science Policy
November 20, 1998

RES/Nov 98 CSP Report to Council

 


 

AMS COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE POLICY
Report to Executive Committee and Board of Trustees
October 1998

The Committee has not met since their last activity report was submitted to the May ECBT; this interim report lists activities since then. CSP will meet next on March 12-13, 1999, in Washington DC.

The government speaker at the January 1999 Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio will be Dr. Rita Colwell, Director, National Science Foundation. Arrangements are also being made for a small group of invitees to meet informally with Dr. Colwell in San Antonio.

CSP members, along with the AMS congressional contact group, were alerted at appropriate times during the year to contact their representatives about issues and legislation of concern to mathematicians, specifically, NSF's FY1999 appropriations, and the Senate bill to double funding for civilian research over the next twelve years (S.2217, the Federal Research Investment Act). Satisfying progress was made on both items. Congress approved a 7.1 percent increase for NSF in 1999 (less than the President's request, but good considering that the tobacco settlement on which Clinton had based his numbers was killed). S.2217 was approved by the Senate in the last hectic days before Congress adjourned, boding well for its reintroduction next year and for progress of a companion bill in the House. September saw the release of the House Science Committee's report, "Unlocking our Future: Toward a New National Science Policy", and its acceptance by the full House before Congress adjourned. It is hoped that the House Science Committee will now be amenable to promoting the House equivalent of the Senate's "doubling bill", S.2217. CSP members will be kept informed of progress and will be asked to participate at those times when contacts with legislators are most productive.

CSP has also been kept informed on recent legislation to increase H1-B visas (Congress approved increasing for the next three years the annual cap on these visas, which apply to many postdoctorates), on progress of FY1999 appropriations of other federal agencies that support science research and education, and on Congressional efforts to kill the Eisenhower Professional Development Program (legislation was approved, but died along with other unfinished legislation upon adjournment).

Samuel M. Rankin, III
AMS Washington Office
October 28, 1998


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