Issue Date: January 22, 2007
DOE warns of dire impact of funding gap
A funding shortfall for the remainder of the year could lead to furloughs and other adverse consequences to personnel and programs, according to a worst-case scenario recently released by the Department of Energy. The six-page document predicts a monthlong furlough of all employees at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, cutbacks of some 300 Basic Energy Sciences-funded researchers and students, deletion of funds proposed to start up the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, and firing of contractors and scaling back of science-based user facilities at several national labs. The rollbacks are due to Congress' inability last year to pass appropriations legislation for fiscal 2007 sufficient to fund all DOE programs, the department says. Instead, appropriators decided to propose a continuing resolution that would extend 2006 funding levels through 2007 and eliminate all congressional earmarks in the 2006 funding bill. Congressional appropriations committees are now reexamining details of their decision, and they may modify some appropriations to increase or decrease funding levels. "Everyone" is intensely lobbying members of appropriations committees to increase department budgets, committee staff say. The committees expect to have the continuing resolution legislation prepared by the end of the month, which would include "hundreds of funding modifications, but not millions," a staffer says.
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