The Senate and the House of Representatives have come to a compromise on the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual measure to approve the Department of Defense’s budget goals but not allocate actual dollars. Several science provisions are among the issues agreed to in a joint conference committee earlier this month.
The first deals with the military’s biofuels research program. Under the compromise bill, DOD won’t be able to spend money on pilot biofuel refineries unless those funds are matched by the Departments of Energy and Agriculture. That version is less restrictive than the House’s, which would have stopped the military from spending money on biofuels until the price is on par with petroleum—it is currently several times higher.
Critical minerals were also addressed in the House and Senate bills, but as C&EN went to press it wasn’t clear how those measures had fared in the compromise. The Senate bill would require federal agencies to start coordinating critical minerals development. It also would direct DOE to support projects to domestically produce molybdenum-99, a common medical isotope, without highly enriched uranium. A House provision would direct DOD to report to Congress on the recycling of critical elements from fluorescent lighting materials.
The White House has objected to some provisions that remain in the compromise bill, but it isn’t clear whether the President will veto it.