Jun 20, 2007

House Vote Stops Appropriation for New Generation of Nuclear Weapons

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 20, 2007; Page A20

The House yesterday approved plans to halt funding for the development of a new generation of nuclear warheads as House leaders called on the Bush administration to provide a post-Cold War nuclear strategy that would detail the future size of the U.S. nuclear stockpile.

While approving most portions of the $32 billion fiscal 2008 appropriations bill for energy and water development, the House put off final passage until later this summer while it works out details of funding for local Army Corps of Engineers flood-control projects.

The House action, which eliminated about $82 million for continuing development of the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program, also reduced spending for the upgrade and modernization of facilities in the nuclear weapons complex that are involved in refurbishing deployed bombs and warheads, storing older ones and dismantling those no longer needed.

Overall, the House bill reduced President Bush's budget request for nuclear weapons programs by $632 million, to $5.9 billion. At the same time, it raised by $491 million, or 75 percent, the amount available for nonproliferation activities. In giving his support to the measure, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (D-Wis.) emphasized that the weapons program cuts were made "because there's been no strategy for post-Cold War nuclear weapons."

Meanwhile, two advocates of the RRW program, Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R-N.M.) and Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.), spoke out against the House action. Two of the nation's three nuclear weapons laboratories, Los Alamos and Sandia, are in their state.

Wilson, during the House floor debate, described the action as "the most radical shift in U.S. policy on nuclear weapons that I've seen at least since the mid-1990s." At that time, during the Clinton administration, the decision was made to create a stockpile stewardship program that, with the aid of billions of dollars in new scientific equipment, could keep nuclear weapons reliable without testing them by refurbishing their nonnuclear parts.

Wilson added: "The decisions imbedded in this legislation will lead us either to return to nuclear testing or to abandon nuclear deterrence because we will stop maintaining the stockpile."

Domenici, in a Senate floor speech, said the House bill would "send American nuclear deterrence strategy in a new and absolutely unknown direction." He agreed that the RRW program deserved study but said it "must involve far greater resources than those involved in the House report language." He also said the House reductions do "irreparable harm" to the stockpile stewardship program by cutting funds for some needed facilities.

As the ranking minority member of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the nuclear complex, Domenici will be in position to restore some of the funds the House cut, including some money to keep the RRW going. The Senate Appropriations panel is scheduled to mark up the energy measure next week.

31 comments:

Eric said...

I have a meeting with the right people on this topic tonight.

If you would like to be heard, let me know today.

Thanks.

Senator Pete Dominici said...

That's correct. Eric and I have a meeting scheduled for this evening to discuss these very important LANL budget issues. We've also invited Tom Udall, my good friend Heather Wilson, and Jeff Bingaman, so as Eric said, all the right people will be there. I asked Sam Bodman if he could attend, but unfortunately he had a previous engagement.

Thanks for setting this up Eric, we'll talk with you tonight.

-Pete

Anonymous said...

Eric the Great to the rescue!

Anonymous said...

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
--P Dominici & H Wilson (alias Mr & Mrs Chicken Little)

Eric said...

Just curious but why is sarcasm a productive response to Congress's threat to cut the Lab's budget by many millions of dollars.

It strikes me that sarcasm only convinces the cutters that they are right.

Unless, of course, you don't work in Los Alamos County. In that case you may want the money for yourselves.

Sarcasm still seems ineffective.

Are there productive responses anywhere?

GussieFinkNottle said...

"Are there productive responses anywhere?"

Depends on who you claim the "right people" are, Eric.

You do sound rather pompous a good deal of the time. In fact, I've noticed that most of your postings practically beg sarcasm.

-Gussie

Anonymous said...

I agree with G's response above. In other words Eric, you sound like an arrogant butt head at times, hence the sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

Eric, I cringe when I see your name.

Anonymous said...

Those of you who belittle Eric are in denial.

The "many millions of dollars" of which Eric warns could be cut from the Lab's budget is actually on the order of half a billion dollars.

The sky is falling!

Anonymous said...

$500 million, actually.

The threat of money evaporating is not being argued. Eric's self-appointed position as LANL's savior is.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Eric needs to lose the messiah complex.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Agreed. Eric needs to lose the messiah complex.

6/20/07 2:05 PM

....and stop trying to profit.

Anonymous said...

How about it? Oh "they" can't shut down LANL.....To all of you nut-cakes ..oh yes they can and they may cut the 'YOU KNOW WHAT'S " OFF....If not this year then pwerhaps next.....

Eric said...

So, my conclusion from the comments above is that it is worth losing $500,000,000 from the community if you can call someone a butthead without giving up your anonymity or having the courage to talk to them in person.

That was the information that I needed.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I think the conclusion you should be drawing is that the sarcasm is directed at you. Some is directed at others, but mostly you. The reason is simple. You offer silly teases of information with no real substance. If you have something constructive to offer yourself, then offer it. If not, STFU. Constructive does not mean "I've solved this important problem that will help all of you. Meet me at Starbucks for the solution."

Yeah, I know. This is not a very constructive post either. I am not trying to drive you off. I just don't think you should expect to be welcomed into a blog as cynical as this when you offer nothing but teases and silly innuendo about how you've got your pulse on this bad boy. The only conclusion one can draw is that you are trying to make a buck here. I don't begrudge you that opportunity, but you are smart enough to know what will come with that. Particularly on a blog like this one.

GussieFinkNottle said...

Nice attempt to explain to Eric why he is not well received here, 6/20/07 5:55 PM. The problem is that if Eric can't recognize how ridiculous he sounds while trying to shill his business here, trying to explain it to him will be a wasted effort.

The poor fool acts like he's got the answers to Congress having potentially cut $500 + $190 = $690 million from LANL's budget in just the past two days. All we have to do is believe that he knows some Very Important People, and then he'll see to it that problems will get fixed. What I find particularly fascinating is that he actually seems to think we should believe him.

--Gussie

Anonymous said...

Stop being so nice and just cut to the chase: Eric is an asshole. We thought by being rude and sarcastic he'd go away. But maybe now we should take every opportunity to call him an asshole. Oh, and in case I forgot: Eric, you are an asshole.

Anonymous said...

You should go look at his blogs. Two of them have hilarious posts to himself about how PATB is a bad blog so all of his insights will be posted on his blogs. Another entry says he will be deleting posts and cleaning up his blogs. The latter should be pretty simple since no one ever posts there.

Anonymous said...

That's kind of sad, actually. Delusional, almost.

GussieFinkNottle said...

I agree, the whole nature of Eric's involvement on this, and previous blogs has been kind of sad. I suggest that the best course is to pretty much just ignore him. Name calling isn't called for, especially if he can't help how he presents himself. If he becomes too disruptive Pinky may choose to just ban him.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if we all chip in, we can give him plenty of posts on his blog to keep him occupied (cleaning up the blog you know!) and off this one.

Anonymous said...

the budget cut PROPOSAL is real (perspective - this is a proposal but could become firm, in some form, reality)...eric is fantasy. eric seems to confuse this, and other blogs, with chat rooms. As an insignificant gnat, eric, go away, find a chat room. We here, who have been at LANL for a long time - have even grown up here - are trying to solve real problems that support the survival of LANL and it's pursuit of scientific truth...the nature of which you will never know, yet understand.

Anonymous said...

STOP! I AM GOD! ERIC IS MY MESSENGER! LISTEN TO HIM AND HE WILL LEAD YOU TO THE PROMISED LAND WHERE NUCLEAR WEAPONS GROW ON TREES! HAVE FAITH MY CHILDEREN. ERIC IS THE CHOSEN ONE AND WILL GUIDE YOU THRU THE DIFFICULT TIMES AHEAD!

Anonymous said...

Come on people. Eric has a right to comment on this blog like everyone else. Direct your venom towards the LANS management. Remember,they were the ones who had a "human error". If LANS really cared about LANL, they would be buying the support from Congress, just like all the lobbyists. Don't you find it just a tad bit odd that the most recent security infraction by a LANS board member is simply being blown off like nothing, but a papercut by a contractor at LANL is world-wide news? This is not Eric's fault.

Anonymous said...

LANS isn't to blame (they only responded to an RFP that OUR govt put out and we taxpayers paid for - someone, somewhere, will bid on anything...go check out Ebay). UC created this mess with great help from DOE/NNSA/congress (hiring *just anyone* based on political correctness vs actual skills will get you what you deserve) and it now comes home to roost. Entertaining eric is political correctness.

Anonymous said...

12:00 AM:

I disagree. Both NNSA and LANS are the problem. NNSA constructed the LANL management contract RFP digging an impossibly deep $1B hole for the management contractor by REQUIRING a Limited Liability Corporation with the commensurate gross receipt tax burden and then adding an obscene fee. LANS dishonestly responded claiming they could dig LANL out of that $1B hole by "improving efficiency".

Has anyone seen any of these efficiency improvements?

Anonymous said...

"Has anyone seen any of these efficiency improvements?" - 6:57 am

No, in fact I'm seeing just the opposite. More and more tasks that supposedly are the duties of our support people are being tasked to the individual TSM. And have you tried to get anything ordered of late? Getting anything ordered takes forever. LANS is not making LANL function better. It's getting worse.

Anonymous said...

Eric, I think, is to blame. Yea...that's the ticket! Let's blame Eric!

Anonymous said...

I think Eric is a Mormon.

Anonymous said...

Has blaming Eric saved a single job?
Will it save any?

Anonymous said...

Not flaming Eric will save how many jobs?