Sep 25, 2008

Stop-Gap Funding Bill Avoids Lab Cuts

By John Fleck
Albuquerque Journal Staff Writer

The House of Representatives approved a stop-gap funding bill Wednesday that sidesteps a battle over proposed budget reductions that could have forced job cuts at New Mexico's nuclear weapons labs.

The bill is a response to congressional failure to complete a budget for the nuclear weapons work, and a wide range of other federal programs, before the current fiscal year ends Sept. 30. In lieu of a new budget for fiscal year 2009, the spending plan largely continues federal spending at 2008 levels.

That is good news for Sandia and Los Alamos labs, according to Chris Gallegos, spokesman for Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M. An earlier version of the budget passed by the House in June would have cut $360 million in nuclear spending at Los Alamos and Sandia, potentially costing more than 2,000 jobs in New Mexico. A counteroffer developed by a Senate committee in July would have replaced much of that money.

By approving a "continuing resolution" to fund most federal operations at 2008 levels, the House action avoids a potentially bruising fight between the House and Senate over the House's proposed nuclear weapons cuts.

"A CR puts off for today the divergent funding priorities between the Senate and House when it comes to our labs," Domenici said in a statement. "But stabilized FY2008 funding levels is acceptable when compared to alternatives that would impose arbitrary cuts to the labs' national security work."

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Really, a CR situation is the best thing LANL can hope for during this next fiscal year. Let's hope that the CR holds out all the way until Oct 1 '09!

Anonymous said...

This is just postponing the inevitable.

We need another controlled burn to solve our housing oversupply.

Anonymous said...

The CR also contains a sweet loan package for the auto industry, supposedly because both parties are lusting after Ohio and Michigan voters.

I hear the same thing about New Mexico - key battleground state - so where's MY piece of the pork?

Anonymous said...

You don't get any pork because you are anonymous and therefore have no followers and no clout in deciding the election.
Pork is about buying lots of votes.

Anonymous said...

LANS is dragging its feet in diversifying the work done by the lab. This is sad to see because RRW is not going to be funded, pit production is not going to grow beyond current levels, Stockpile Stewardship funding is heading downward, and even the LEP (Life Extension Program) will be facing tough times given the state of the US budget.

The solution is to find outside projects which can help support the lab. Time is running out to bring in more work from outside sponsors. Bringing in this outside work requires that LANS: (1) reward the staff who are successful at bringing in these projects, and that (2) costs be reduced to reasonable levels so new WFO proposal have a chance of being funded in a competitive environment.

Instead, what we see at LANL are FTE rates for scientists in the higher salary categories which are about to go way up for this next year and a continuation of the trend of rewarding staff who look busy and "play the game" well, but have a poor record of bringing in funding to help support the cost of the lab.

The result of LANS' inaction in making the necessary changes will be large layoffs. Right now, we are simply moving chairs around on the Titanic. Only a fool can't see the huge icebergs coming up on the horizon. I'm sure there will be plenty of lifeboats for the LANS upper management team, but the rest of the workforce is about to be plunge into some mighty chilly waters!

Eric said...

I have outside work for all levels of talent. All a person has to do to find out more is contact me.


Few people have this courage. Anonymity feels safer (as noted above).

So the work goes elsewhere.

As to LANS itself, I meet a continual stream of 'Not Invented Here' syndrome and 'We are smarter than you and will do the work when we feel like it' syndrome.

So the work goes elsewhere.

Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

"That is good news for Sandia and Los Alamos labs, according to Chris Gallegos, spokesman for Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M...."

I'm not clear why LLNL isn't mentioned. Is this the same for them?

John Fleck said...

anon 1:42: Yeah, same for Livermore. Not mentioned because the story was in a New Mexico newspaper. Much as I love the Livermore folks, they're not buyin' my paper. :-)

Anonymous said...

2008 Fundding levels will not cover LANS until Oct.09....adjustments will have to be made. Plus no more earmarks, could spell Layoff's...

Anonymous said...

Both McCain and Obama said in their Friday night debate that they want to make cuts in the budget to cover for the $700 billion bailout plan.


Dear Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama,

I've got a great way to instantly save almost $500 million very quickly. Kill the "for-profit" LLC contracts at both LANL and LLNL and put them back under non-profit management. You'll not only save almost half a billion dollars per year, but you'll also end up making the employees very happy to boot! It's a win-win situation. See to it.

Anonymous said...

9/26/08 9:58 PM -

Not to mention that the first to endorse this position could significantly strengthen their position in a critical "swing" state?

Anonymous said...

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*****

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To: james@xxxxxxx.com
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Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

Anonymous said...

Everyone knew we would be going into a CR. Not a big surprise.

Anonymous said...

How long does the CR cover us at the 08 funding level? I have heard 6 months, is this correct? If so what happens after the six months is up?

Anonymous said...

9:25 am: "How long does the CR cover us at the 08 funding level? I have heard 6 months, is this correct? If so what happens after the six months is up?"

Surely this is homework you can do on your own. Or is the blog's opinion more important to you than actaul facts?

Anonymous said...

The CR can cover LANL up to March '09 without an extension. Given the election and the time needed by the next administration to create the FY'10 budget, the CR will probably last at least until March and probably be extended until the end of the fiscal year.

The FY10 budget will be released sometime next Spring. Once it is released, you'll again see large cuts directed at the weapons program. I believe the cuts in the FY09 budget for LANL are in the range of $390 million (gasp!).

However, unlike in previous years, the big cuts in the weapons work won't be turned back in the FY10 budget. Therefore, you have one year left until the LANL budget situation begins to deteriorate very rapidly. If you can sell your house and get out, now might be the time to consider it. It all depends on your particular situation.

Anonymous said...

"If so what happens after the six months is up?"

Well, either we have a final Energy and Water appropriation, or an omnibus, or another CR to buy Congress some additional time to not do their jobs.

Frank Young said...

Were your cornflakes a tad yellow this morning, 11:41? What was the "actaul" cause of that?

Anonymous said...

My oatmeal was fine - I don't eat cornflakes, they're for people who don't know better and love General Mills. I'm honored to have the blog administrator call me on a typo. Or was there another reason?

Anonymous said...

It's clear that the financial crisis is completely overwhelming the politicians in Washington DC. The bailout package that will pass this next week is only the beginning of a massive deficit "sink hole" of truly frightening proportions.

Within a matter of weeks, FDIC bank insurance funds will likely run dry due to numerous bank collapses and a sudden spike in bank runs. Money to cover for FDIC will then need to be financed with even greater amounts of Treasury debt. In addition to this, unemployment is about to spike up. Watch the figures which come out on Friday. They are going to be a real shocker. The large uptick in unemployement will cause families to cut back and thus cause business profits to drastically fall. The net effect of this will be a big drop in US tax revenues, thus further widening the US deficit.

The bailout may help stop the US from entering a Great Depression, but it will not stop the US from experiencing one of the deepest and longest recession in US history. The outcome of all this for LANL will likely be very large cuts to the lab budget for FY2010.

Anonymous said...

You can check out the "Safe & Sound" rating for you local bank here:

www.bankrate.com/
cnbc/safesound/ss_home.asp

The ratings go from 5 (superior) to 1 (poor). Surprisingly, LANB in Los Alamos only gets 3 stars. I thought they were a stronger bank than that.

Anonymous said...

LANB bank is heavily leveraged to the fate of LANL and this is a one company town.

If LANL has significant layoffs, which seems possible, then I can foresee LANB's bank rating going all the way down to 1 or 2 as local foreclosures increase.

Be very careful if you have more than $100 K in total assets held by LANB.

Anonymous said...

9/28/08 12:28 AM


And your point is?

Anonymous said...

"And your point is?" - 11:50 AM

Apparently you skipped over the last sentence in that post. I'll repeat it for you, VERY SLOWLY....

The...outcome...of...all...this...for LANL...will...be...very...large...cuts to...the...lab...budget...for...FY2010.

Have you got the point, now?

Anonymous said...

"Or was there another reason?"

9/27/08 8:25 PM

Maybe it's because you are an asshole.

Anonymous said...

"Have you got the point, now?

9/28/08 2:42 PM"

It is simply a statement but there is no point. Once again what is your point?

Anonymous said...

Frank,

Nice, clean, surgical deletion. No one the wiser. Yep, you are a real believer in free speech. (I know, it's "your blog" and you can do whatever you want.) Without transparency, there is no accountability, probably another concept that is too much trouble to actually practice.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 9:12 PM, it appears that Frank is too nice a guy to say this in public, so I'll say it... F**k Off!

If you don't like this blog or Frank's house rules, then go someplace else. There are plenty of other blogs on the web. Is that too difficult for you too comprehend?

Freedom of speech in blogs is not not a guaranteed civil right. Frank seems pretty liberal about postings, so I can only assume that you have been trying to put up some pretty egregious stuff.

Anonymous said...

"so I'll say it...F**k Off! "

I second that! Go Frank!