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Budget reprieve

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By Roger Snodgrass

House and Senate negotiators gave Los Alamos National Laboratory another month’s extension on current funding levels.Sen. Pete Domenici participated in the conference committee on the FY2008 Defense Appropriations Bill Tuesday. He said the conferees agreed to include a continuing resolution that will extend FY2007 funding for the federal government, including LANL, through Dec. 14.The current funding extension expires Nov. 17.The $459.3 billion defense spending bill that contains the continuing resolution, must now be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by President Bush.The bill contains funding for core Department of Defense operations, but does not include special funding requests for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.Chris Gallegos, Domenici’s spokesperson, said the continuing resolution sustains FY2007 funding levels for all the federal agencies and programs that have yet to be funded for the current fiscal year.Domenici announced two extra sweeteners for Los Alamos and the laboratory that were approved in the conference committee.One was a $4 million item, an additional $1 million over a Senate-passed bill, for a High-Throughput Laboratory Initiative for processing pathogens during emergencies. The project is a partnership between UCLA and LANL for developing high-throughput laboratories for surge capacity in case of a pandemic or bioterrorist attack.Caldera Pharmaceuticals of Los Alamos is also involved in a $1.2 million Battlefield Wound Treatment Medicines program, which was approved in conference.“This program will apply high-speed medical development technology to identify previously unrecognized blood vessel formation properties in existing medicines, which are already demonstrated to be safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” Domenici said in the announcement.