House passes energy bill with a boost

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By Roger Snodgrass

In a rare gesture, the House added a special gratuity to a funding bill for the Department of Energy and national science laboratories that passed with a substantial majority Friday.

In the process, they boosted the funds available for Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) by an extra 1 percent.

“It is wonderfully refreshing to see the house show support for LDRD, which I don’t think we have seen for some time,” said Bob Kraus, deputy director for the Los Alamos LDRD.

“It is incredibly gratifying to find that LDRD is seen as building the science base of the laboratory. That is something that has not been recognized.”

The final vote was an emphatic 320-97 in favor of the overall bill that would, with a few adjustments, continue most current levels of funding through next fiscal year.

During the debate leading up to approval on the House floor, Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., offered an amendment that each laboratory be allowed to dedicate an additional 1 percent of its annual budget to LDRD.

Sandia National Laboratories is in Heinrich’s District.

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