Without objection: Lab-friendly bill advances

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By Roger Snodgrass

In a session devoted more to expressions of esteem, the Senate appropriations committee made quick work Thursday of an energy and water appropriation proposal.

The measure containing next year’s spending plans for the national laboratories, including Los Alamos, was passed “without objection,” and sailed forth to the full Senate unchanged from the version approved by a subcommittee on Tuesday.

In numerous comments, committee members honored the occasion of Sen. Pete Domenici’s last markup of the bill as a senator. The New Mexico Republican will retire at the end of his term early next year.

“There goes a man,” said Chairman Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. “Whence cometh another?”

Known for his Shakespearian rhetoric, Byrd also made a pun on Mixed Oxide, or MOX nuclear fuel, which is a means of disposing surplus weapons-grade plutonium that has been championed by Domenici.

“Senator,” Byrd said, “I have long admired your moxie.”

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., chairman of the subcommittee that authored the spending bill, also contributed an encomium of his own. (An encomium is a speech of praise, a word derived from the classical Greek encomion.)

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