The new fiscal year starts on Oct. 1— in just 10 days. But Congress hasn’t completed any spending bills, and partisan bickering has broken out in Washington over what to do about the problem.
In the long term, the battle is over deep divisions between the House of Representatives, which wants to cut the nuclear weapons program, and the Senate, which does not.
This year’s nuclear weapons budget is $6.3 billion, including $1.5 billion at Los Alamos and $1 billion at Sandia. The House is proposing a 9.4 percent cut in 2008. The Senate wants to increase the budget 3.3 percent. The specific effect of cuts on each lab is unknown.
Proposed House cuts, in addition to eliminating thousands of jobs at Sandia and Los Alamos, would put the brakes on a plan to expand the manufacture of plutonium nuclear weapon parts at Los Alamos.
But all eyes are on the short term now— what to do come Oct. 1 to fund things while a final spending plan is worked out.