That favorite Washington pastime—playing politics—threatens to disrupt the operations of the National Science Board, NSF’s oversight body. The board has a rotating membership appointed by the president. Every other May, eight of its 24 members complete their six-year terms. Replacements are routinely confirmed by the Senate, and the board has hardly missed a beat—except this year and in 1976. In each instance a Democrat- controlled Senate has refused to go along with a Republican president who was leaving town.

Citing the crush of business in the remaining weeks of the 100th Congress, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) decreed in August that his Labor and Human Resources Committee would hold no more meetings to review the qualifications of the president’s nominees to any governmental body. That decision has left the science board with six vacancies. (Two recent nominees, Daniel Drucker, a U. of Florida engineer, and Warren Baker, president of California Polytechnic...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!