Hultgren bills would boost Fermi, Argonne labs
A pair of bills designed to help the Fermi and Argonne national laboratories perform a bit better has cleared the U.S. House, and the sponsor says there's good reason to think the Senate will follow along.
Sponsored by west suburban congressman Randy Hultgren, the bills would ease bureaucratic restrictions and allow for more agreements with private companies--something he says would help both the company and the labs.
One measure would direct the Secretary of Energy to carry out a coordinated research effort to develop "exascale" computing, with speed potentially approaching that of the human brain. The measure also would authorize an integrated university/private/department effort at two or more national labs, something that Hultgren's office says Argonne in particular would have a chance to win.
The second bill would reduce Department of Energy oversight of lab discoveries, making it easier to speed developments in nuclear and other research that some in Washington say has handicapped commercial development and job growth in the U.S.
Hultgren introduced similar bills last year, which were approved in the House but died in the Senate. This time, he has Senate sponsors for both, and both have been scheduled for a June 4 hearing.
Hultgren serves on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and is co-founder of the Science and National Labs Caucus. His district and that of Democrat Bill Foster are home to most workers at the two facilities.