When cable TV begins showing Senate proceedings in June, the public's first glimpse of the action is likely to be debate on the pork-laden fiscal 1986 "urgent supplemental," which would force the Defense Department to bypass the usual competitive process in awarding money to colleges and universities in selected states.
A dozen senators have signed a letter urging colleagues to attack that portion of the supplemental under the banner of stopping "pork barrel science," a battle cry that could foretell lively TV drama.
"Let us reject the log-rolling approach," says the "Dear Colleague" letter in urging rejection of the $80.6 million slated to be carved out of the Pentagon research budget for 10 institutions.
Among the signers are Chairman Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) of the Armed Services Committee, even though Arizona would receive $25 million in supplemental funds, and Sen. William Proxmire (D-Wis.), who has tried twice before -- in committee and on the floor -- to defeat the earmarks. Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger opposes awarding research contracts to colleges and universities noncompetitively.
If the supplemental as now written is approved by the Senate, passed by the House and signed into law, it would force the Pentagon to give the following institutions contracts of these amounts: Arizona State, $25 million; Iowa State, $6.5 million; Nevada University of Las Vegas, $3.5 million; Northeastern University, $13.5 million; Oklahoma State, $1 million; Oregon Graduate Center, $1 million; Rochester Institute of Technology, $11.1 million; Syracuse University, $12 million; University of Kansas, $2 million; Wichita State, $5 million.
The other senators who signed the letter opposing the funds are Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), John C. Danforth (R-Mo.), Alan J. Dixon (R-Ill.), Thomas F. Eagleton (D-Mo.), Daniel J. Evans (R-Wash.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Dan Quayle (R-Ind.) and Pete Wilson (R-Calif.).