SSC Victory in Senate

From: barnett@Csa3.LBL.Gov (MICHAEL BARNETT (510)486-5650)
Subject: SSC Victory in Senate

LBL, 30-SEP-1993

Following almost 6 hours of debate, the United States Senate today voted 57-42 in favor of continuing full funding of the Superconducting Super Collider. The actual vote was on a motion to table the amendment of Sen. Bumpers to kill the SSC. Highlights of the debate included an interchange between Senators Bumpers and Johnston on whether or not the Higgs Boson exists. In his speech Sen. Johnston gave a marvelous description of the physics of the SSC. He not only explained what the Higgs boson was and why it is important, but he discussed quarks, leptons, and the fundamental forces. He even argued that we will learn about the origin of mass even if the Higgs is not discovered. He described the dark matter problem and suggested that supersymmetric particles might be an explanation for it. He only rarely referred to his notes while speaking. Rumors that the lab will be renamed the J. Bennett Johnston National Laboratory are not true.

Strong pro-SSC speeches were also given by Sen. Kerrey (Nebraska), Sen. Feinstein (California), Sen. Reid (Nevada), Sen. Craig (Idaho), in addition to the Texas Senators. Many speakers referred to the value of information given to them by physicists.

There are high hopes to do well in the conference committee (in a few days). A House and Senate vote on the conference committee report will follow.