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January 2014 Public Policy News

 

31 January: International Space Station to be Extended Until 2024; Asteroid Mission Reaffirmed: “We are pleased to announce that the Obama Administration has approved an extension of the International Space Station (ISS) until at least 2024,” wrote Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden earlier this month.  This announcement extends the station for four additional years beyond its previous schedule.  Read more 

29 January: FY 2014 Budget Cycle Complete; FY 2015 Budget Cycle Ahead: The FY 2014 budget cycle came to an end on January 17 when President Obama signed H.R. 3547, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, providing $1.012 trillion dollars in funding for this year.  An official copy of the Explanatory Statement accompanying this bill has not yet been released.
 
See "Latest Congressional Budget Action—FY 2014" for a review of the FY 2014 final appropriations for the Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy – National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy – Office of Science, NASA, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Geological Survey.  An FYI on the NOAA - National Weather Service appropriation is available here.   In addition to program funding levels, these ten FYIs contain selections from the working copy of the Explanatory Statement and other materials.  Several Members of Congress released statements regarding the appropriations bill and science. Read more


29 January: State of the Union: Basic Research, Innovation, High-Tech Jobs, Climate Change, STEM Education
: Early in his State of the Union address last night, President Obama highlighted the importance of basic research to American competitiveness.  Obama has mentioned the importance of research  in his previous State of the Union addresses, as did President George W. Bush in his own addresses, dating to 2006.  Read excerpts from the 28 January State of Union regarding basic research and innovation, high technology jobs, climate change, and STEM education.



29 January: Science Committee Discusses Engaging Students and the Public in STEM:
The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a January 9 hearing to discuss engaging students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.  The subcommittee discussed research at the Smithsonian during a January 14 hearing.  The STEM education initiatives under discussion at the January 9 hearing were conducted by private organizations.  Members were interested to learn how the federal government could leverage the resources of private sector STEM education investments.  Improving STEM education activities beyond the scope of those of the federal government has been a longstanding interest of the subcommittee.  Members heard about private sector efforts aimed at strengthening the STEM workforce and the relationship between those and government programs. Read more

28 January: Concerns Expressed About Possible Relocation of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR): Reaction has been swift to the Air Force’s request for public input on the possible relocation of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) from Arlington, Virginia to Dayton, Ohio.  The President of the American Physical Society, a Member Society of the American Institute of Physics, and fifteen senior university officials have sent separate letters to the Air Force expressing significant concerns about the impacts of the relocation.
 
Air Force released a Request for Information seeking public input; asking responders to rank on a four-point scale, ranging from “4 = Significantly Impacts” to “1 = No Impact” “the degree of impact the location of AFOSR has on your organization’s confidence in the Air Force’s ability to manage basic research.”  In addition, “If desired, comments may be provided regarding the basis for your organization’s assessed impact.” The deadline for comment was January 29.  Read more

14-17 January: The FY 2014 appropriations cycle is coming to a close. 13 January, an almost 1,600 page bill was released that was the product of intense negotiations between the House and Senate Appropriations Committees since a budget agreement was announced in December. This omnibus bill, consisting of twelve separate appropriations bills, was passed by the House 15 January by a wide margin, by the Senate 16 January by a vote of 72-26, and has been sent to President Obama. Accompanying the omnibus bill is an Explanatory Statement detailing program funding levels and new language about various programs: 


FY 2014 Appropriations: NIBIB and NIH: 
The National Institutes of Health are funded through the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee wrote its version of the FY 2014 bill (S. 1284); House appropriators did not. Senate committee report 113-71 accompanying the bill detailed the appropriators’ recommendations for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and NIH.

The Statement is not in final form as it includes hand-written notations; the section on the NIH starts on PDF page 134. The introduction to this part of the Statement explains: “In implementing this agreement, the Departments and agencies should be guided by the language and instructions set forth in Senate Report 113-71 accompanying the bill, S. 1284, unless specifically addressed in this statement. In cases where the language and instructions in the Senate report specifically address the allocation of funds, each has been reviewed and those that are jointly concurred on have been endorsed in this statement.” Read more


FY 2014 Appropriations: STEM Education Programs:
The Department of Education’s STEM education programs are funded through the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee wrote its version of the FY 2014 bill (S. 1284); House appropriators did not. Senate committee report 113-71 accompanying the bill detailed the appropriators’ recommendations for STEM programs.

The Statement is not in final form as it includes hand-written notations; the section on the Department of Education starts on PDF page 171. The introduction to this part of the Statement explains: “In implementing this agreement, the Departments and agencies should be guided by the language and instructions set forth in Senate Report 113-71 accompanying the bill, S. 1284, unless specifically addressed in this statement. In cases where the language and instructions in the Senate report specifically address the allocation of funds, each has been reviewed and those that are jointly concurred on have been endorsed in this statement.” Read more


FY 2014 Appropriations: Defense Science and Technology Programs:
Under congressional protocol, previous report language for the House and Senate versions of their FY 2014 bills regarding the Department of Defense’s three science and technology programs stands unless it is contradicted by new language in the Explanatory Statement. The Statement is not in final form as it includes hand-written notations; the extensive section on the 6.1 basic research program, 6.2 applied research program, and 6.3 advanced technology development program starts on PDF page 208. Read more


FY 2014 Appropriations: National Nuclear Security Administration:
Under congressional protocol, previous report language for the House and Senate versions of their FY 2014 bills regarding the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) stands unless it is contradicted by new language in the just-issued Explanatory Statement. The Statement is not in final form as it includes hand-written notations. The extensive section on NNSA is found on PDF pages 70-75, with funding tables on PDF pages 84-87. Read more


FY 2014 Appropriations: NASA:
Under congressional protocol, previous report language for the House and Senate versions of their FY 2014 bills regarding NASA stands unless it is contradicted by new language in the just-issued Explanatory Statement. The Statement is not in final form as it includes hand-written notations; the extensive section on NASA, with a funding table, starts on PDF page 112.  Read more

FY 2014 Appropriations: National Institute of Standards and Technology: Under congressional protocol, previous report language for the House and Senate versions of their FY 2014 bills regarding the NSF stands unless it is contradicted by new language in the just-issued Explanatory Statement. The Statement is not in final form as it includes hand-written notations; the section on the NSF is on PDF page 119. Read more

FY 2014 Appropriations: National Science Foundation: Under congressional protocol, previous report language for the House and Senate versions of their FY 2014 bills regarding the National Institute of Standards and Technology stands unless it is contradicted by new language in the just-issued Explanatory Statement. The Statement is not in final form as it includes hand-written notations; the short section on NIST is on PDF page 69. Read more

FY 2014 Appropriations: DOE Office of Science: An introduction by the appropriators in Division D of the Statement, which includes the FY 2014 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies bill, explains that previous report language for the House and Senate versions of their FY 2014 bills stands unless it contradicted by new language in the just-issued Explanatory Statement. The Statement is not in final form as it includes hand-written notations; the section on the Department of Energy’s Office of Science begins on page 32, with funding charts on page 42c (hand-written.) Read more

15 January: House Science Committee discusses manufacturing and innovation legislation: The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a December 12 hearing to consider a potential national manufacturing innovation network and to discuss H.R. 2996, the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013. The significant influence that manufacturing has on the U.S. economy has been a topic of discussion among policy makers who are concerned about declines in manufacturing employment. “Manufacturing is generally more research and development intensive than other sectors of the economy and therefore more closely tied to the nation’s innovative capacity,” cites a hearing charter prepared by committee staff.

H.R. 2996 authorizes $600 million for the creation of a Network for Manufacturing Innovation Program within the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This Network was based on the President’s FY2013 and FY2014 budget proposal which included funds for a National Network for Manufacturing and Innovation (NNMI). The institutes that would constitute those in the NNMI would each focus on an area of manufacturing technology development and would be supported through public-private partnerships. Read more

10 January: 2014 Congressional Calendar: These Congressional calendars can be used in planning a trip to Washington or for meeting with a representative or senator in their local office. Guidance on arranging and meeting with a senator or representative, or their staff, is available here. Always check with the Member's staff before making plans. Read more