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April 2017 Public Policy News

The March for Science Takes Place Globally 22 April: The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. Over 350 marches are being organized around the globe, encouraging people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted. To learn more about the movement and to find a march near you visit:  www.marchforscience.com

SPIE Participating in Congressional Visits Day this Month:
Representatives from SPIE will be in DC this month to participate in Congressional Visits Day. SPIE encourages other members of the optics and photonics community to advocate for light-based technologies by taking part in this event, 25-26 April 2017. This is an annual opportunity to meet members of Congress and help educate them about importance of light science and technology. To learn more about training and how to participate visit:  lightourfuture.org/cvd

13 April 2017: The Podesta Group to Deliver Industry Presentation at SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2017: Josh Holly of the Podesta Group will deliver a presentation on the Industry Stage Thursday 13 April 2017 at SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing in Anaheim. The leading Washington DC lobbyist will speak on Navigating Defense and the Budget in President Trump's Washington, addressing what is being heard on the Hill regarding budgets behind emerging technologies and science as they pertain to defense.  Read More

11 April 2017: Export Control Panel Discussion at SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2017: A draft version of the fiscal year 2018 budget outline for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposes a 17 percent cut in funding for the weather and climate agency. NOAA research would face a 26 percent cut, while satellites and data would be cut 22 percent.  Read More

4 April 2017: Federally Funded R&D Center Funding Rebounded: The nation's 42 federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) reported spending $18.5 billion on research and development (R&D) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, their first rebound after several years of declining or flat expenditures, according to a new report from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES).  Read More

29 March 2017: White House Requesting Immediate $3 Billion Cut to R&D Budgets: President Trump has asked Congress to impose an $18 billion cut in non-defense spending in its appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2017. According to a leaked document, the White House has suggested that about $3 billion be taken from R&D programs. Several key congressional appropriators have said it is too late in the fiscal year to consider such large cuts.  Read More.

29 March 2017: Trump Wants 2018 NIH Cut to Come from Overhead Payments: The Trump administration could slash $5.8 billion from the 2018 budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), yet still fund as least as much research by eliminating overhead payments to universities and research institutions, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price told lawmakers 29 March.  Read More

28 March 2017: Senator Seeking Greater Transparency in Research Underpinning Regulations: Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) has introduced a bill that would set standards for how federal agencies consider scientific findings when developing regulations. At a hearing he convened on the subject, he called for increased transparency and accessibility of scientific inputs to regulatory decisions.  Read More

27 March 2017: President Trump Signs Executive Order Rolling Back Obama-Era Environmental Regulations: President Donald Trump signed a sweeping executive order Tuesday 27 March intended to shift the direction of U.S. environmental policy and begin the process of undoing some of the most significant Obama-era environmental regulations.  Read More

22 March 2017: Experts in Advanced Materials Warn of Waning U.S. Leadership: Last week, experts in advanced materials testified before a House subcommittee on the potential of their work and the challenges they face. Warning of declining U.S. leadership in their field, they urged increased federal support for R&D as well as policy changes to speed technology commercialization.  Read More

16 March 2017: A Grim Budget Day for U.S. Science: Analysis and Reaction to Trump's Plan: President Donald Trump rolled out his first budget request to Congress 16 March. It is for the 2018 fiscal year that begins on 1 October. It calls for deep cuts to some federal science, and is likely to draw fierce opposition from the scientific community and many lawmakers in Congress.  Read More

10 March 2017: Both Parties Pushing Legislation in the Name of Scientific Integrity and Transparency: Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers are invoking the cause of scientific integrity and transparency to advance certain legislative proposals. The Democratic bills would codify standards of conduct and protections for federal scientists, while the Republican bills would reform the use of science in the federal rulemaking process.  Read More

7 March 2017: NASA Transition Authorization Act Passes House: On 7 March, the House passed S. 442, the "NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017", by voice vote under suspension of the rules. This bipartisan and bicameral bill authorizes NASA appropriations for Fiscal Year 2017. On 17 February, S. 442 was passed in the Senate by Unanimous Consent.
Among its notable provisions, the bill puts America on the path to sending humans to the surface of Mars; emphasizes the importance of safety in NASA's implementation of the Commercial Crew Program; and provides former astronauts and payload specialists with medical monitoring, diagnosis, and treatment.  Read More

Read other past issues of the Public Policy News.