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December 2014 Public Policy News

23 December: Looking Ahead to the Next Budget Request: Coalition Asks Administration to Prioritize DOE Science: The federal budget cycle never stops. Although President Obama just signed the $1.1 trillion appropriations bill last week providing funding for FY 2015, work on the request he will send to Congress early next year has long been under development. A coalition of 70 scientific associations and universities has sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan last month strongly urging the Obama Administration to "provide robust and sustained funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science and the important research and scientific facilities it supports, and to make this funding a priority." Among those signing this letter were the American Institute of Physics and two of its Member Societies, the American Astronomical Society and the American Physical Society. Read more

18 December: In Perspective: FY 2015 S&T Budget Outcomes: Review of the FY 2015 appropriations cycle is complete. See Latest Congressional Budget Action - FY 2015 for appropriations outcomes for federal science agency and department programs providing significant support for physical sciences and STEM education.

Congress and the Obama Administration crafted the FY 2015 budgets under very tight constraints. Total discretionary spending rose just 0.2 percent over last year. FY 2015 funding rose for some S&T line items tracked by FYI and fell for others. Read more

For more detail on FY 2015 Appropriations:

14 December: Congress Approves Brown-Blunt Manufacturing Bill In Omnibus: U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio) applauded the U.S. Senate's passage last evening of the "Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act" (RAMI). The bipartisan legislation was included in the appropriations omnibus bill, which is now headed to President Barack Obama's desk. Read more

11 December: FACT SHEET: President Obama Launches Competitions for New Manufacturing Innovation Hubs and American Apprenticeship Grants: At a meeting of the President's Export Council (PEC), President Obama will announce nearly $400 million to help improve the competitiveness of American businesses and workers by spurring new manufacturing innovations and giving America workers additional opportunities to improve and expand their skill sets for middleclass jobs. Read more

11 December: AAAS Looks at R&D Funding in the FY 2015 Omnibus: The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 83), released this week, is a massive 1,600-page bill that would fund most federal agencies through the end of the 2015 fiscal year next September. The deadline for passage to avoid a shutdown is actually today, December 11, but Congress is likely to pass a continuing resolution to buy a few more days' time. While some climate-related riders did not make it into the bill, controversy has emerged over other areas, including immigration and financial reform. Read more

8 December: Recent Reports: Basic Research Funding, Materials R&D: The American Academy of Arts & Sciences released a report reinforcing many of the findings and recommendations of the 2005 report Rising Above the Gathering Storm. Early this year the Defense Materials Manufacturing and Infrastructure Standing Committee, acting under the auspices of the National Research Council, convened a two-day workshop to examine "the impact of big data on materials and manufacturing." A report was recently issued summarizing the discussions of the 50 workshop participants. Read more

4 December: Encouraging Signs for FY 2015 Appropriations; Senate Confirms Orr; Coalition's Recommendations for DOE Office of Science and ARPA-E Funding
Read more

3 December: Energy Sciences Coalition Urges Congress to Confirm DOE Nominations: The Energy Sciences Coalition, a broad based coalition of organizations representing scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in universities, industry and national laboratories, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) requesting that the Senate move promptly to confirm Franklin M. (Lynn) Orr, Jr. and Marc Kastner to serve as Under Secretary for Science and Energy and Director of the Office of Science at the Department of Energy. Read more

3 December: Space Science, BRAIN Initiative, DARPA, Ebola Discussed at PCAST Meeting: The agenda for a November meeting of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology was wide-ranging, with upbeat briefings on NASA science, corporate investments in the BRAIN Initiative, DARPA, and the federal government's response to Ebola. Read more