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February 2014 Public Policy News

21 February: Senator Mikulski on the Outlook for Webb Space Telescope and NASA: 
Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee as well as its subcommittee having jurisdiction over NASA, gave an upbeat report to NASA employees earlier this month about funding for the agency and the James Webb Space Telescope.

Mikulski spoke at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt MD to mark the delivery of all of the telescope's eighteen primary mirrors and its four science instruments. The telescope will be assembled at Goddard by 2016 for a scheduled 2018 launch. Appearing with Mikulski was NASA Administrator Charles Bolden who commented that "the recent completion of the critical design review for Webb, and the delivery of all its instruments to Goddard, mark significant progress for this mission." Read more

12 February: Important Reading:
Science and Engineering Indicators 2014:  The National Science Board has released a report that has long been viewed as "the gold standard" on the state of science and engineering in the United States and other countries. This report, Science and Engineering Indicators 2014, is important reading for anyone interested in STEM topics, including education, workforce, national and international R&D trends, academic R&D, the global knowledge and technology marketplace, public attitudes and understanding, and state performance. Read more

11 February: President’s Council of Advisors Releases Reports on Education Information Technology
: The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) submitted a recent 9-page letter report to the President addressing the development of massive open online courses (MOOC) and the role of technology in education.   The development of information technology for use in higher education is of particular interest to PCAST and to the Administration as they seek to address the rise in higher education costs. Read more

6 February: Positive Hearing on Critical Minerals Bill: Uniform and enthusiastic support was expressed at a January 28 hearing for the goals of a Senate bill to increase the domestic supply of critical minerals that are used in a wide range of high-technology products. The bipartisan nature of the Senate bill contrasts with a House bill passed last September on a largely party-line basis. The Administration has not yet taken an official position on the legislation. Read more