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Public Policy News from the Second Quarter 2018

SPIE applauds Senate introduction of bipartisan quantum legislation, House Science Committee action on quantum legislation
28 June 2018

The National Quantum Initiative Act generates a comprehensive national policy, encouraging critical quantum research and technology as well as a knowledgeable workforce. Read the SPIE press release

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, along with members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, announced Tuesday the introduction of Senate and House companions (S. 3143 and H.R. 6227) of the National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018. The legislation would accelerate and coordinate public and private quantum science research, standards, and workforce development to give the United States a competitive advantage as China and Europe vie to achieve technological breakthroughs in this field. Read the Senate press release.

Read the full text of S. 3143, the National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018.

Read a statement from the National Photonics Initiative.

Coalition for National Science Funding Appreciates the Senate Appropriations Committee for its Support for Scientific Research
22 June 2018 

The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) – a broad-based group of professional organizations, universities, businesses, and scientific societies that advocates for sustained, robust federal support for science – issued the following statement on S. 3072, the FY19 Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. SPIE is included as a signer of the statement.

$50 billion in tariffs to be imposed by the U.S. on Chinese imports include numerous photonics products
15 June 2018 

A press release by the U.S. Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) discusses the new trade tariffs poised to be imposed on China by the U.S. on June 15th, 2018 and approved by President Trump; the tariffs are of "25 percent on approximately $50 billion worth of Chinese imports containing industrially significant technologies, including those related to China's 'Made in China 2025' industrial policy."

Laser Focus World breaks down photonics products affected by Chinese import tariffs. Read More

Smith Announces Intent to Introduce National Quantum Initiative Act
12 June 2018

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology announced that it is preparing to introduce the National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018 to support a coordinated Federal program to accelerate quantum research and development. The legislation will be formally introduced by Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) as early as next week and considered by the House Science Committee the week of 25 June.

Read the Committee press release.

Download a one-pager on the bill.

Read press releases from SPIE and from the National Photonics Initiative.

Science Committee seeks to launch a National Quantum Initiative
29 May 2018 

The House Science Committee plans to introduce a bill next month that would create a 10-year National Quantum Initiative aimed at increasing America’s strategic focus on quantum information science and technology development. Read More

Comments on DS-260 Application for Immigrant Visa and DS-160 Application for Nonimmigrant Visa
24 May 2018 

SPIE joined 55 other scientific organizations in comments to the State Department via the federal register for two notices published 30 March 2018 expanding the vetting for all immigrant and nonimmigrant applicants. Last May similar increased vetting procedures were proposed but affected a more limited number of applicants. The 30 March notices would expand those vetted to 710,000 immigrants and 14 million non-immigrants annually. The comments supported by SPIE focus on the potential impact the proposal would have on scientific exchange and collaboration. Read the comments

CFIUS Outbound Technology Review Removed from Proposed Legislation during Committee Consideration
U.S. interagency emerging and foundational technology review added
22 May 2018

Today both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives considered the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) in their respective committees of jurisdiction, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and House Financial Services Committee.

As originally introduced by Senator Cornyn and Representative Pittenger, FIRRMA would have added authority to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFUIS) to conduct an outbound technology review for any type of arrangement with a foreign person, such as a joint venture. Many companies and industry representatives, including SPIE, expressed strong concerns with this proposed new layer of review outside of the current process for export controls.

As a result of this input and negotiation, both committees removed this outbound technology provision during markup today, and instead establish an “emerging” and “foundational” technology review as part of the current export control process. Though there are some differences between the House and Senate bills, the basic concept is the same.

The emerging and foundational technology review would begin with an interagency process, including the Department of Commerce, Defense, Energy, and State, to identify the list of technologies considered emerging and foundational. The Department of Commerce would retain primary authority over deciding the level of control imposed on the technology identified in this new review process. However, Congress prescribes some minimum control levels in the bill, requiring a license for items identified as “emerging” or “foundational” to any “country subject to an embargo, including an arms embargo, imposed by the United States.” This notably includes China, as they are an arms embargoed country.

Both Senate and House amendments call for different kinds of reports following enactment. The Senate amendment calls on the Department of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence to review within 180 days on “key national security technology capability advantages, competitions, and gaps between the United States and ‘‘near peer’’ nations” in conjunction with the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA).

While the House amendment calls for a review within 180 days on whether 744.21 of U.S. regulations should be expanded to all arms embargoed countries. Currently, this section only affects China, Venezuela and Russia. Also, the language calls for the review of unlicensed items on the Commerce Control List going to countries with an arms embargo.

SPIE will continue to track this legislation as it moves through Congress and advocate for SPIE member companies.

NIST Seeks Public Input to Help Increase Return on Investment from Federal Research
2 May 2018 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register on May 1, 2018 to gather information about the current state of Federal technology transfer and the public’s ability to engage with Federal laboratories and access federally funded R&D through collaborations, licensing, and other mechanisms. The announcement includes four public forums that NIST will hold on May 17 in San Jose, California; May 21 in Denver, Colorado; May 31 in Chicago, Illinois; and June 14 in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Registration is now open for these public forums.

The approximately $150 billion invested annually in Federal research and development (R&D) funding plays a crucial supporting role in U.S. economic growth and national security. To ensure that investment reaps the largest commercial, economic, and national security returns possible, NIST and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) are co-leading the Lab-to-Market cross agency priority (CAP) goal in the recently released President’s Management Agenda. To carry out these efforts, NIST has launched the Return on Investment (ROI) Initiative to streamline and accelerate the transfer of technology from Federal Laboratories and federally-funded R&D at universities.

Through the RFI and the public forums, NIST is seeking broad input from Federal R&D, intellectual property, and technology transfer stakeholders in the public and private sectors to identify critically-needed improvements to Federal technology transfer efforts.  Read More

Read other past issues of the Public Policy News.