The $75 billion emergency supplemental appropriations bill, H.R. 4899, is awaiting action in the Senate. The House had added $16.2 billion in spending offset by cuts to other programs just before the July 4 recess. A full Senate calendar may push consideration of the bill to next week. After passing a budget enforcement resolution and marking up six of the twelve appropriation bills in subcommittee, the House has slowed its work on appropriations while the Senate catches up. However, there are no markups or action on the budget resolution scheduled for this week in the Senate, as it is busy with the financial reform conference report and other pressing matters.
Visit the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program Website
to order the AAAS Report XXXV: Research and Development FY 2011
, download presentation slides or audio from the Forum, and get additional news on the FY 2011 budget.
Other Congressional News
Climate Bill Would Cut Deficit. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the American Power Act, the climate change bill introduced by Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Lieberman (I-CT), would reduce the federal deficit by about $19 billion over the next decade. The bill is one of several under consideration by the Senate as it works to finalize a strategy for bringing climate and energy bills to the floor.
Alternative Bill Proposed for National Cyber Center. On June 24 Senators Kit Bond (R-MO) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced S.3538, a cybersecurity bill clearly intended as an alternative to the Lieberman-Collins-Carper bill (S. 3480; see 6/16/10 Policy Alert). The latter has moved quickly through markup and approval by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, chaired by Lieberman (I-CT). Key differences between the bills include (a) the administrative location for a National Cyber Center (Homeland Security Department for the Lieberman bill; Defense Department for the Bond bill); and (b) the inclusion (Lieberman) vs. exclusion (Bond) of a cybersecurity office within the White House. Interestingly, the Bond bill has been referred to Lieberman’s Homeland Security Committee. Senate Committee Faults Nuclear Detection Agency.
A 2005 presidential directive established the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to create a system or "architecture" to detect nuclear or radiative materials at entry points to the United States. However, at a recent hearing
before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME) concluded that DNDO has "[failed] to achieve its core mission" and "needs to be fixed." A January 2009 report by the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) found the agency had failed to develop a strategic plan and had been “distracted" by efforts to develop a particular detection technology. A second hearing is planned for July 21 to hear from DHS, which did not send a witness to the first hearing.
President's Bioethics Panel Holds First Meeting. President Obama's Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues had its first meeting last week. The panel dealt with emerging issues in the field of synthetic biology, which Obama had asked the commission to examine after the announcement in May that Craig Venter and his team had created a bacterial cell controlled by a chemically-synthesized genome.
PCAST Meeting. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) will meet on July 16, and will hear reports from the Science Envoys, as well as updates on the Health Information Technology Study, the STEM Education Study, and the President’s Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC).
Presidential Appointments. Last week President Obama announced the recess appointment of Phillip E. Coyle, III to serve as the new Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Coyle most recently served as a Senior Advisor to the President of the World Security Institute. Obama nominated Coyle in November 2009, but an anonymous hold was placed on his appointment by one or more Senators who objected to Coyle’s stance on national missile defense systems.
On July 13, President Obama announced his intention to nominate Jacob Lew for Director, Office of Management & Budget. Lew would replace current director Peter Orszag who is departing the White House for the private sector. Lew is currently serving as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and previously served as the Director of the OMB during the Clinton Administration.
Mixed Reviews on Administration’s Dealing with Scientific Integrity. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a nonprofit whistleblower group, is calling attention to a delay in scientific integrity rules by the Obama administration. In a July 9, 2009 memorandum to federal departments and agencies, the President laid out his general principles on scientific integrity and declared his intent to augment those principles and others in detailed rules. PEER executive director Jeff Ruch noted that a year later those rules still have not been issued, claiming that “federal agency science is still manipulated for political reasons largely because there are still no rules against it." The Union of Concerned Scientists told the Tribune Washington Bureau that it has received complaints from scientists in key agencies about the difficulty of speaking out publicly. In a June 18 post on the Office of Science and Technology Policy website, White House science adviser John P. Holdren said the process of issuing the scientific integrity rules has been “more laborious and time-consuming" than expected. But he said “there should not be any doubt that these principles have been in effect" since Obama’s memo a year ago.
Comment on this at the Policy Alert Discussion Space
You must be a registered user to post comments.Join
or sign in
New Air Quality Regulations Issued. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new regulations to cut fine-particle pollution and ground-level ozone (smog) that drifts across the borders of eastern states. The regulation, called the transport rule, would reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants by 71% and nitrogen oxide by 42% by 2014 compared with 2005 levels. The proposal would replace the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which a federal appeals court ordered the EPA to revise. EPA will take public comment on the proposal for 60 days. Because the regulation will likely face legal challenges, Senate Environment and Public Works Clean Air Subcommittee Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) called on Congress to pass legislation they have developed that would make similar changes.
Program to Monitor for Cyberattacks on Critical Infrastructure Networks. The Wall Street Journal has reported that a $100 million contract has been issued by the National Security Agency to Raytheon Corporation to develop a program called “Perfect Citizen." The program will create a system to monitor vital agencies and private utilities against cyberthreats. Perfect Citizen will look at large, typically older computer control systems that were often designed without Internet connectivity or security in mind. Many of those systems -- which run everything from subway systems to air-traffic control networks -- have since been linked to the Internet, making them more efficient but also exposing them to cyberattack. Comments Sought on Agency Strategic Plans.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is seeking public comment through August 10 on its Next Generation Strategic Plan
. Also, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking public review and comments of its draft strategic plan
. Comments are due July 26.
Wisconsin Researcher Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges. The U.S. Justice Department has issued a press release announcing that former University of Wisconsin geneticist Elizabeth B. Goodwin has pled guilty in federal court to fraudulently submitting a grant progress report containing falsified data that misrepresented the progress of genetic research at the lab she directed. She will be sentenced in September and faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Foreign Student S&E Enrollments in U.S. Continue to Rise. NSF reports that foreign enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities increased by 4% for science and engineering in the fall of 2009, a larger increase than in recent years. Engineering (17%) and computer sciences (7%) were the two largest fields enrolling foreign students. Foreign enrollment rose in 2009 in all S&E fields except psychology. Mathematics and economics showed the greatest percentage gains.
Draft of Science Education Standards Framework Posted for Comment. A preliminary public draft of “A Framework for Science Education" has been posted for comment on the National Academies’ website by the Board on Science Education. The Standards Framework Project, supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, aims to develop a framework to guide the development of new science education standards. Comments are requested by August 2.
Climate Scientists Cleared. Another investigation into issues raised by leaked e-mails from climate scientists has largely vindicated the scientists involved. The Independent Climate Change Email Review, led by former U.K. civil servant Muir Russell, said the scientists acted honestly and that their research was reliable. The report did note that the scientists at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit should have made their data more readily available. Upon release of the findings, the University reinstated Phil Jones as the Climatic Research Unit director of research. Jones had stepped aside while the investigation was being conducted.
IPCC Issues Rules for Media Contacts. Contributors to the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have received a letter from IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri urging them to “keep a distance from the media" and send any press inquiries about the work of their author group to IPCC leadership, according to a “Dot Earth" blog post by Andew C. Revkin, formerly a staff reporter for The New York Times. In a response to Revkin, Pachauri said the researchers are free to talk with reporters about their own work and organizations but “should desist at this stage on speaking on behalf of the IPCC."
One Win, One Loss for Agricultural Biotechnology in Europe. Faced with a huge range of views among its member states on the acceptability of genetically modified foods, the European Commission has effectively thrown up its hands and proposed giving national and local governments the power to decide on whether or not to allow the growing of GMO crops. The continuing stalemate in the E.U. over GMOs has limited the growth of the agricultural biotechnology sector in Europe. Almost simultaneously, however, the European Parliament has moved in the other direction, calling for a ban on the sale of foods from cloned animals and their offspring. Discussing the logic behind the proposed ban, one French parliamentarian noted that “Although no safety concerns have been identified so far with meat produced from cloned animals, this technique raises serious issues about animal welfare, reduction of biodiversity, as well as ethical concerns."
Archived issues of AAAS Policy Alert can be found at http://www.aaas.org/spp/policyalert.
Publisher: Alan I. Leshner
Editor: Steve Nelson
Contributors: Joanne Carney, Patrick Clemins, Ed Derrick, Laura Edwards, Mark Frankel, Amy Fuller, Erin Heath, Earl Lane, Shirley Malcom, Gretchen Seiler, Al Teich, Ric Weibl, Kasey White, Brad Wible
NOTE: The AAAS Policy Alert is a newsletter provided to AAAS Members to inform them of developments in science and technology policy that may be of interest. Information in the Policy Alert is gathered from published news reports, unpublished documents, and personal communications. Although the information contained in this newsletter is regarded as reliable, it is provided only for the convenience and private use of our members. Comments and suggestions regarding the Policy Alert are welcome. Please write to email@example.com.