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Science Policy Updates

Looking for highlights from this week in science policy? This page features selections from the AAAS Policy Alert, a weekly e-newsletter which provides an inside look at policies affecting science and technology and the S&T community to AAAS members. AAAS members may sign up to receive the alert on their AAAS Profile in the Contact Preferences Section.

 

Policy Alert

August 03, 2021

ACTION ITEM

AAAS is soliciting nominations of candidates for the annual William D. Carey Lecture, which is delivered at the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy. The lectureship recognizes individuals who in their own way exemplify Carey’s leadership in articulating public policy issues engendered by the application of science and technology.

If you know of someone who deserves consideration for this honor, please send their name, title, short bio and a few sentences outlining their qualifications to Nicolle Rutledge at AAAS (nrutledg@aaas.org) no later than 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Aug. 11. For more information and a list of past recipients, visit this page.

 

COVID-19 NEWS

CDC Updates Mask Guidelines

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its mask guidelines in the wake of the emergence of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19. Americans are now encouraged to wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status in order to protect the unvaccinated, including children under 12.

 

Florida Executive Order Prohibits Schools From Requiring Masks

Florida is quickly becoming the epicenter of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and school districts across the state are deciding what mitigation efforts they will put in place for the start of the school year, which is within the next few weeks. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued an executive order on Friday giving the state’s Board of Education the authority to withhold funding from schools that require students to wear masks.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Tuesday, October 12 – Wednesday, October 13

Registration is open for the virtual AAAS Forum on Science & Technology Policy, where individuals interested in public policy will discuss major current challenges affecting science, policy and society. The forum gives participants exclusive access to participate in discussions with the nation’s top experts and decision-makers on the most important public policy issues facing the science, engineering and academic communities.

 

House Adopts Eight Spending Bills

Last week, the House adopted nine out of 12 annual spending bills, including a massive seven-bill package funding several major science agencies, though not legislation funding NASA and the National Science Foundation as House leaders had hoped. AAAS estimates this year’s House legislation would yield a combined $169 billion for R&D in FY 2022, a 7.1% increase from the current year, but with much larger increases for certain agencies.

 

BUDGET & FINANCE OUTLOOK

House Adopts Eight Spending Bills

Last week, the House adopted nine out of 12 annual spending bills, including a massive seven-bill package funding several major science agencies, though not legislation funding NASA and the National Science Foundation as House leaders had hoped. AAAS estimates this year’s House legislation would yield a combined $169 billion for R&D in FY 2022, a 7.1% increase from the current year, but with much larger increases for certain agencies.

 

Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Reached

Text of the new $1 trillion package, which may pass the Senate this week, just days after the deal was made, was released Sunday, clocking in at 2,702 pages. According to a White House fact sheet , in addition to a variety of research programs related to traditional infrastructure, the bill includes $73 billion for energy research, development and demonstration as well as infrastructure and $21 billion for environmental remediation, including capping orphaned gas wells. If the package does pass the Senate, it will likely be held up in the House until Democrats can reach a deal on a separate, additional $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.