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Science Policy Updates

The Office of Government Relations publishes a weekly e-newsletter, the AAAS Policy Alert, which provides an inside look at policies affecting science and technology and the S&T community to AAAS members.

 

Excerpt from the 11/05/19 AAAS Policy Alert:

USDA Picks Research Agency Relocation Site. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the selection of Kansas City, Missouri, as the new location for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Economic Research Service (ERS). The relocation of NIFA and ERS has drawn controversy among USDA employees and within Congress. According to the USDA, 76 of 329 ERS positions will remain in DC, while 21 of 344 NIFA positions will remain in DC.  However, the majority of USDA employees declined to relocate, leaving the department with vacant positions to fill. 

 

Excerpt from the 7/29/19 AAAS Policy Alert:

House Advances Budget Deal, Senate Next. Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives advanced the recent deal to raise the spending caps and avoid sharp cuts, with 65 Republicans joining 219 Democrats in support of the bill. The Senate is expected to adopt the deal this week with the president’s support before heading out for August recess. The deal is necessary to avoid a 10 percent spending drop in FY 2020 with serious repercussions for science agencies. As reported last week, the deal would raise the nondefense cap by $27 billion, or 4.5 percent, above FY 2019 levels and the defense cap by $20 billion, or 3.0 percent, mostly through deficit spending. The caps would be held nearly flat in the deal’s second year, covering FY 2021.

Once the deal is final, Congress will still need to finalize FY 2020 appropriations this fall. The House has completed most of its work, while the Senate is expected to push hard on its spending bills in September. With an October 1 deadline looming, a continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown will almost certainly be required, and the political conflict over the border situation may complicate things.  

Excerpt from the 10/02/18 AAAS Policy Alert:

Shutdown Averted: Defense, Health Spending Finalized for FY 2019. Last week, the House adopted, and then President Trump signed, the FY 2019 Defense/Labor-HHS spending package. As previously reported, the package provides a $2 billion, or 5 percent, increase for the National Institutes of Health and even larger relative increases for Department of Defense research programs. The package also contains a continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown and extend current funding to December 7. Several research agencies — including the National Science Foundation and NASA — will have to wait until after the midterms to receive a final appropriation for FY 2019.

 

Excerpt from the 9/25/18 AAAS Policy Alert:

CRS Reports Now Public. Last week, the Congressional Research Service launched a new website designed to make more of its nonconfidential reports public. CRS serves as an in-house think tank, conducting analysis and research for Members of Congress and their staffs on a wide range of policy issues.

 

Excerpt from the 9/18/18 AAAS Policy Alert:

Survey on International Movement and Science.new survey conducted by RAND Europe asked 2,465 researchers from 109 countries about their experiences with visiting or relocating to other countries for research-related purposes. More than 75 percent of respondents had moved to live in another country for research training or work at some point during their career. Nearly all respondents to the survey stated that international movement had helped in forming collaborations and developing ideas, skills and expertise, and many questioned how changes to the United States’ immigration and visa policies and ‘Brexit’ may affect scientists’ travel into and out of the U.S. and the U.K. to participate in research or scientific conferences. The survey concluded that “The benefits of international movement are felt by all, but obstacles to movement are currently felt disproportionately by some. Widening the accessibility of international movement would help research to flourish and strengthen research systems.”

The online survey was commissioned by Together Science Can, an international initiative to “highlight and protect international scientific collaborations,” and the Wellcome Trust. AAAS is a partner organization in the Together Science Can campaign.