In this issue:
HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE PROPOSES LARGE CUTS FOR COMPETES AGENCIES IN FY 2011
The House Committee on Appropriations recently released a list of some 70 spending cuts it is advocating as part of the House GOP’s proposal to fund the federal government through the remainder of FY 2011. These spending cuts reflect the spending allocation guidelines adopted by House appropriators, the so-called “302(b) allocations,” which require spending levels for the 12 appropriations bills to be rolled back to 2008 levels for the remainder of FY 2011. Those allocations for non-security appropriations represent a $42.6 billion reduction below FY 2010 spending or about $41 billion below annualized levels of spending in the Continuing Resolution (CR) currently funding the budget through March 4th.
“The Budget Committee has outlined a responsible and prudent level of funding for the federal government for the rest of fiscal year 2011, said Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers. “The Appropriations Committee will not only craft legislation that will meet the budget committee’s non-security discretionary total of $58 billion, but go even further to find savings in virtually every area of the federal government, reducing spending from the President's fiscal year 2011 request by a total of $74 billion.”
To view the spending limits and cuts for each of the Appropriations Subcommittees, go to: http://republicans.appropriations.house.gov/_files/2311SubcommitteeAllocationsforFY11ContinuingResolution302bs.doc
Facing continued pressure from freshman Republicans, Chairman Rogers announced his intent later in the week to go even further with proposed spending cuts, stating that his committee would conduct an additional review of the above figures and aim to reduce discretionary spending by $100 billion in FY 2011. To achieve the $100 billion spending reduction, the House Appropriations Committee is proposing deep cuts, such as:
- -$899M from Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy;
- -$169M from DOE Nuclear Energy;
- -$1.1 billion for the DOE Office of Science;
- -$189M from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST);
- -$379M from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA);
- -$139M from the National Science Foundation (NSF);
- -$1.6B from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and,
- -$1.4B from the Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee Authority.
For a complete list of the proposed cuts, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=259*****
“SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH” HIGHLIGHTED AT BRIEFING CONVENED FOR NEW MEMBERS OF THE 112TH CONGRESS
ASME recently joined with the Task Force on American Innovation (TFAI) to convene a briefing on Capitol Hill emphasizing the importance of federal funded scientific research. ASME is a long-time member of the TFAI, an alliance of America's leading companies, research universities, and scientific societies dedicated to advancing science and education issues.
The briefing, entitled “Building the Future Today: How Scientific Research Drives Economic Growth and National Security,” provided an overview of U.S. and international research practices, how government funded research is used by the private sector, and how research ties in to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security. Opening remarks were provided by the Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) Co-Chairs of the Congressional Research and Development (R&D) Caucus. Speakers included Doug Raaberg, Director of U.S. Air Force and Space Programs at Northrop Grumman, Kathleen Kingscott, Director of Global Strategic Partnerships at IBM, and Tobin Smith, Vice President of the Association of American Universities.
Key points of discussion included:
- Scientific research leads to the creation of new jobs and industries.
- Federal research funding does double duty by supporting both research and education activities at US universities.
- U.S. companies depend on federal initiatives for access the outcomes from basic research which is too risky for the private sector to support.
- Federally funded basic research has direct ties to Congressional Districts all around the country and the entire nation’s long-term economic growth and national security.
Presentations from the briefing are available online at: http://www.researchcaucus.org/
Paul Fakes covers research and development (R&D) public policy related issues for ASME. He can be reached at email@example.com. *
REPORT: A MORE COMPREHENSIVE CAREER PATHWAYS NETWORK NEEDED TO BETTER SERVE AMERICAN YOUTH
A report issued by the Harvard Graduate School of Education earlier this month contends that America is failing to prepare millions of its young people to lead successful lives as adults and advocates development of a comprehensive pathways network to serve youth in high school and beyond. “Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century,” billed as a major report on the state of career and technical education (CTE) in America, contends that the U.S. national strategy for education and youth development has been too narrowly focused on an academic, classroom-based approach which has produced only incremental gains in achievement and attainment.
"We are the only developed nation that depends so exclusively on its higher education system as the sole institutional vehicle to help young people transition from secondary school to careers, and from adolescence to adulthood," says Robert Schwartz, academic dean and professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, who heads the Pathways to Prosperity Project. “Unless we are willing to provide more flexibility and choice in the last two years of high school, and more opportunities for students to pursue program options that link work and learning, we will continue to lose far too many young people along the path to graduation.”
The pathways system outlined in the report would be based on three essential elements:
- The development of a broader vision of school reform that embraces multiple pathways to help young people successfully navigate the journey from adolescence to adulthood to replace the current emphasis on a single pathway to success: attending and graduating from a four-year college. This would include far more emphasis on career counseling and high-quality career education, as well as apprenticeship programs and community colleges as viable routes to well-paying jobs.
- A greatly expanded role for the nation's employers in supporting the pathways system, and in providing more opportunities for young adults to participate in work-based learning and actual jobs related to their programs of study.
- The development of a new social compact between society and its young people to ensure that by the time they reach their mid-20s, every young adult will be equipped with the education and experience he or she needs to lead a successful life as an adult.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan attended the release of the report and offered the following observations: “Thank you for shining the spotlight on the critical field of career and technical education. For far too long, CTE has been the neglected stepchild of education reform. That neglect has to stop. The need to re-imagine and remake career and technical education is urgent. CTE has an enormous, if often overlooked impact on students, school systems, and our ability to prosper as a nation.” The entire text of the Secretary’s remarks may be viewed at http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/new-cte-secretary-duncans-remarks-career-and-technical-education
To read the 52-page report, go to: http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news_events/features/2011/Pathways_to_Prosperity_Feb2011.pdf
Melissa Carl handles public-policy related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education issues for ASME. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org*****
EPA APPROVES E15 BLENDS FOR CARS MADE IN LAST DECADE
In late January of 2010, the EPA announced its approval of blending for up to 15 percent ethanol with gasoline for use in all passenger vehicles made in the last decade. The Agency also announced that no waiver is being granted this year for E15 use in any motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles, or non-road engines because current testing data does not support such a waiver.
On October 13, 2010, EPA approved a waiver allowing the use of E15 for model year (MY) 2007 and newer cars and light trucks. At that time, EPA denied a request to allow the use of E15 for MY 2000 and older vehicles, as well as postponed its decision on the use of E15 in MY 2001 to 2006 cars and light trucks until DOE completed additional testing for those model years.
“Recently completed testing and data analysis show that E15 does not harm emissions control equipment in newer cars and light trucks,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said today. “Wherever sound science and the law support steps to allow more home-grown fuels in America's vehicles, this administration takes those steps.”
Ethanol is an alcohol that can be mixed with gasoline to result in a cleaner-burning fuel. E15 is a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. The primary source of ethanol is corn, but other grains or biomass sources may be used, such as corn cobs, cornstalks, and switchgrass.
The “Energy Independence and Security Act” (P.L. 110-140) mandated an increase in the overall volume of renewable fuels into the marketplace, reaching a 36 billion gallon total by 2022. Ethanol is considered a renewable fuel because it is produced from plant products or wastes and not from fossil fuels. Ethanol is blended with gasoline for use in most areas across the country.
EPA granted the waiver after considering the E15 petition submitted by Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers in March 2009. In April 2009, EPA sought public comment on the petition and received about 78,000 comments.
To learn more about the new E15 partial waiver, please visit: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/f0d7b5b28db5b04985257359003f533b/8206ab91f87cec088525781f0059e65c!OpenDocument
The text of the E15 partial waiver itself can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/regs/fuels/additive/e15/e15-2nd-waiver.pdf
Robert Rains handles public policy-related environmental issues for ASME. He can be reached at: email@example.com
NEW TIP THREE-YEAR PLAN OUTLINES FUTURE R&D GRANT DIRECTIONS FOR NIST
NIST recently released a research funding roadmap, called the “Three-Year Plan”, which outlines the topics of possible future competitions for R&D funding under the agency’s Technology Innovation Program (TIP). The roadmap, which looks three years past the current fiscal year, proposes a range of TIP competitions in the fields of civil infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, health care, water resources, complex networks and sustainability.
TIP provides cost-shared funding, on a competitive basis, for high-risk technology R&D that offers solutions to specific critical national needs identified by TIP. TIP funds cost-shared R&D projects by single small-sized or medium-sized businesses or by joint ventures that also may include institutions of higher education, non-profit research organizations and national laboratories. TIP awards are limited to no more than $3 million total over three years for a single company project and no more than $9 million total over five years for a joint venture.
Proposed TIP competition topics through FY 2014, according to the plan, would include: advanced sensing technologies and advanced repair materials for civil infrastructure; advanced materials, bio-manufacturing and manufacturing processes and robotics and intelligent automation for manufacturing; technologies to enable a smart grid; technologies for personalized medicine; technologies for water availability; complex networks; and sustainability.
TIP has posted staff-written white papers detailing the scope of potential future competitions in civil infrastructure, energy, health care, manufacturing, robotics and water resources, and invites comments from the public.
This report is now available at: www.nist.gov/tip/upload/tip_programmatic_plan_fy2011_fy2014_01_25_2011.pdf,
To review the aforementioned white papers, go to: www.nist.gov/tip/wp/.
TIP also seeks white papers from the public in any areas of critical national need, including those not listed above. To submit ideas to TIP, see the TIP call for white papers at: www.nist.gov/tip/frn/upload/tip_frn_notice_seeks_white_papers_10_29_10.pdf
Robert Rains covers NIST public policy related issues for ASME. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS EXTENDED FOR 2011 NATIONAL MEDAL OF SCIENCE
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has extended the call for nominations for the 2011 National Medal of Science. The new deadline is March 31, 2011. NSF is especially interested in identifying women, members of minority groups, and persons with disabilities for consideration.
The National Medal of Science was established by the 86th Congress in 1959 as a Presidential Award to be given to individuals "deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences." In 1980 Congress expanded this recognition to include the social and behavioral sciences.
A Committee of 12 scientists and engineers is appointed by the President to evaluate the nominees for the Award. Since its establishment, the National Medal of Science has been awarded to 468 distinguished scientists and engineers whose careers spanned decades of research and development. The recipients’ database from 1962 to the present can be searched at: http://www.nsf.gov/od/nms/recipients.cfm
Information on the nomination process is available at: http://www.nsf.gov/od/nms/nominations.jsp.
Nominations are to be submitted through the FastLane system at: https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/honawards/index.jsp
THE ARTICLES CONTAINED IN CAPITOL UPDATE ARE NOT POSITIONS OF ASME OR ANY OF ITS SUB-ENTITIES, UNLESS SPECIFICALLY NOTED AS SUCH. THIS PUBLICATION IS DESIGNED TO INFORM ASME MEMBERS ABOUT ISSUES OF CONCERN BEING DEBATED AND DISCUSSED IN THE HALLS OF CONGRESS, IN THE STATES, AND IN THE FEDERAL AGENCIES.
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