December 12, 2014
Capitol Update

In this issue:



House and Senate Appropriations Committees have released the language for Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus legislation.

Funding for 11 of the 12 annual appropriations bills through the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2015, is included in the legislation. The 12th bill, which funds the Department of Homeland Security, is also included, but only funded under a temporary “Continuing Resolution” mechanism that expires on February 27, 2015.

Highlights of the legislation include:

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) laboratories and research are funded at $676 million, which is $25 million more than the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. 
  • The bill provides $7.3 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF), $172 million more than fiscal year 2014. The increase will provide about 350 more competitive grants supporting 4,100 more technicians, teachers, scientists and students in fiscal year 2015.
  • The bill provides $18 billion investment in NASA, which is $364 million more than the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. Within this total, $4.4 billion is provided for Exploration, including funding to aim to keep the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Space Launch System on schedule.
  • The legislation establishes the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. The agreement includes the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act, or “RAMI.”  ASME has supported this legislation since its inception. To learn more about ASME’s support of RAMI, please visit:

Additional information on the omnibus, including summary documents, reports, and the full legislation, can be found at:



ASME convened a Congressional Briefing entitled, “Accelerating U.S. Advanced Manufacturing: A Report from the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) 2.0.”  The briefing, hosted by ASME, The Dow Chemical Company, Georgia Tech, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, MIT, and UC Berkeley, was aimed at bringing the AMP 2.0 recommendations to Members of Congress and their staff. ASME Industry Advisory Board and Board on Government Relations member Tommy Gardner of Scitor served as the moderator of the event.

The briefing began with remarks by Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY). "That’s what I love about manufacturing here in Washington DC. It is a bipartisan issue. It is not a Democratic thing, it is not a Republican thing. There is a lot of common ground in regard to how to position U.S. manufacturing, to grow U.S. manufacturing, so we make it here to sell it there."

The panel was conducted in a question and answer format, and all the panelists were all AMP 2.0 participants. The moderator was Joseph Ensor, Vice President and General Manager for Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting System Division.  Speakers included Mike Russo, Director of Government Relations for GLOBALFOUNDRIES; Carrie Houtman, Government Affairs Director for The Dow Chemical Company; Ravi Shenker, Global Business Advisor for The Dow Chemical Company; and Krystyn Van Vliet, Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT.  The panelists focused on the three pillars of AMP 2.0 recommendations: Enabling Innovation, Securing the Talent Pipeline, and Improving the Business Climate.  Discussions centered on how the recommendations were formulated, prioritized, and developed.

One topic which all of the panelists addressed was the need for a National Manufacturing Strategy in order for the government and private organizations to bring their resources together for the benefit of U.S. manufacturing and the national economy.  These strategies can be maintained by creating an Advanced Manufacturing Advisory Consortium to keep the strategy on the cutting edge of technology and manufacturing advancements.  Along these lines, the panelists also spoke about the need to leverage resources from all participants including industry, government, and academia.  Where the government can really offer assistance is in disseminating best practices to the stakeholders.

The AMP 2.0 recommendations can be found at:

Video clips of the briefing will be posted on the ASME PPEC website in the coming weeks.



Dr. Franklin (Lynn) Orr was confirmed by the Senate on December 4, 2014 as the Under Secretary for Science and Energy at the Department of Energy.

As Under Secretary for Science and Energy, Dr. Orr will oversee all of the Department of Energy's science research programs, including a majority of the national labs. This position is part of the Department's s recent reorganization, which expanded the Under Secretary for Science role to encompass both science and energy. Dr. Orr's role will include oversight of research in the Offices of Science, Fossil Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Nuclear Energy, Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Indian Energy, and the Technology Transfer Coordinator.

For almost 30 years, Dr. Orr has been a member of the faculty at Stanford University.  In 2009, he helped create the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy, which he has led since its founding.  Before that, he served as the dean of the Stanford School of Earth Sciences and later helped start the Global Climate and Energy project – a ten-year project to research technology options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from energy use.

Dr. Orr has taken part in various studies conducted by the National Academies' National Research Council.  He is also a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment. Dr. Orr received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.



On December 8th, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM), members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced the Promoting Regional Energy Partnerships for Advancing Resilient Energy Systems Act (PREPARE Act), legislation that would help states modernize U.S. energy systems to make them cleaner, more efficient, cost-effective, reliable and resilient. With an aging U.S. energy infrastructure in need of replacement and growing challenges to grid security, the PREPARE Act authorizes the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to enter into regional cooperative agreements with states to provide support and funding that will help states develop strategies and plans that address the unique energy needs of the region. 

The PREPARE Act is modeled off of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, a federal-state-business-NGO partnership.  Introduced in 2008, the partnership provided DOE assistance to the state, which helped convene cross-sectoral working groups and coordinate federal technical assistance. Since its implementation, energy from renewable sources has risen to 18 percent in Hawaii, saving an estimated 794 GWh of electricity and $1.5 billion on electricity bills since 2009.  Hawaii now ranks 10th in the nation in clean energy jobs. 

The PREPARE Act also builds upon the State Energy Program administered by DOE.  The program provides funding and technical assistance to State Energy Offices to prepare state energy plans and implement clean energy and energy efficiency programs. Since its creation in 1996, it has delivered energy cost savings of $256 million per year, and every $1 of federal funds under the program has leveraged $10.71 in private and state funds and returned $7.22 in energy cost savings. PREPARE would have a regional approach and offer assistance on planning.

To read a one-page summary of the bill, or the full text visit:



On December 4th, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released a report indicating that U.S. proved reserves of crude oil and lease condensate increased for the fifth year in a row in 2013 and exceeded 36 billion barrels for the first time since 1975. Proved reserves are estimated volumes of hydrocarbon resources that analysis of geologic and engineering data demonstrates with reasonable certainty are recoverable under existing economic and operating conditions. Reserve estimates change from year to year as new discoveries are made, existing fields are more thoroughly appraised, existing reserves are produced and prices and technologies change.

The report also found that:

  • A sharp increase in proved natural gas reserves in 2013 more than offset the significant decline experienced in 2012, and set a new record (354 trillion cubic feet) for U.S. natural gas proved reserves.
  • An increase in natural gas prices used to characterize existing economic conditions contributed to the reported 2013 increase in proved natural gas reserves.
  • North Dakota's crude oil and lease condensate proved reserves surpassed those of the Federal Gulf of Mexico, ranking it second only to Texas among U.S. states.
  • The Bakken/Three Forks play (covering portions of North Dakota, Montana, and South Dakota) regained its position as the largest tight oil play in the United States.
  • Pennsylvania and West Virginia account for 70 percent of the increase in natural gas proved reserves.

The full report is available at:



On November 12th, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) released its assessment in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, in which the United States Congress directed NERC to conduct periodic assessments of the reliability and adequacy of the bulk power system (BPS) in North America.

The 2014 Long-Term Reliability Assessment (2014LTRA) is a report that provides a wide-area perspective on the adequacy of the generation, demand-side resources, and transmission systems necessary to meet system reliability needs over the next decade. This assessment includes NERC's independent identification of issues that may impact the reliability of the BPS to provide industry, regulators, and policy makers with adequate time to address or otherwise develop plans to mitigate potential reliability impacts caused by these issues. This assessment also documents current industry plans to maintain reliability during the next decade, advising regulators, policy makers, and the general public of existing and potential challenges, complexities, and interdependencies.

The electricity industry provided NERC with resource adequacy projections for the 2015–2024 assessment period. NERC independently assessed these projections and identified three key findings that will impact the long-term reliability of the North American BPS and materially change the way the system is planned and operated. These key findings are:

  • Reserve margins in several assessment areas are trending downward, despite low load growth.
  • Environmental regulations create uncertainty and require assessment.
  • A changing resource mix requires new approaches for assessing reliability.

2014LTRA found that the on-peak resource mix has recently shifted to be predominately gas fired: now 40 percent, compared to 28 percent just five years ago. This trend is expected to continue, as retiring coal, petroleum, nuclear, and other conventional generation is largely being replaced by gas-fired capacity and variable energy resources (VERs). The fundamental transformation of the resource mix—largely driven by environmental regulations, legislation, state and provincial incentives for additional VERs, and impacts of fuel prices, particularly for natural gas—presents new challenges for the electricity industry.

The full report is available at:



A new report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirms concerns raised by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce that the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) do not have a clear, timely, and efficient review process for the export of nuclear technology, resulting in unnecessary delays that may be impeding U.S. competitiveness abroad. The report, “Nuclear Commerce: Additional Actions Needed to Improve DOE’s Export Control Process,” found that reviews can take upwards of a year or more before companies are authorized to export nuclear technology or even, in some case, enter into substantive commercial negotiations.

Energy and Commerce Committee Republican leaders commenced oversight of the administration’s nuclear export review practices in March 2013 to evaluate the impact of forthcoming revisions to so-called Part 810 nuclear technology export regulations and DOE’s implementation of these regulations. In July 2013 the leaders requested GAO assist the committee in this work by examining how Part 810 authorizations are granted and monitored.

With more than 70 new reactors under construction and 435 operating worldwide, there is substantial economic opportunity for U.S. companies and workers. The ability of U.S. companies to supply materials, engineering services, components, and technical data for the construction, operation, and servicing of nuclear power plants outside the U.S. depends on a number of criteria, including the timely issuance of U.S. export licenses and Part 810 authorizations. But in its review, GAO found that “DOE rarely meets its existing target time frames for processing Part 810 applications, which calls into question whether these targets are realistic and achievable in light of its resources and authorities.” The report also concluded, “DOE and NNSA’s current implementation of Part 810 raises questions as to whether the agencies are administering the process in accordance with DOE’s goals and with key principles of federal regulation, which include clarity and consistency.”

GAO provided several recommendations to the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the NNSA to improve the process and reduce authorization delays. DOE, which concurred with the report, is expected to issue revised Part 810 regulations and is taking steps to implement other reforms.

The full report is available at:



The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has opened team registration for the 2015 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge. Organized by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the event will be held April 16-18, 2015, at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, also in Huntsville.

The challenge engages high school, college and university students in hands-on, experiential learning activities, while also testing potential technologies needed for future deep space exploration. Both U.S. and international teams may register to participate. For U.S. teams, registration closes February 6, 2015. Registration for international teams closes January 9, 2015.

Student teams participating in the Rover Challenge must design, engineer and test a human-powered rover on a mock course designed to simulate the harsh and demanding terrains future NASA explorers may find on distant planets, moons and asteroids.

The Human Exploration Rover Challenge encourages research and development in new technologies and engages students in real-world engineering and problem-solving concepts that may be needed on future exploration missions. Through innovative challenges such as this, NASA continues to demonstrate its commitment to inspiring new generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts.

For more information on the 2015 Human Exploration Rover Challenge and registration, visit


Visit the ASME Public Policy Education Center at for daily news and policy developments, including the following:

ASME Government Relations
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 810
Washington, DC 20036

  • Melissa Carl covers public policy-related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and diversity issues for ASME. She can be reached at
  • Paul Fakes covers public policy-related energy, standards and environmental issues for ASME. He can be reached at
  • Roy Chrobocinski covers public policy-related research and development (R&D) and manufacturing issues for ASME. He can be reached at