February 24, 2017
Capitol Update

In this issue:


CONGRESSMAN TIM RYAN INTRODUCES BIPARTISAN, BICAMERAL LEGISLATION TO ESTABLISH A U.S. CHIEF MANUFACTURING OFFICERS

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) was joined by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Steve Daines (R-MT), as well as Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL), to introduce legislation to establish the position of U.S. Chief Manufacturing Officer in the Executive Office of the President. Representatives Ryan and Reed are Co-Chairs of the bipartisan House Manufacturing Caucus.

The U.S. Chief Manufacturing Officer (CMO) will be responsible for coordinating manufacturing-related policies and activities across agencies. The CMO will also develop a national manufacturing strategy to revitalize the manufacturing sector, spur economic growth, and expand United States competitiveness.

“Manufacturing is the lifeblood of our economy, and the backbone of the middle class. Our manufacturing sector employs 9% of the United States workforce and makes up 12% of our GDP. Its importance cannot be overstated, manufacturing plays a critical role in almost every part of our economy, stretching from construction to pharmaceuticals; transportation to agriculture. Nearly 5 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2000, mostly due to automation, trade deals and off-shoring. We introduced this legislation to ensure that we are looking at the big picture, and doing everything in our power to give American manufacturing the tools it needs to grow and thrive,” said Rep. Ryan.  

For more information, please visit: http://timryan.house.gov/press-release/congressman-tim-ryan-introduces-bipartisan-bicameral-legislation-establish-us-chief


NASA STUDIES COSMIC RADIATION TO PROTECT HIGH-ALTITUDE TRAVELERS

With the growing interest in space travel, NASA scientists have been studying the effect of high-altitude radiation on high-altitude travelers, such as aviation industry crew and passengers working in potentially higher radiation environments. 

High-energy particles, called cosmic rays, are coming in from outer space and crashing into molecules in the atmosphere such as nitrogen and oxygen, causing high energy particles to decay through the process of nucleonic and electromagnetic cascades. While on earth, the earth’s magnetosphere shields most of the radiation from reaching the people on earth; but in the thin atmosphere of the stratosphere, these particles can affect humans and electronics.

Earth’s magnetosphere, which acts as a giant magnetic shield, blocks most of the radiation from ever reaching the planet. Particles with sufficient energy, however, can penetrate both Earth’s magnetosphere and atmosphere, where they collide with molecules of nitrogen and oxygen. These collisions cause the high-energy particles to decay into different particles through processes known as nucleonic and electromagnetic cascades.

Additional information can be found at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170127112918.htm


HOUSE SCIENCE COMMITTEE OUTLINES TOP FIVE PRIORITIES FOR COMMITTEE MAJORITY

At the beginning of each Congress, it is a standard procedure for the Chairmen of committees to announce their priorities. Below is a summary of the House Science Committee Majority’s priorities as outlined by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX):

  • Cutting Government Red Tape, Emphasizing Sound Science at EPA:  The Science Advisory Board Reform Act and the Secret Science Reform Act will be revisited to further highlight the Environmental Protection Agency’s need to use sound science and transparent data to justify its rules and regulations. The committee also intends to examine the Social Cost of Carbon.
  • Reforms to Department of Energy Programs:  Prioritizing basic research at the Department of Energy, and limiting spending on late-stage commercialization programs that distort the energy market. Critical reforms are needed to ensure the DOE spends limited federal research dollars on discovery science that the private sector cannot conduct, not loan guarantees and subsidies.  With the DOE the largest sponsor of federal research in the physical sciences, there will be a prioritization of investments in user facilities and research infrastructure.
  • STEM Education and Reauthorization of NSF and NIST Programs:  Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education initiatives are a priority as well as initiatives that include computer science.  The READ Act, STEM, and major facilities reforms will be addressed under the paradigm of the National Science Foundation, as well as reauthorizing the National Institute of Standards and Technology programs.
  • Constancy of Purpose within NASA:  Ensure that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration pursues a balanced portfolio of programs and builds upon the progress made towards development of the Space Launch System, Orion, and the commercial crew and cargo programs.  
  • Oversight of FDIC Cybersecurity Failures, FISMA, and Ongoing Investigations:    Under the Federal Information Security Modification Act, there will be ongoing oversight of government-wide cybersecurity.

More information can be found at:  https://science.house.gov/news/press-releases/science-space-and-technology-committee-announces-priorities-115th-congress


FRONTIERS OF MACHINE LEARNING ALLOWS COMPUTERS TO LEARN WITHOUT EXPLICIT PROGRAMMING

A two-day program on the frontiers of machine learning recently took place at the National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington, D.C. Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that allows computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.

Session 1 focused on the frontiers of machine learning looking at the ubiquity of data, accessibility of computing power, and how algorithmic advances have driven rapid progress in machine learning, which still require human creativity to advance. Session 2 focused on machine learning and a society where humans and machine learning systems are increasingly interacting through a range of applications and raises legal and ethical questions about the uses of data. Session 3 dealt with the R&D of machine learning in academia, research labs, and industry and propels each community to continue advancements in this field.

To learn more, go to: http://www.nasonline.org/programs/sackler-forum/about.html


NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING’S 2016 U.S. FRONTIERS OF ENGINEERING SYMPOSIUM PROCEEDINGS PUBLISHED

The National Academies Press has released a volume on the topics covered at the National Academy of Engineering's 2016 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium held in late 2016. The symposium brought together 100 outstanding young leaders in engineering to share their cutting-edge research and innovations in selected areas. The book conveys the excitement of this unique meeting, and highlights innovative developments in engineering research and technical work, such as virtual reality headsets, water desalination and purification, and extreme engineering in space, on land and under water.

To read more, please visit: http://bit.ly/2lmJ8Dz


NATIONAL MEDAL OF TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION NOMINATIONS BEING ACCEPTED

The National Medal of Technology and Innovation (NMTI) is our nation’s highest honor for technological achievement. The President of the United States bestows this award on America's leading innovators annually to individuals, teams of up to four, companies, or divisions of companies for outstanding contributions to America’s economic, environmental and social well-being.

The purpose the award is to recognize those who have made lasting contributions to America's competitiveness, standard of living, and quality of life through technological innovation, and to recognize those who have made substantial contributions to strengthening the nation's technological workforce.

Nominations for the 2017 National Medal of Technology and Innovation will be accepted starting in January 2017 and the deadline for nominations is April 7, 2017.

Read more at: www.uspto.gov/nmti

Visit the ASME Public Policy Education Center at http://ppec.asme.org/ for daily news and policy developments, including the following:

*Summary of the Deloitte Report on Manufacturing USA: A Third Party Evaluation of Program Design and Progress
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/a-summary-of-the-deloitte-report-on-manufacturing-usa-a-third-party-evaluation-of-program-design-and-progress/
 *Bipartisan Governors Urge Trump to Back Renewable Energy
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/bipartisan-governors-urge-trump-to-back-renewable-energy/
 *Mayor of London Reveals Plans for UK’s Largest 3D Printing Centre
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/mayor-of-london-reveals-plans-for-uks-largest-3d-printing-centre/
 *Enhancing Human Safety with Robots
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/enhancing-human-safety-with-robots/

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Website: http://www.asme.org/about-asme/advocacy-government-relations