July 20, 2018
Capitol Update

In this issue:


HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE PROVIDES $1.25 BILLION INCREASE TO NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH FOR BRAIN RESEARCH AND OTHER INITIATIVES

The House Appropriations Committee recently marked up its fiscal year 2019 (FY19) Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) bill. The marked up version includes a $1.25 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from fiscal year 2018, bringing the FY19 total to $38.3 billion. Within this figure, the bill provides increased funding for several key initiatives under NIH such as a $29 million increase for the Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative, bringing the FY19 total to $429 million. These numbers are similar to the Senate version of the bill, which gave the NIH a $2 billion increase.

The Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF) received an $860 million increase from FY18, bringing the new total to $2.8 billion. This figure includes $587 million for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a $50 million increase from FY18.

The Committee also provided the Department of Education with a $43 million increase, bringing the FY19 total to $71 billion. This includes $1.9 billion for career, technical and adult education programs, which is an almost $115 million increase over FY18. Several programs, including the Regional Partnership Grants and Project AWARE State Grants were terminated, but despite these cuts, LHHS Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole positively reflected on the bill stating “This bill is one that supports and benefits all Americans.”

To view the full mark-up, click here: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP00/20180626/108473/BILLS-115HR-SC-AP-FY2019-AP00-Labor__Bill.pdf


25,000 JOBS CREATED OR RETAINED THANKS TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION’S FY17

Throughout fiscal year 2017, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) invested roughly $289.1 million in locally-driven economic development projects across the country. In its FY17 report, the EDA estimates that these investments will help create or retain roughly 25,233 jobs, and generate more than $3.4 billion in private investment. The EDA is an agency under the Department of Commerce tasked with leading the federal economic development agenda, and fostering innovation and competiveness with the economy.

The report provides a breakdown of all of EDA’s activities by state, including the agency’s $17 million Reginal Innovation Strategies program, which aims to encourage entrepreneurship in both urban and rural communities across the country. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs Dennis Alvord surmised, “Through our comprehensive grants programs providing support for infrastructure, disaster recovery, economic adjustment, planning, trade adjustment assistance, access to capital and technical assistance, EDA partners with communities throughout the economic development lifecycle, from planning through implementation. With this flexible set of tools, EDA is able to support a wide range of community needs.”

To view the full report, click here: https://www.eda.gov/files/annual-reports/fy2017/EDA-FY2017-Annual-Report-full.pdf


DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AWARDS $20M TO FUND NINE ADVANCED NUCLEAR PROJECTS

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that it has selected nine projects to receive almost $20 million in funding for cost-shared research and development for advanced nuclear technologies through a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) with the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE). This is the second group of projects to receive funding through this FOA. Further groups will be selected for additional funding through a quarterly application process over the next five years.

One of the primary roles NE plays is supporting research and development that is focused on reducing the risk and cost of advanced nuclear technologies. As Secretary Perry explained in a DOE press release, “DOE is investing in advanced nuclear technologies, because we are looking to the future. Nuclear energy is a critical part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy for the country, and early-stage research can help ensure it will continue to be a clean, reliable, and resilient source of electricity.”

The NE funding solicitation is broken into three funding pathways:

  • First-of-a-Kind (FOAK) Nuclear Demonstration Readiness Project pathway, intended to address major advanced reactor design development projects or complex technology advancements for existing plants which have significant technical and licensing risk and have the potential to be deployed by the mid-to-late 2020s.
  • Advanced Reactor Development Projects pathway, which allows a broad scope of proposed concepts and ideas that are best suited to improving the capabilities and commercialization potential of advanced reactor designs and technologies.
  • Regulatory Assistance Grants pathway, which provide direct support for resolving design regulatory issues, regulatory review of licensing topical reports or papers, and other efforts focused on obtaining certification and licensing approvals for advanced reactor designs and capabilities.


Additional funding awards are available under the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear program (GAIN). The goal of GAIN projects is to accelerate the commercialization of innovative nuclear energy technologies. The first round two deadline for GAIN applications is August 17.
For further information on GAIN, click here: https://gain.inl.gov/SitePages/Nuclear%20Energy%20Vouchers.aspx

For further information on NE, click here: https://www.energy.gov/ne/office-nuclear-energy


SHELL AND CHEVRON RECEIVE FIRST STEEL TARIFF EXCLUSIONS TO IMPORT FOREIGN MADE PRODUCTS

Earlier this year, the Trump administration announced it would be imposing 25 percent tariffs on steel imports, and ten percent tariffs on aluminum imports. This announcement was met with consternation from the energy sector as many expressed concerns regarding increased prices for infrastructure materials just as the U.S. oil and gas production was set for an expansion.

In a sign of what may be an eventual turning of the tides, the Department of Commerce recently granted a one-year tariff exclusion for steel casing and production tubing to Shell that the company needs for its well drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico. It also granted a similar one-year exemption to Chevron for corrosion-resistant stainless steel tubing.

"It does not serve the national security to delay or increase the cost of fuel extraction in the absence of domestic alternatives, particularly when the natural resources extracted will only serve to fuel the US economy's continued growth," Shell stated in its request for an exemption. Chevron also stated national security as a justification for its tariff exclusion. Both companies are looking to import steel from the Japanese Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal. In addition to reasons of national security, both companies requested the exclusions as the product they need is not manufactured in the U.S.


FDA TO HOLD PEDIATRIC MEDICAL DEVICE DEVELOPMENT PUBLIC MEETING AUGUST 13-14

On August 13 and 14 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be holding a public meeting on “Pediatric Medical Device Development.” The meeting will be held at the FDA White Oak Campus in Silver Spring, MD, and will also be available to live stream via webinar. Registration is required for both in-person and webinar attendance.
The primary goal of the meeting is to identify strategies to improve the infrastructure surrounding the development and innovation of pediatric medical devices and will include consideration of ways to:

  • Improve research infrastructure and research networks to facilitate the conduct of clinical studies of pediatric devices;
  • Appropriately use extrapolation under section 515A(b) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 360e-1(b));
  • Enhance the appropriate use of post market registries and data to increase pediatric medical device labeling;
  • Increase FDA assistance to medical device manufacturers in developing devices for pediatric populations that are approved or cleared, and labeled, for their use;
  • Identify current barriers to pediatric device development and incentives to address such barriers.


For more information and to register for this event, click here: https://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/NewsEvents/WorkshopsConferences/ucm596777.htm


ADVANCED ROBOTICS FOR MANUFACTURING AWARDS $1.4 MILLION TO RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE TO STRENGTHEN U.S. MANUFACTURING

Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) recently announced that it has awarded Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) $1.4 million in project funding in its first round of solicitations to strengthen U.S. manufacturing. RPI’s project focuses on improving manufacturing productivity through the use of advanced robotics.

John Wen, principal grant investigator and professor and head of industrial and systems engineering at RPI explained, “This ARM project allows us to bring a large team together to advance robotics technology and workforce training in manufacturing and industrial automation. Our students are gaining valuable experience from working with industrial professionals and the exposure to real-world needs and requirements. We look forward to the continuing partnership with ARM and NYSTAR to help companies adopt advanced robotics technologies.”

ARM is one of the 14 established manufacturing innovation institutes that comprises Manufacturing USA. Established during the Obama administration, the Manufacturing USA institutes are public-private partnerships that each have a specific technology focus, but share the common goal of bolstering the state of American manufacturing through innovation, education and collaboration.

To learn more about Manufacturing USA, click here: https://www.manufacturingusa.com/pages/how-we-work

To learn more about ARM, click here: http://arminstitute.org/

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.

ASME Government Relations
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 810
Washington, DC 20036
Website: http://www.asme.org/about-asme/advocacy-government-relations
Paul Fakes is the Regulatory and Government Relations Manager, Technology Policy. He covers Standards and Energy and Environment.
Samantha Fijacko is the Senior Government Relations Representative. She covers Advanced Manufacturing, Robotics and R&D.
Anne Nadler is the Government Relations Representative. She covers Bioengineering, STEM Education and R&D.