March 17, 2017
Capitol Update

In this issue:


Due to the Capitol Update production schedule, the coverage of President Trump’s proposed budget will begin in the March 24th edition of Capitol Update.


HOUSE MAJORITY AND SENATE MINORITY RELEASE VIEWS AND ESTIMATES ON THE FY18 SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING BUDGET

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee (Majority) recently released its FY18 Views and Estimates letter. In the letter, the committee recommends that NSF be funded at the directorate level with 70 percent of the funding allocated to the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate, the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate, the Biological Sciences Directorate, and the Engineering Directorate. This research funding will help promote economic growth, create millions in skilled private sector jobs, improve technological innovation, heighten productivity gains, and enhance the nation’s international competitiveness and security. In regards to NSF funding, the House Majority’s letter recommends that NSF ensure that the research it funds is in the national interest. There is some concern in the science and engineering community that these increases will lead to possible cuts to social and behavioral research at NSF. Coalitions like the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF), of which ASME is a member, are supportive of broad-based increases for NSF, but do not express support for one Directorate over another.

The House’s letter does not mention manufacturing in its Views and Estimates. In the Senate Science Committee’s (Minority) own FY18 Views and Estimates, the Senate Committee specifically calls for support for continued funding for the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AMNPO) and Manufacturing USA (MFG USA), stating:

“In recent years, NIST stood up the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office, which coordinates the Manufacturing USA institutes across the country. This program, which promotes American competitiveness, is supported by industry and academia, and we strongly endorse continued funding.”

The letter goes on to state that “During the 115th Congress, the Committee will review the authorization of agencies and programs within its jurisdiction and, specifically with regard to lapsed authorizations, determine whether programs would be reauthorized or terminated.” MFG USA was authorized very recently in 2015. The committee also expects to reauthorize key science and engineering agencies, including the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Institutes for Standards and Technology (NIST), while calling to “Reduce Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy R&D and ARPA-E funding in Function 270 by at least $750 million.”

In addition to supporting MFG USA and AMNPO, the Senate’s Minority letter supports increased investment in NSF, stating, “We strongly support real growth for the NSF, and recommend providing $8 billion for the agency in FY 2018, $279 million above the baseline for this agency.”

To view the House (Majority) letter, please visit: https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/Views%20and%20Estimates%20FY%202018.pdf   

To view the Senate (Minority) letter, go to: http://ppec.asme.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/03.10.17-BN-MC-AK-RB-BS-EM-CB-TU-TD-Letter-to-Sanders-and-Enzi-re-Views-...-003.pdf


SELF-DRIVING CARS TOPIC OF HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE HEARING

At a recent Congressional hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, witnesses spoke to how automatic vehicle (AV) cars will saves lives and reduce traffic congestion on highways. General Motors was one of the first to testify about its next-generation of self-driving test vehicles at its Orion Assembly facility in Michigan, which is fully equipped with self-driving technology, including redundant systems of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), cameras, sensors and other hardware and software designed to assure safety.

Volvo Car Corporation, headquartered in Sweden, is known for its safety standards and spoke to how the United States needs to develop a consistent national framework to advance these life-saving technologies. The current patchwork of varying state requirements and proposals could deter autonomous driving (AD) technology. In 2016 after several states took various approaches to AD regulation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy (FAVP). This voluntary guidance applies to AD vehicles that are SAE level 2, 3, 4 and 5.  NHTSA has also said: “DOT strongly encourages States to allow DOT alone to regulate the performance of HAV technology and vehicles.”

Witnesses also spoke to how states are rushing to regulate AVs and the challenges associated with emerging regulations. Witnesses recommended that in order to facilitate the continued innovation, testing, and development of AVs by all industry participants, Congress should revisit NHTSA’s exemption authority to allow for a greater number of autonomous vehicles to be allowed on the road for testing and deployment purposes. Another action would be to direct NHTSA to begin a rulemaking to update current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) to accommodate the development, deployment, and introduction into commerce of AVs on a commercial scale.

Additional information can be found at: https://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings-and-votes/hearings/self-driving-cars-road-deployment


NIST LAUNCHES BETA SITE FOR THE COMPUTER SECURITY RESOURCE CENTER

The NIST CSRC Redesign Team is in the process of developing a new version of the Computer Security Resource Center (CSRC). Currently, there is a beta release for review at https://beta.csrc.nist.gov, where there are more publications, an updated glossary based on  NIST’s Glossary of Key Information Security Terms, and a responsive design for mobile device users. NIST is accepting feedback on the beta site, which will eventually replace www.csrc.nist.gov

There is also a February NIST bulletin that supports incident response recovery due to increased incidents of cyberattacks, which is detailed in a recently published Special Publication (SP) 800-184, Guide for Cybersecurity Event Recovery. The guide focuses on two phases of recovery: tactical and strategic. With the tactical recovery phase achieved through the execution of the recovery playbook, the second phase is strategic-focused on the continuous improvement of all of the Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity functions to mitigate an attack.

The aforementioned guide is available at: http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistbul/itlbul2017-02.pdf


IN-PERSON CONGRESSIONAL VISITS AND EMAIL MESSAGES FROM CONSTITUENTS HAVE SIGNIFICANT INFLUENCE ON CONGRESS

The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) supports the work of citizen groups to help them understand how Congress works. It recently released a report detailing the most effective means of contacting Congress to obtain public policy results and increase Congressional accountability, transparency and effectiveness.

According to the report, 94 percent of staffers say that in-person visits around issues have a lot of influence, as well as customized or individualized email messages directly from their constituents. It is also important to build long term relationships with members and their staff by meeting with the legislative assistants responsible for handling the particular issue, as well as bringing them information on the impact a particular policy decision will have back in their congressional districts or state. Citizen advocates should also continue to enhance their advocacy skills, so that they are “very prepared” for the questions they will likely receive.

ASME is once again serving as the Directorate of the Engineering Public Policy Symposium, which is co-sponsored by over 50 other engineering societies, on April 25, 2017. ASME members who will be attending will be participating in Congressional visits. If you are not attending, please follow us on Twitter that day at #ASMEHillDay for our tweets related the event.

For additional information about the CMF report, please visit: http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/report-shows-untapped-power-of-constituent-advocacy/


EVENT FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY & ENERGY EFFICIENCY CAUCUSES FEATURES SUSTAINABLE ENERGY IN AMERICA FACTBOOK

For the fifth year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy have produced the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, which provides the latest industry information and trends from the energy efficiency, renewable energy, and natural gas sectors in the United States.

The rollout of this factbook was accompanied by a briefing on Capitol Hill held in conjunction with the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucuses, where it was agreed that sustainable energy is the new normal. Panelists were from Johnson Controls, National Grid, Calpine Corporation, and Ingersoll Rand, and they discussed how investment and improvements in energy efficiency have increased dramatically; that our energy infrastructure needs to be part of policy discussions, including as it relates to transportation and building infrastructure; and certain regions of the electricity market are not amenable to “one-size-fits-all” solutions.

Other highlights were that in 2016, GDP went up 1.6 percent while energy consumption went down 0.2 percent due to increased energy efficiency. There were also more investments being made in sustainable energy with renewable energy's share of total power production increasing from 8 to 15 percent since 2007.

To download the ebook and watch the briefing, please visit: http://www.eesi.org/briefings/view/021017factbook


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW ACT

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has published a new report explaining the Congressional Review Act (CRA), an oversight tool that Congress can use to overturn a federal agency-issued rule. The CRA came about as part of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), which was signed into law in 1996. CRA mandates that agencies report on their rulemaking activities to Congress and provide Congress with the procedures by which it may consider legislation to overturn those rules.

Before a rule can take effect, a federal agency must submit a report to each body of Congress and the Comptroller General containing a copy of the rule; a concise general statement relating to the rule, including whether it is a major rule; and the proposed effective date of the rule. Upon receipt of the report in Congress, Members of Congress have certain period of time to take action on a joint resolution of disapproval where if both houses pass the resolution, it is sent to the President for signature or veto. If the President were to veto the resolution, Congress could vote to override the veto. If the joint resolution of disapproval is signed by the President, then the “rule shall not take effect (or continue)” and all provisions, even previously in effect, would be retroactively negated.

Due to the fact that CRA can reach back sixty legislative days, lawmakers can most likely target any completed rules submitted to Congress on or since June 13, 2016, which would include rules on methane emissionslabor law violations, and permitting requirements and monitoring of coal mining operations

The new CRS report can be found here: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43992.pdf

Visit the ASME Public Policy Education Center at http://ppec.asme.org/ for daily news and policy developments, including the following:
*North American Trade is Powerful in Energy Despite Uncertainty of NAFTA
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/north-american-trade-is-powerful-in-energy-despite-uncertainty-of-nafta/
*Scientists Make Step Towards Humans Guiding Robots by Telepathy
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/scientists-make-step-towards-humans-guiding-robots-by-telepathy/
*Is Yucca Mountain Once Again America’s Nuclear Waste Dump?
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/is-yucca-mountain-once-again-americas-nuclear-waste-dump/
*Ford’s New Room-Sized 3D Printer Upends Additive Manufacturing as We Know It
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/fords-new-room-sized-3d-printer-upends-additive-manufacturing-as-we-know-it/

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ASME Government Relations
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Washington, DC 20036
Website: http://www.asme.org/about-asme/advocacy-government-relations

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