March 3, 2017
Capitol Update

In this issue:


ARPA-E SUMMIT HIGHLIGHTS BENEFITS OF ENERGY TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION

The economic gains of energy technology innovation were the main focus of presenters at the eighth annual Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Summit this week. The ARPA-E conference and technology showcase brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to discuss America’s energy challenges and advance transformational energy technologies from the lab to the market.

ARPA-E, created by the first iteration of the America COMPETES Act in 2007 and first funded in the 2009 stimulus package under the Obama Administration, is an agency with its roots in clean energy and energy efficiency technology innovations. While past conferences have featured climate change as a key driver for energy technology innovators, this year’s agenda focused on the economic and national security benefits of America’s leadership in energy technology innovation. Since its inception, ARPA-E has received more than $1.8 billion in private sector follow-on funding across 74 projects initiated since 2009, with 56 new energy companies spun-off into the marketplace.

As the Trump Administration proposes dramatic cuts for applied research programs, ARPA-E faces an uncertain future. Even so, Republican Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), as well as Democratic members Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), all offered strong support for the agency, its mission of energy technology innovation, and its model for funding high-risk, high-reward energy technology investments.

The full agenda for the ARPA-E Summit is available at: http://www.arpae-summit.com/


PRESIDENT TRUMP MEETS WITH MANUFACTURING CEOS

At a recent meeting with 24 manufacturing CEOs, President Trump emphasized the need to revive and return manufacturing jobs to the United States. He stated that since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the United States has lost one-third of its manufacturing jobs and there have been 60,000 factories closed since China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO).

However, the President said that he has already seen companies, such as Intel, Ford, GM, Walmart, Amgen, Amazon, and Fiat, promise to make a tremendous investment in the country.  For example, Ford is creating 700 new jobs; Carrier will not offshore over 800 jobs as planned; and Lockheed Martin has announced 1,800 new jobs.

President Trump also cited this statistic in his first joint address to Congress. China, however, is disputing his claim: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/the-latest-ex-mexican-leader-fox-jibs-at-trump-speech/2017/02/28/e029c6ec-fe33-11e6-9b78-824ccab94435_story.html?utm_term=.1ac18a5ff02c

To read more about President Trump’s meeting, go to:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/02/23/remarks-president-trump-meeting-manufacturing-ceos


NEW CRS REPORT EXAMINES LEGAL QUESTIONS RELATED TO INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS

A new Congressional Research Service (CRS) report examines the legal questions (pertaining to both national and international law) raised by the potential U.S. withdrawal from international agreements, such as the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Paris Agreement is a subsidiary to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a broader, framework treaty, which received the Senate’s advice and consent. The Paris Agreement was not submitted to the Senate for approval because the Obama Administration took the position that the agreement was an executive agreement.

However, this may mean that future Presidents can unilaterally withdraw from executive agreements.

As for treaties, which are adopted with the advice and consent of the Senate, the Constitution "is silent as to how treaties may be terminated."

The CRS report is available at: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R44761.pdf


RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING ON STRENGTHENING U.S. CYBERSECURITY CAPABILITIES HELD

On February 14, the House Science Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a hearing on the topic of strengthening U.S. cybersecurity capabilities. Witnesses in attendance were from the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), VMware, Inc., the George Washington University, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

NIST described its work with federal agencies, industry, and academia since 1972, starting with the development of the Data Encryption Standard and its role to research, develop and deploy information security standards and technology to protect the federal government’s information systems against threats.

VMware, a leading provider of security for data centers, described the unprecedented level of cyber-attacks taking place and how it provides world-class secure enterprise software and services to ensure customer safety. It described how it must be able to act on a moment’s notice, whether that information is coming from the U.S. or abroad, and how from the 2009 Commission on Cybersecurity, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) established the Cyber Policy Task Force to lay out practical steps that the next Administration can use to build better cybersecurity.

The GAO laid out the following five steps the federal government needs to take to address cybersecurity:
1) Effectively implement risk-based entity-wide information security programs consistently over time;
2) Improve its cyber incident detection, response, and mitigation capabilities;
3) Expand its cyber workforce planning and training efforts;
4) Expand efforts to strengthen cybersecurity of the nation’s critical infrastructures; and
5) Oversee protection of personally identifiable information better.

Testimony from the hearing can be found here: http://bit.ly/2lIrdr3


NIST/DOE TO HOLD ADVANCED ELECTRICAL POWER SYSTEM SENSORS WORKSHOP

On Friday, March 24, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will host a workshop on Advanced Electrical Power System Sensors, where input is sought from industry by NIST and the Department of Energy (DOE) to assist in determining research priorities concerning emerging and future sensor, transducer, and transformer technology for use in electrical power transmission and distribution systems.

According to electrical power system experts, there is a need for new classes of electrical power system sensors for use in distribution system transformers to measure higher harmonics and protect from geomagnetic disturbances. The main goal is to have facilitated discussion and recommendations for future research in this area.

For more information about registration, please visit:
https://www.nist.gov/news-events/events/2017/03/nistdoe-advanced-electrical-power-system-sensors-workshop


TWO DIVERSITY-RELATED STEM BILLS SIGNED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP

On February 28, President Trump signed two science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) bills into law: H.R. 255 and H.R. 321.

H.R. 255, authored by Representative Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), is known as the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act. It would expand efforts at the National Science Foundation (NSF) to encourage entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world.

The text of H.R. 255 can be found at:  https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/255/text

H.R. 321, authored by Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA), is entitled the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act, and directs NASA to produce a plan within 90 days to expand its engagement with women and girls in the STEM fields. 

The text of H.R. 321 is available at:  https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/321/text

The STEM Education Coalition, of which ASME is the engineering co-chair, was very pleased that President Trump signed both bills, issuing the following statement: “The coalition supports comprehensive efforts to expand the capacity and diversity of the STEM workforce pipeline, including targeted initiatives to promote the inclusion of underrepresented minorities, women, and other high-need populations in STEM fields.”

Visit the ASME Public Policy Education Center at http://ppec.asme.org/ for daily news and policy developments, including the following:
*Neglecting Research Today Threatens U.S. Innovation Tomorrow
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/neglecting-research-today-threatens-us-innovation-tomorrow/
*New Power Converter for Internet of Things Reduces Resting Power Consumption by 50 Percent
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/energy-news/new-power-converter-for-internet-of-things-reduces-resting-power-consumption-by-50-percent/
*Bill Gates: ‘Robots That Take Jobs Should be Taxed Just Like the People They Replace’
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/bill-gates-robots-that-take-jobs-should-be-taxed-just-like-the-people-they-replace/
*3D Opportunity for Healthcare-Demystifying FDA Regulations for Medical Devices http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/manufacturing-news/3d-opportunity-for-healthcare/

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