May 19, 2017 Capitol Update

In this issue:


WHITE HOUSE HAS ESTABLISHED AN OFFICE OF AMERICAN INNOVATION AND AN OFFICE OF TRADE AND MANUFACTURING POLICY

President Donald J. Trump has established the White House Office of American Innovation (OAI) that is tasked with making recommendations to the President on policies and plans that improve government operations and services, improve American quality of life, and spur job creation.

The President has appointed Senior Advisor Jared Kushner to lead this effort, along with Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Gary Cohn, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy Andrew Bremberg, Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives Chris Liddell, Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental and Technology Initiatives Reed Cordish, and Senior Counselor to the President for Economic Initiatives Dina Powell.

Also in May, the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy (OTMP) was established in the White House with the mission to “defend and serve American workers and domestic manufacturers while advising the President on policies to increase economic growth, decrease the trade deficit, and strengthen the United States manufacturing and defense industrial bases.” 

OTMP will perform the following functions:

  • advise the President on innovative strategies and promote trade policies consistent with the President's stated goals;
  • serve as a liaison between the White House and the Department of Commerce and undertake trade-related special projects as requested by the President; and
  • improve the performance of the executive branch's domestic procurement and hiring policies.

Additional information can be found at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/03/27/president-donald-j-trump-announces-white-house-office-american 
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/05/01/presidential-executive-order-establishment-office-trade-and


NEW CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE REPORT, CYBERSECURITY: CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE AUTHORITATIVE REPORTS AND RESOURCES

The new Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, Cybersecurity: Critical Infrastructure Authoritative Reports and Resources, is a primer for those new to the topic of cybersecurity issues as they relate to critical infrastructure by providing authoritative sources such as studies from government agencies (federal, state, local, and international), think tanks, academic institutions, news organizations, and other sources.

Critical infrastructure is defined in the report as “systems and assets, physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health and safety, or any combination of those matters.”

In Presidential Decision Directive 63, the following was listed as critical infrastructure: information and communications; banking and finance; water supply; aviation, highways, mass transit, pipelines, rail, and waterborne commerce; emergency and law enforcement services; emergency, fire, and continuity of government services; public health services; electric power, oil and gas production; and storage.

The aforementioned CRS report can be found at: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44410.pdf


HOUSE ENERGY SUBCOMMITTEE HOLDS HEARING “LEGISLATION ADDRESSING PIPELINE AND HYDROPOWER INFRASTRUCTURE MODERNIZATION”

The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy recently held a hearing to review legislation that would reform the regulatory process for many pipeline and hydropower infrastructure projects. Witnesses from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), National Hydropower Association, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, Association of Oil Pipe Lines, International Union of Operating Engineers, American Rivers and the Eastern Environmental Law Center provided testimony related to several pipeline and hydropower modernization bills proposals from the Committee.

Hydropower has been an essential component of America’s energy strategy. It accounts for almost 6 percent of total U.S. electricity generation and 46 percent of electricity generation from renewables. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. hydropower production could grow by almost 50 percent from current levels by 2050 from a combination of upgrading existing hydropower facilities, adding generation capacity to existing non-powered dams and canals, and developing new hydropower facilities.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has jurisdiction over non- Federal hydropower projects. Both Republicans and Democrats on the Committee spoke about their support for efforts to reform the licensing process for hydropower projects with the goal of increasing hydropower use.

The Committee discussed a number of infrastructure-related issues, including construction of cross-border energy infrastructure, environmental issues with pipeline and hydropower infrastructure projects, and how to promote closed-loop pump storage, small conduit facilities, and other modernization and enhancement issues.

To read the testimony, learn more about the bills, and watch the hearing, go to:

https://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings-and-votes/hearings/legislation-addressing-pipeline-and-hydropower-infrastructure


HOUSE ENERGY SUBCOMMITTEE HOLDS HEARING “LEGISLATION ADDRESSING PIPELINE AND HYDROPOWER INFRASTRUCTURE MODERNIZATION”

The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy recently held a hearing to review legislation that would reform the regulatory process for many pipeline and hydropower infrastructure projects. Witnesses from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), National Hydropower Association, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, Association of Oil Pipe Lines, International Union of Operating Engineers, American Rivers and the Eastern Environmental Law Center provided testimony related to several pipeline and hydropower modernization bills proposals from the Committee.

Hydropower has been an essential component of America’s energy strategy. It accounts for almost 6 percent of total U.S. electricity generation and 46 percent of electricity generation from renewables. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. hydropower production could grow by almost 50 percent from current levels by 2050 from a combination of upgrading existing hydropower facilities, adding generation capacity to existing non-powered dams and canals, and developing new hydropower facilities.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has jurisdiction over non- Federal hydropower projects. Both Republicans and Democrats on the Committee spoke about their support for efforts to reform the licensing process for hydropower projects with the goal of increasing hydropower use.

The Committee discussed a number of infrastructure-related issues, including construction of cross-border energy infrastructure, environmental issues with pipeline and hydropower infrastructure projects, and how to promote closed-loop pump storage, small conduit facilities, and other modernization and enhancement issues.

To read the testimony, learn more about the bills, and watch the hearing, go to:
https://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings-and-votes/hearings/legislation-addressing-pipeline-and-hydropower-infrastructure


CRS REPORT PROVIDES OVERVIEW OF CRISPR-CAS9 MARKET PROJECTIONS, INVESTMENTS, AND R&D SPENDING

In a recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report entitled Advanced Gene-Editing: CRISPR-Cas9, information regarding the market projections for the CRISPR-Cas9technology, the framework for regulation, and application areas for consideration are discussed.

Though still in its early stages, CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology is garnering increasing interest, efforts, and investments by the industrial and financial communities, which indicates the potential economic and other societal benefits that will be generated are substantial. For example, economic value will be generated in CRISPR-enabled products with fees being paid to license CRISPR patents. Money is also flowing into firms with potential interests in CRISPR intellectual property.

There has also been an uptick in the rapid increase in CRISPR-related federal research funding and scientific publications. The National Institutes of Health funding for CRISPR-related research grew from $5.1 million in FY2011 to $603 million in FY2016. Meanwhile, the number of CRISPR-related scientific publications increased from 86 in 2011 to 2,162 in 2016. Federal funding has played a key role in creating a foundation for advancing gene editing technologies through the Human Genome Project.

The CRS report is available at: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44824.pdf


GENE DRIVES ON THE HORIZON: ADVANCING SCIENCE, NAVIGATING UNCERTAINTY, AND ALIGNING RESEARCH WITH PUBLIC VALUES RELEASED BY THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report, Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values, provides recommendations and expresses concerns on the topic of gene editing. Questions are arising as to the technical aspects of achieving desired results while avoiding negative effects, and how far editing of human traits should go that are unrelated to health needs.
There is an increase in the number of clinical trials using edited human somatic cells underway  with more to follow that require an examination into the scientific, ethical, and social issues as well as whether our governance systems have the ability to ensure responsible development and use. The report calls for the following related to how to proceed in this area:

  • RECOMMENDATION 7-1. Extensive and inclusive public participation should precede clinical trials for any extension of human genome editing beyond treatment or prevention of disease or disability.
  • RECOMMENDATION 7-2. Ongoing reassessment of both health and societal benefits and risks, with broad ongoing participation and input by the public, should precede consideration of any clinical trials of heritable germline genome editing.
  • RECOMMENDATION 7-3. Public participation should be incorporated into the policy-making process for human genome editing and should include ongoing monitoring of public attitudes, informational deficits, and emerging concerns about issues surrounding “enhancement.”
  • RECOMMENDATION 7-4. When funding human genome-editing research, federal agencies should consider including funding to support near-term research and strategies for 1) identifying areas that require systematic and early efforts to solicit public participation, 2) developing the necessary content and communicating it effectively, and 3) improving public engagement within the context of existing infrastructure.
  • RECOMMENDATION 7-5. When funding human genome-editing research, federal agencies should consider 1) including funding for research aimed at understanding the sociopolitical, ethical, and legal aspects of editing the human germline; 2) understanding the sociopolitical, ethical, and legal aspects of uses for genome editing that go beyond treatment or prevention of disease or disability; and 3) evaluating the efficacy of efforts to build public communication and engagement on these issues into regulatory or policy-making infrastructures.

To review and download the report, go to: https://www.nap.edu/download/24623

 

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