October 2, 2015
Capitol Update

In this issue:


U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) have announced the reintroduction of the Super Pollutants Act of 2015, the U.S. Senate’s first bipartisan climate bill of 2015, which aims to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). The legislation will reduce SLCPs in the atmosphere by enabling federal agencies to work with the business and non-profit communities to speed the adoption of SLCP-reducing technologies and policies.

SLCPs, referred to as “super pollutants,” are non-carbon dioxide greenhouse emissions responsible for an increasing share of global warming. SLCPs range from refrigerants leaking from refrigerators and air conditioners, to soot from diesel engines and cook stoves, to methane that is leaked by landfills and oil and gas exploration. According to the bill’s sponsors, “studies show that fast action to reduce SLCPs in the atmosphere could cut the rate of sea level rise by 25 percent, almost halve the rate of temperature rise, prevent two million premature deaths each year, and avoid crop losses of over 30 million tons annually.”

The Super Pollutants Act of 2015 would:

  • Foster interagency cooperation on super pollutants;
  • Prioritize emissions reduction strategies, and employ existing federal authorities and diplomatic programs;
  • Complete the already scheduled phase-out of certain high-GWP and ozone depleting air conditioners while promoting refrigerant recycling;
  • Mitigate methane leaks; and,
  • Expand access to diesel-scrubbing technologies.
For more information on the Super Pollutants Act, visit: http://www.collins.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=8d69434f-c7bc-4039-abac-a27e2fe7981c


In support of the President’s goal to double U.S. energy productivity by 2030, Secretary Moniz recently unveiled a strategic plan laying out a path businesses, state and local governments, consumers and other stakeholders can use to achieve this goal. The report, Accelerate Energy Productivity 2030: A Strategic Roadmap for American Energy Innovation, Economic Growth, and Competitiveness, identifies proven and effective strategies and actions to advance energy efficiency.

Strategies include:

  • States securing energy productivity through setting and updating vehicle and product codes and standards, and providing energy performance information to consumers;
  • Utilities and regulators designing rates and related policies that more effectively align energy efficiency with utility business models; and,
  • Businesses reinvesting avoided energy costs.

The Roadmap focuses on scalable actions that have the potential to reduce energy consumption and support economic growth. The federal government, many state and local governments and a number of organizations in the private sector are already deploying energy productivity strategies, including some that are featured in the report, demonstrating that the goal of doubling energy productivity can be achieved.

Additional information about the roadmap can be found at: http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/energy/


The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will award $27 million to organizations in nine states to operate centers that help manufacturers innovate, compete and grow. The new awards are part of a multiyear effort to update funding for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which provides a wide range of services to small and medium-size manufacturers through centers in every state and Puerto Rico. 

The announced funding is for the first 15 months of the five-year agreements. Continued funding is subject to the availability of annual appropriations and successful annual reviews. 

Proposals were reviewed by government and independent experts and evaluated against a number of criteria, including demonstration of a thorough understanding of market needs and how proposed service offerings would meet those needs. The reviewers also looked at the proposed business models, performance measurements and metrics, partnership potential, staff qualifications and program management, as well as financial and non-federal cost-share plans. The new agreement reduces the centers’ cost-share burden by reducing the amount of required matching funds from non-federal sources.

For more information about the specific centers, please visit: http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/manufacturing-innovation-competitiveness/

For every dollar of federal investment, MEP clients generate nearly $19 in new sales, which translates into $2.5 billion annually. And for every $2,001 of federal investment, MEP creates or retains one U.S. manufacturing job. Since 1988, MEP has worked with nearly 80,000 manufacturers, leading to $88 billion in sales and $14 billion in cost savings, and it has helped create more than 729,000 jobs. Additional information about some of MEP’s successes can be found at: http://ws680.nist.gov/mepmeis/ManufacturingSuccesses.aspx


U.S. expenditures in research and development rose to $456.1 billion in 2013--a $20.7 billion increase over the previous year, according to a new report from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.

The research and development (R&D) system in the U.S. is comprised of multiple performers, including businesses, the federal government, non-federal government, universities and colleges and other nonprofit organizations. Organizations that perform R&D often receive significant levels of outside funding.

The business sector continues to be the largest performer of R&D in the U.S., accounting for $322.5 billion, or 71 percent, of total national expenditures. That figure represents a $20.3 billion increase over the previous year. The business sector's predominance is a longstanding trend; from 1993 to 2013, its annual share ranged from 68 percent to 74 percent.

Universities and colleges accounted for the second-highest performance in 2013, with $64.7 billion, or 14 percent, of total U.S. R&D expenditures. The education sector has a special niche in the nation's R&D system: universities and colleges performed 51 percent of the nation's basic research in 2013.

The federal government conducted $49.9 billion, or 11 percent of the country's R&D in 2013, including $33 billion performed by agencies and in their own facilities and $16.8 billion by 40 federally funded R&D centers. While federal R&D saw yearly increases of between $1 billion and $2 billion from 2008 to 2011, its 2013 total was a $1.5 billion decrease from the previous year.

Other nonprofits performed an estimated $18.6 billion in R&D in 2013, or 4 percent of total U.S. expenditures.

Most of the U.S. total for R&D in 2013--$285 billion, or 63 percent--went toward development. Basic research activities accounted for $80.5 billion, or 18 percent, of total expenditures. Applied research accounted for $90.6 billion, or 20 percent.

The report is available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2015/nsf15330/


The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced the latest round of innovative, international research projects that support the agency's mission--to advance the frontiers of science and engineering--and forge robust collaborations with scientific expertise around the world.

The 17 new awards, totaling more than $69 million, are made through NSF's Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE) program, which began in 2005. PIRE helps catalyze strong international engagement by the U.S. science and engineering community. Projects work to generate new knowledge and discoveries; promote a diverse, globally engaged U.S. workforce; and build the institutional capacity of U.S. institutions to engage in productive international collaborations. For background information, refer to: http://nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505038&org=OISE&from=home

Within NSF, PIRE is also supported by the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and all programmatic directorates. NSF support, which funds the U.S. portion of the collaboration, is leveraged by partnerships with the U.S. Agency for International Development and by counterpart funding agencies in China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, South Korea and Taiwan.

A listing and description of the 17 awardees may be viewed at: http://nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=136248&org=NSF&from=news


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

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