September 30, 2016
Capitol Update

In this issue:


GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN AVERTED

On Wednesday night, Congress finally sent to President Barack Obama a bill to keep the government operating through Dec. 9 as the September 30 deadline for FY 2016 approached. The President has said he will sign it. It provides $1.1 billion to combat the Zika viru and $500 million for flooded Louisiana and other states among other items.

By a 342-85 vote, the House cleared the spending measure after a bipartisan Senate tally. There had been a stalemate between the Democrats and Republicans as to whether monies would be provided in the continuing resolution for the Flint, Michigan water crisis. However, the Republicans wanted to see this topic addressed later. Democrats have now been assured of future action on this topic in an upcoming water projects bill.

Members of Congress are now heading home to campaign and will be back after the elections are over for a lame duck session.

An upcoming issue ASME is focused on is how the House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders will move forward on the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) after the November 8 election.  In August, ASME garnered support from 109 science and technology nongovernmental organizations on Section 214 of the NDAA urging support of the Manufacturing Universities Grant Program. This program allows the U.S. to invest in domestic manufacturing capabilities and revamp engineering programs to focus on manufacturing and curricula specifically related to targeted industries in line with the mission of the Department of Defense.

More information about this effort can be found at:
http://cqrcengage.com/asme/app/sign-petition?0&engagementId=234013


NATIONAL MANUFACTURING DAY TO BE HELD ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7

National Manufacturing Day is an annual event that will occur on October 7, 2016, to promote a positive image of manufacturing in the United States. Manufacturing Day celebrates the sector’s contributions to the nation’s economic health and raises awareness about high-skilled career opportunities in manufacturing and engineering. Many young people do not understand that a career in manufacturing can be a rewarding way to earn a good living throughout one’s life.

The goal of Manufacturing Day is to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. The movement seeks to address common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing really looks like.  By working together during Manufacturing Day, manufacturers can address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, and take charge of the public image of manufacturing.

Last year’s Manufacturing Day celebration was a tremendous success, as over 400,000 people participated in events hosted by more than 2,600 manufacturing companies. Officials across the country participated by attending events at local manufacturing companies and raising awareness about the strength of manufacturing in their communities.

To be part of this grassroots movement, companies are encouraged to invite local schools to visit and participate in factory tours, attend a local event on Manufacturing Day, and spread the message of Manufacturing Day through statements and social media at #MFGDay16. Manufacturing Day events run the gamut from industrial park block parties, manufacturing expos, sporting events, charity fundraisers, community-coordinated multifaceted tours, to a straightforward open house at single production facility to show the public what the company does and the types of jobs involved. 

More information can be found, including targeted resources and to register events, on the official Manufacturing Day website, www.mfgday.com. Schools can also use this site to find local events.

In related news, Congressmen Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Tom Reed (R-NY), who also co-chair the House Manufacturing Caucus, recently introduced H.R. 6160, legislation calling for a United States Chief Manufacturing Officer in the Executive Office of the President to help establish our nation’s strategic direction related to manufacturing. Rallying around this legislation were other interested cosponsors, Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), David Cicilline (D-RI) and Mike Honda (D-CA), and external stakeholders like ASME.

To review the bill language, please go to: http://congress.gov, and search by bill number.


HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE HOLDS HEARING ON ADVANCED ROBOTICS

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee recently held a hearing on advanced robotics as part of its Disrupter Series of hearings on topics from 3D printing to drones.  The hearings have helped policymakers develop a better understanding of how federal policies both help and hinder economic growth of emerging technologies.

Various points made at the robotics hearing focused on how advanced robotic technology is a game-changer for our nation’s economy, but there still exists a gap to fill high paying jobs with qualified people who can design, program, install, operate, and maintain robots. Beyond workforce training, the nation needs to think about translational research where government and industry work together to ensure investments in basic research can be turned into useful products creating more wealth and advancing our national interest.  These useful products also need to be manufactured in the United States to benefit its citizens. This will require that the knowledge, skills, and infrastructure be anchored here.

As robotics become more embedded in our society, there is also a growing need to address questions related to privacy that surround their use as they collect data. According to one witness, privacy and ethical issues surrounding robots needs to be addressed in an interdisciplinary manner.

To review the hearing testimony or watch the archived webcast, please visit:
https://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings-and-votes/hearings/disrupter-series-advanced-robotics.


CYBER EDUCATION EFFORTS CALLS FOR FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TO IMPROVE THE PREPARTION OF A DIVERSE STEM WORKFORCE

The House Oversight and Government Reform Information Technology Subcommittee recently held a hearing to evaluate how the educational sector could address the cyber talent gap in our economy and especially in the federal government. It looked at two documents related to cybersecurity. One was prepared by the Office of Management and Budget dealing with a federal cybersecurity workforce strategy of hiring 3,500 federal IT workers by January 2017 and the other was a National Academy of Public Administration report on the federal role in cyber education.

To read both documents, please visit
https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/2016-09-22-Ferrini-Mundy-NSF-Testimony.pdf and
http://napawash.org/images/reports/2015/Increasing_Effectiveness_of_Federal_Role_in_Cyber_Education.pdf

The witnesses for the hearing included the following: Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, Assistant Director, Education and Human Resources of the National Science Foundation (NSF); Mr. Scott Montgomery, Vice President and Chief Technical Strategist, Intel Security; Mr. Gene Bowman, Executive Director, Alamo Academies, and Mr. Emile Cambry, Founder, Blue 1647.

NSF’s Dr. Ferrini-Mundy began the hearing with testimony speaking to the efforts of boosting cybersecurity education through various programs such as the CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service (SFS) 2 program aimed at developing a well-educated cybersecurity workforce for the government through engagement with colleges and universities and government agencies as employers. The testimony also spoke to expanding the capacity of the our country’s higher education system to prepare cybersecurity professionals through research dealing with the teaching and learning of cybersecurity, developing of curricula, integrating cybersecurity topics into relevant degree programs, and designing of virtual learning laboratories.

Additional information about the hearing can be found at: https://oversight.house.gov/hearing/closing-talent-gap-federal/


CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION LEGISLATION PASSES HOUSE

H.R. 5587, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Representatives G.T. Thompson (R-PA) and Katherine Clark (D-MA) meant to improve student outcomes and help prepare secondary and postsecondary students with the necessary academic, technical and employability skills required for success in today’s workforce, recently passed the House. Known as the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act” (CTE), the legislation would reauthorize and reform CTE programs that 11 million Americans utilize annually. The legislation align CTE programs to the needs of the labor market; support collaboration between secondary and postsecondary institutions and employers; increase students in work-based learning opportunities; and promote the use of industry recognized credentials.

Representative Clark called on Senate Democrats and Republicans to come together and pass similar legislation as a step forward in connecting students with jobs that offer sustainable family wages. With legislative days ticking away, not much time exists to obtain similar legislative language from the Senate and a unified bill for President Obama’s approval.

For additional background on the bill, please visit:
http://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=400892.


COMPUTER SCIENCE FOR ALL BILL INTRODUCED

Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) recently introduced H.R. 6095, the Computer Science (CS) for All Act. This legislation intends to authorize $250 million for competitive grants to states and local education agencies and further computer science education from pre-K to 12th grade.

The development of this legislation is an offshoot of the national effort known as Computer Science for All, announced by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and led by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in partnership with other federal agencies and private partners. NSF's efforts and the growing momentum for CS education and STEM education broadly have helped pave the way for CS for All.

To review the bill language, please go to: http://congress.gov, and search by bill number.

Additional information about NSF’s CS for All activities can be found at: http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/csed/csforall.jsp


FIRST ROUND OF NSF INCLUDES GRANT RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued its first-ever awards for the NSF Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) program. The program is a comprehensive initiative designed to enhance U.S. leadership in science and engineering through broadening participation in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

NSF INCLUDES is focused at the national scale. It is designed to provide better access to STEM education and career pathways especially for underserved populations.  Expansion is expected over the next ten years with the aim of developing a science and engineering workforce that is more reflective of the diversity in the United States.

More information about the grant recipients can be found at: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=189706&WT.mc_id=USNSF_1

On a related note, the American Institutes for Research and the U.S. Department of Education recently released a report, "STEM 2026: A Vision for Innovation in STEM Education." The report is based on conversations with 30 researchers, school district leaders, and other experts in STEM education where these experts sat down to develop a "bold vision and goals for the future" as a guide for researchers and policymakers. The report is now available at: http://www.air.org/system/files/downloads/report/STEM-2026-Vision-for-Innovation-September-2016.pdf


GOLDEN GOOSE AWARD GIVEN FOR MAJOR BREAKTHROUGHS IN SEEMINGLY OBSCURE FEDERALLY FUNDED RESEARCH THAT HAD MAJOR NATIONAL IMPACT

The Golden Goose Award ceremony was recently held at the Library of Congress and awarded three groups of researchers whose federally-funded research has led to major breakthroughs in biomedical research, medical treatments, and computing and communications technologies.

Congressman Jim Cooper from Tennessee created the award as a way to counter the skepticism that is often associated with providing funding for basic research in Congress. The award highlights the tremendous human and economic benefits of federally funded scientific and engineering research where seemingly obscure studies have led to major breakthroughs and resulted in significant societal impacts.

The 2016 Golden Goose Award recipients included:

  • The Honey Bee Algorithm, funded by the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research. http://www.goldengooseaward.org/awardees/honey-bee-algorithm
    • Awardees were Dr. John J. Bartholdi III, Dr. Sunil Nakrani, Dr. Thomas D. Seeley, Dr. Craig A. Tovey, and Dr. John Hagood Vande Vate.
  • The Sex Life of the Screwworm Fly, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. http://www.goldengooseaward.org/awardees/screwworms
    • Awardees are Dr. Edward Knipling and Dr. Raymond Bushland.
  • The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, funded by the National Institute of Health. http://www.goldengooseaward.org/awardees/add-health
    • Awardees are Dr. Peter Bearman, Dr. Barbara Entwisle, Dr. Kathleen Mullan Harris; and Dr. Ronald Rindfuss, and Dr. J. Richard Udry.

Each of these award recipients have contributed to breakthrough research that has changed the way we live our lives. The Honey Bee Algorithm developed by studying the behaviors of honeybees has changed the way computer servers communicate. The Sex Life of the Screwworm Fly study has eradicated populations of screwworm flies that were responsible for killing livestock and costing American ranchers nearly $1.8 billion in today’s dollars a year, while the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health study has led to a deeper understanding of adolescent obesity and adult heath. All these studies were made possible only by federal funding.

The entire ceremony, including speeches by several Members of Congress and an engaging panel discussion among the researchers was led by Frank Senso, can be found at:  http://www.goldengooseaward.org/. Short documentary videos about these projects are also at the aforementioned link and tell the story of these unique and serendipitous research projects supported by federal investment.

Nominations for the 2017 Golden Goose Award can be submitted via the webpage until December 1, 2016: http://www.goldengooseaward.org/.

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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ASME Government Relations
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 810
Washington, DC 20036
Website: http://www.asme.org/about-asme/advocacy-government-relations

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