Week in Review, or Dog Days of Summer
Despite rumors of sequestration cuts to July 4th celebrations across the country, fireworks still lit up the sky across Washington on Thursday. While members enjoyed the Independence Day recess, the Hill wasn’t totally quiet. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor did release his July legislative memo to members on Friday and indicated that passing a stripped-down farm bill and immigration legislation would be the priorities for the final 14 days of session before August. Cantor also mentioned several bills of interest including the Kids First Research Act (HR 2019), priority legislation for Cantor as NEWScience Policy has previously reported.
Since Washington comes to a standstill for all of August and the first week in September, actions over these next few weeks usually seal the deal for progress on the federal budget process before the fiscal year ends on September 30th. The major issue remains: how to cross the $91 billion chasm that currently separates the House and Senate FY 2014 budget efforts. It is not clear how this will be resolved. If there is no resolution before October 1st, the House and Senate will need to pass a Continuing Resolution to keep the government functioning while they work out the details of the FY 2014 budget.
Also of Note
Data. Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA) undertook an attempt to garner some publicity for his Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (H.R.2061), (which was passed out of committee but stalled on the House floor), by releasing a memo to his colleagues in Congress in support of the bill. The memo includes several reasons to pass the bill like enhanced transparency to prevent Medicaid fraud, opportunities to identify where government funding is being wasted, and reduced compliance costs for federal grantees.
Education. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of American Universities sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy expressing concern with the Administration’s plans to consolidate STEM programs across the government agencies. Key requests in the letter include a more transparent process and a comment period to allow non-agency stakeholders to engage directly with the development of a plan to improve and strengthen government STEM education programs.
Health. The White House announced Tuesday that it would delay by one year, until 2015, the section of the Affordable Care Act mandating that businesses with more than 50 employees provide health insurance to their workers or pay a penalty. It is unclear how this will otherwise impact implementation.
Space. 39 universities, companies, and non-profit organizations signed a letter to both House and Senate appropriators and authorizers urging support for the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate at a level of $740 million for FY 2014 and FY 2015.
NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate issued a Request for Information (RFI) with the goal of advancing the development of commercial space products, specifically, an industry-developed robotic lander.
Thomas Friedman responds to the President’s carbon emission speech last week with a call in The New York Times for more energy innovation in The Amazing Energy Race.
Bess Evans writes about the most recent Golden Goose Award for the White House’s OSTP Blog in Golden Geese: Honking for Science.
Ben Miller defends the promise of Information Technology for InnovationFiles.org in Innovation is Still the Answer.
Richard Jones recaps priority areas for science and technology in each of the House and Senate FY 2014 Energy Appropriations bills for AIP’s FYI Blog.
What’s on Deck
- The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a subcommittee markup of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies FY 2014 Appropriations bill.
- The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a full committee hearing on Keeping College Within Reach: Improving Higher Education through Innovation.
- The Environment Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act of 2013 (H.R. 2413).
- IEEE-USA in conjunction with Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) Co-Chairs, Congressional Research and Development Caucus will host a briefing on A Revolution in Prosthetics. Contact b.concepcion (at) ieee.org for more information.
- The House Appropriations Committee will hold a Subcommittee Markup – FY 2014 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill.
- The Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will markup the FY2013 NASA Authorization Act.
- The Research and Technology Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on Strategic Planning for National Manufacturing Competitiveness.
- The Council on Competitiveness, in conjunction with the U.S. House of Representatives Caucus on Science and National Labs will host a briefing on Extreme Computing: Why United States Industry, National Labs, and Academia Need Advanced Computing. Contact dkoolbeck (at) compete.org for more information.
- The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a full committee markup of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies FY 2014 Appropriations bill.
- The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold a subcommittee hearing on Oversight and Management of Department of Energy National Laboratories and Science Activities.