Capitol Hill

The Temporarily Shrinking Deficit

A congressional research service report predicts a return to a widening deficit and a level of debt that economists consider unsustainable. The first chart below shows the budget gap over the decades. The second shows historical and projected discretionary spending, including most federal R&D.

Sen. Durbin and UChicago scientists discuss need for increased biomedical research funding

Durbin has been concerned about the steady erosion of America’s leadership role in biomedical research, prompting the sponsorship of the American Cures Act, which seeks $150 billion over 10 years to support research leading to improved treatment of disease and better quality of life for Americans.

Are Schools Protecting Your Kids’ Data?

A 40-year old federal law protects kids’ school records from the prying eyes of outsiders, but the law is in desperate need of a 21st-Century overhaul. Efforts to do that began last week with the introduction of the Protecting Student Privacy Act in Congress by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), but it’s a baby step that’s unlikely to close a Pandora’s Box.

The U.S. Supreme Court Hopes To Limit Patent Trolling

In the wake of the U.S. Senate failure to address the problem of patents trolls legal experts begin to wonder if the courts are taking over where Capitol Hill failed. Unfortunately neither the courts nor legislators have yet directly addressed the looming specter of government sponsored patent trolls and their impact on global trade.

As U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Begins, Key Members of Congress Say AGOA Must Be Reauthorized

As the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit begins in Washington, DC this week, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative has pulled together a high-level forum of leaders of entrepreneurs and leaders in business, government, civil society and the media to explore priorities for U.S.-Africa policy; business strategies for economic growth and development; innovation; governance; and shifting perceptions of Africa in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Effort to Close the Innovation Deficit Seeking More R&D Investment, One Year Later

Last summer a group of leaders of the business, higher education, scientific and high-tech manufacturing communities joined together to create an advocacy group calling for lawmakers to instate policies to Close the Innovation Deficit. Now, one year later the group has issued a report on the government's progress in making the American economy more conducive for innovation.

Senators unveil bill to protect student privacy

A bipartisan team of senators is looking to better safeguard students’ privacy by placing new limits on schools and companies that share personal information.

Medical innovation requires federal support and structural improvements, Marc Tessier-Lavigne tells members of Congress

Two distinct but complementary types of research produce medical innovation: basic science in academic labs and applied work by private sector companies, Rockefeller President Marc Tessier-Lavigne told members of a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on July 17.

Rep. Issa takes aim at FTC ‘inquisitions’

In a hearing over the agency’s enforcement powers, Issa accused the commission of making “often erroneous inquisitions” into small businesses doing their best to protect people’s data.

Science Is an Engine of Human Prosperity

Science is the engine of human prosperity. Economists have said that a third to a half of U.S. economic growth has resulted from basic research since World War II. The cars and trains that got us to this building, the smart phones we are all carrying, the energy we are using to run the lights in this chamber, the clothes we are wearing, the food we eat: All of these things were developed through the process that we call science.

Innovation Is a Process That Itself Requires Investment

Congress wants to enhance the benefits of scientific research for the U.S. economy and other purposes and to keep the nation at the forefront of global competition for new technologies and other innovations.

Chamber backs Senate cyber bill

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pressuring the Senate to take up and “expeditiously” pass a Senate cybersecurity bill that would encourage companies to share information about cyber threats with each other and the federal government.

Senate Appropriators Press For Basic Research Hike

The Defense Appropriations bill approved by the committee Thursday calls for a basic research tab of nearly $2.3 billion, 5 percent above the currently enacted level. In its report, the panel said it was "discouraged" by the Pentagon's proposed cuts in basic, which it called "the foundation upon which other technology is developed." It noted that "basic research . . .spans across universities and colleges, small businesses and laboratories, growing future scientists and creating new business opportunities."

The House-passed appropriation (see report) provided about $300 million less for basic research. If the Senate bill passes the full chamber, something that may not happen until a lame-duck session, the final number would be worked out in a conference. History suggests the two chambers would then split the difference.

Source: ASEE

House Passes Research and Development Bills

On July 14th, the House of Representatives passed three bi-partisan bills relevant to the scientific community.  A fourth, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Policy Reauthorization Act was pulled from consideration but is expected to be voted on shortly by the House.

Senators vow to reassert America's rocket power

“If you consider space a national security priority, then you absolutely have to consider assured access to space a national security priority,” Gen. William Shelton, commander of the Air Force’s space command, testified in a joint Senate committee hearing on Wednesday.


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