Capitol Hill

Millions for 'pointless' research

Given this unequivocal determination, why are American taxpayers underwriting efforts to actively undermine matters that have been settled by FDA itself? Why is one executive branch agency spending millions of dollars to attack the findings of another agency?

Senate calls hearing on energy tax policy

The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a hearing on the “outdated” energy tax code and proposals to reform and improve it. The Sept. 17 hearing will be led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who became chairman of the Finance Committee earlier this year and has committed to comprehensively reforming the entire tax code since he became chairman.

Patent Reform and the Future of Innovation

Two years ago the America Invents Act ushered in a comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. patent system. The purpose was to stimulate innovation and business creation by strengthening the value of patents. One noticeable change was changing the patent system from "first to invent" to "first inventor to file."

Congress must modernize defense with innovation and intelligence

The United States and its allies are facing an era of unprecedented uncertainty and change. Across the globe, we are seeing the development and proliferation of advanced military technologies and disruptive warfare techniques that mean we can no longer take our military superiority and effectiveness for granted.

Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks

More than a dozen prominent Washington research groups have received tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments in recent years while pushing United States government officials to adopt policies that often reflect the donors’ priorities, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

Pelosi urges FCC to ban Internet ‘fast lanes’

Reclassifying broadband Internet so that it is regulated like traditional phone service would be a controversial step sure to draw ire from congressional Republicans and companies, who have already warned the commission against the move. Critics of reclassification have said that it would apply outdated 20th century regulations to the Internet, which could undermine the open nature of the Net.

Hill Returns, Focus Turns To FY2015 Stop-Gap

The House will vote either this week or next on a jobs package with four tax extender bills including a permanent extension of the R&D tax credit and a permanent extension of bonus depreciation legislation.

Lawmakers take on cybersecurity

It’s going to be a busy week for cybersecurity, after a digital intrusion at HealthCare.gov raised new alarms on Capitol Hill. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing to explore cybersecurity and terrorism for Wednesday morning. Intelligence and digital security officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Counterterrorism Center and the FBI will testify.

Continued Underfunding of Federal Research Agencies Could Devastate Science Research, Jeopardize Economic Growth

Perpetual underfunding of the National Science Foundation, or NSF; the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST; and the Department of Energy Office of Science, or DOE Science, could cost the United States nearly 14,000 NSF research grants, 75 new NIST research institutes at American universities, and 24,000 person-years of DOE Science researchers.

Closing the Science Gap: Why We Need to Reinvest in Basic Research

Estimates show that more than half of the United States’ postwar economic growth has come from advances in science and technology. Public investment in R&D, especially basic research -- which focuses on advancing scientific knowledge “without specific applications in mind” -- provides crucial long-term economic benefits.

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.

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