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Washington Update
Week of January 16 - 20
Swearing in of the 45th President of the United States

On Friday, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. On his first day in office, the President signed an executive order that would allow relevant agency heads to waive or defer provisions that “impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.”

According to White House talking points, “President Trump’s executive order is intended to stop the bleeding - trying to help prevent more catastrophic rate hikes such as those that took place on the first of this month, and to help get the mandates and penalties off the backs of the poorest and sickest Americans.”

Trump also signed an executive order that ended a mortgage rate reduction. This order will have immediate impacts on those contributing to the Federal Housing Authority's insurance program by increasing rates by six-tenths of a percent of their mortgage each month. 

The President's Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, also ordered agencies to freeze any regulations that have not been published. 

CONFIRMATIONS: 

  • General James Mattis was sworn in as Defense Secretary
  • General John Kelly was sworn in as Homeland Security Secretary

Final Version of 'Common Rule' Issued

Before leaving office, the Obama Administration issued the final version of a long-anticipated update to the human subjects research regulations, also known as the "Common Rule." The rule will begin to take effect next year, regardless of the change in presidents. The higher education community generally views the final version as a significant improvement from earlier drafts. The Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities issued a joint statement of support here.

The press release from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is available here, which includes important changes made from earlier proposals. According to HHS, important elements in the final rule include:
  • The requirement for consent forms to provide potential research subjects with a better understanding of a project’s scope, including its risks and benefits, so they can make a more fully informed decision about whether to participate.
  • Requirements, in many cases, to use a single institutional review board (IRB) for multi-institutional research studies. The proposal from the NPRM has been modified, however, to add substantial increased flexibility in now allowing broad groups of studies (instead of just specific studies) to be removed from this requirement.
  • For studies on stored identifiable data or identifiable biospecimens, researchers will have the option of relying on broad consent obtained for future research as an alternative to seeking IRB approval to waive the consent requirement. As under the current rule, researchers will still not have to obtain consent for studies on non-identified stored data or biospecimens.
  • The establishment of new exempt categories of research based on the level of risk they pose to participants. For example, to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden and allow IRBs to focus their attention on higher risk studies, there is a new exemption for secondary research involving identifiable private information if the research is regulated by and participants protected under the HIPAA rules.
  • Removal of the requirement to conduct continuing review of ongoing research studies in certain instances where such review does little to protect subjects.
  • Requirement that consent forms for certain federally funded clinical trials be posted on a public website.

Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act Reintroduced in the Senate
 
Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) reintroduced the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act (S.141). This bipartisan legislation will strengthen space weather research by directing the various federal agencies responsible for understanding, predicting, and forecasting space weather to develop new tools and technologies to improve forecasting and develop benchmark standards to describe space weather disturbances and their potential impacts on Earth. This legislation has implications for NASA, NOAA, NSF, DoD, and DHS.

In the press release announcing the reintroduction, Senator Peters' stated: “I’m pleased to join Senators Gardner, Booker and Wicker in reintroducing this legislation, which will help ensure we have the necessary tools to better predict the impact of space weather events and prevent the disastrous economic consequences they can cause.”

U-M worked closely with Senator Peters' office to craft this legislation. This bill is the same version that was introduced in the previous session of Congress. This legislation will be marked up in Committee on Tuesday, January 24.

Legislative Activities

Both the House of Representative and the Senate will be in session this coming week.

Tuesday January 24

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
Full Committee Hearing: Markup of Pending Legislation, Including the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act
10:00 a.m., G50 Dirksen

Senate Budget Committee
Full Committee Hearing to Examine the Nomination of Mick Mulvaney to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget

10:30 a.m., 608 Dirksen

Highlighting U-M Faculty Serving on Federal Advisory Committees:

We are proud to feature U-M faculty and staff who are serving on a Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) in our weekly newsletter. Through FACs, faculty and staff live out U-M’s mission to serve the state, nation, and world by applying their knowledge and expertise to help shape and inform national policy. If you are currently serving on a FAC, or have recently been selected to serve, please let Kristina or Madeline know.

Dr. Kimberlee Kearfott
We are proud to feature U-M faculty and staff who are serving or have served on a Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) in our weekly newsletter. Through FACs, faculty and staff live out U-M’s mission to serve the state, nation, and world by applying their knowledge and expertise to help shape and inform national policy.
 
This week, we are featuring Dr. Kimberlee Kearfott, Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering; Adjunct Professor, Radiology.
 
Dr. Kearfott serves on the Department of Energy’s (DoE) Environmental Management Advisory Board (EMAB). According to the DoE, EMAB’s mission is to provide independent and external advice, information, and recommendations to the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management (EM) on corporate issues relating to accelerated site clean-up and risk reduction. The Board works to identify applicable private sector best management practices and provides counsel on how to integrate them into the EM program.

To learn more about Dr. Kearfott’s background and research areas, please click here.
Nomination Announcements
 
Federal Advisory Committees:
 

Census Bureau 2020 Advisory Committee
The Department of Commerce's Census Bureau is accepting nominations for the Census Bureau 2020 Advisory Committee. The Committee will provide formal review and feedback related to 2020 Census plans and execution to devise strategies to increase census awareness, reduce barriers to response, and enhance the public's trust and willingness to respond.
 
Nominations are due February 17, 2017. Further information is available here.
 
Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC)
The Government Accountability Office is accepting nominations to join the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) for appointments that will be effective May 1, 2017.

Nominations are due March 10, 2017. Further information is available here.

Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission
The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) is a non-partisan legislative branch agency that provides policy and data analysis and makes recommendations to Congress, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the states on a wide array of issues affecting Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The U.S. Comptroller General appoints MACPAC’s 17 commissioners, who come from diverse regions across the United States and bring broad expertise and a wide range of perspectives on Medicaid and CHIP. GAO is now accepting nominations to MACPAC that will be effective May 1, 2017.

Nominations are due February 24, 2017. Further information is available here.

 
National Sea Grant Advisory Board
The Secretary of Commerce is accepting applications for membership on the National Sea Grant Advisory Board, a Federal Advisory Committee that provides advice on the implementation of the National Sea Grant College Program. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) intends to fill two expected vacancies on the Board in 2017.
 
Applications must be postmarked no later than March 1st 2017. Applications will be kept on file for consideration of any Board vacancy for a period of three years from the closing date of this notice. Further information is available here.
 
Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is soliciting nominations for membership on the Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel (SEP) in the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC).

The Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel provides advice and guidance to the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); the Director, CDC, and the Administrator, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) regarding the concept review, scientific and technical merit of grant and cooperative agreement assistance applications, and contract proposals relating to the causes, prevention, and control of diseases, disabilities, injuries, and impairments of public health significance; exposure to hazardous substances in the environment; health promotion and education; and other related activities that promote health and well-being.

Nominations are due March 31, 2017. Further information is available here.

 
NSF Advisory Committee Openings
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting nominations for positions available on its scientific and technical federal advisory committees. There are 13 advisory committees accepting nominations including:
  • Advisory Committee for Biological Sciences
  • Advisory Committee for Computer and Information Science and Engineering
  • Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure
  • Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources
  • Advisory Committee for Engineering
  • Advisory Committee for Geosciences
  • Advisory Committee for International Science and Engineering
  • Advisory Committee for Mathematical and Physical Sciences
  • Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
  • Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering
  • Advisory Committee for Business and Operations
  • Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee
The federal register notice, with details on how to submit names, is available here. Nominations for membership are maintained for one year.
 
National Institute of Standards and Technology Federal Advisory Committees
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is accepting nominations for appointment to nine existing Federal Advisory Committees:
  • Board of Overseers of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award
  • Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award
  • Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board
  • Manufacturing Extension Partnership Advisory Board
  • National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee
  • Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction
  • National Advisory Committee on Windstorm Impact Reduction
  • NIST Smart Grid Advisory Committee
  • Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology
Nominations will be accepted on an ongoing basis. Further information is available here.
 
Council on Graduate Medical Education
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is accpeting nominations to fill vacancies on the Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME). The COGME provides advice and recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services and members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce on matters related to: supply of physicians in the U.S., physician workforce trends, training issues, and financing policies.

The agency will receive nominations on a continuous basis. Further information is available here.
News Articles
David Gelernter, fiercely anti-intellectual computer scientist, is being eyed for Trump’s science adviser
New 'Common Rule' for Research
Trump team prepares dramatic cuts
Breaking: Trump asks NIH Director Francis Collins to stay on
Biden to unveil effort to speed researchers’ access to cancer drugs
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If you would like to be added to the Washington Update, please contact Madeline Nykaza (mnykaza@umich.edu).






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