Washington Update
Week of September 6 - 9
Congress Returns to Session -- Focus on Appropriations and Zika Funding
After a seven-week recess, Congress returned to Washington, D.C. this week. The major item on their agenda will be funding the federal government before current funding expires at the end of the month. The current path forward will likely be a Continuing Resolution which will fund the government at the current FY2016 levels from the beginning of the fiscal year (October 1) until December 9, when Congress is back in session after the elections. The major obstacle will be some Members in the House of Representatives, who would like to pass a longer-term Continuing Resolution to go beyond the end of the calendar year, and leave the larger funding decision for the next Congress and Administration.

Assuming Congress can enact a short-term Continuing Resolution, when they return to Washington, D.C. after the election, they can then work to pass individual appropriations bills or a larger omnibus measure. Both of these options are more likely to include increases or better funding levels for the research accounts important to the university community. For this reason, U-M, along with Michigan State University and Wayne State University, wrote to the Michigan delegation, urging them to finalize FY2017 spending decisions before the end of the calendar year.

The other major item on Congress' agenda is providing funding for Zika. Congress has so far failed to provide any funding to combat Zika. Previous discussions have been stalled due to the inclusion of other provisions unrelated to the Zika virus. The Administration has asked for $1.9 billion in emergency funding for efforts to combat Zika. The previous version of legislation discussed by the Senate would have provided $1.1 billion in funding.

Legislative Activities
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate will reconvene on Monday, September 12. The Senate is expected to continue consideration of the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA, S.2848) This legislation includes provisions related to the Flint Water Crisis. According to Senator Peters' press release: “WRDA provides resources that will improve drinking water infrastructure in Flint, Michigan and other places where pipes, pumps, and treatment plants are crumbling and woefully out-of-date. This bill also funds health programs for communities that have been affected by lead contamination. Also, all of the direct spending is fully paid for.
Nomination Announcements

Federal Advisory Committees:

NASA Federal Advisory Committees
NASA is inviting public nominations for service on NASA Federal advisory committees. NASA's Federal advisory committees have member vacancies from time to time throughout the year, and NASA will consider nominations to fill such intermittent vacancies. NASA is committed to selecting members to serve on its Federal advisory committees based on their individual expertise, knowledge, experience, and current/past contributions to the relevant subject area. Further information is available here. Nominations are due September 30.
  • Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel
  • Applied Sciences Advisory Committee
  • International Space Station (ISS) Advisory Committee
  • International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory Advisory Committee
  • NASA Advisory Council
  • National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board
HHS Advisory Committee on Minority Health
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Minority Health (OMH), is seeking nominations of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment as a member of the Advisory Committee on Minority Health. The Committee provides advice to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health on improving the health of racial and ethnic minority groups, and on the development of goals and specific program activities of OMH designed to improve the health status and outcomes of racial and ethnic minorities.
Further information is available here. Nominations are due September 8.
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 eight 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
  • 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
Congress returns, with a long science to-do list and not much time
Better Than Impact Factor? NIH Team Claims Key Advance in Ranking Journal Articles
Science and technology bear the brunt of budget dysfunction
Senate nears Zika funding breakthrough
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