Washington Update
Week of December 5 - 9
U-M President Mark Schlissel Attends Council on Competitiveness Conference in DC
The U.S. Council on Competitiveness held their 30th annual conference this week in Washington, D.C. U-M President Mark Schlissel, who recently joined the Council's Executive Committee, attended the conference. Pictured above, Dr. Mark Schlissel (center) visits with Lockheed Martin VP and Chief Technology Officer Dana (Keoki) Jackson (left) and U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS).

The U.S. Council on Competitiveness is a non-partisan organization made up of corporate CEOs, university presidents, labor leaders and national laboratory directors committed to "advancing U.S. competitiveness in the global economy and a rising standard of living for all Americans". More information on the conference can be found here.

Legislative Wrap-up
This week Congressional leadership released the FY2017 continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government operating once current funding expires at midnight tonight (December 9). The CR would provide funding for the federal government through April 28, 2017. The CR would fund the federal government at current levels with an across-the-board cut of 0.1901%.

Importantly, the CR would fund the FY2017 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Innovation Fund, created by the 21st Century Cures Act (see below). The CR includes $352 million for the NIH Innovation Account directed as such:
  • $40 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative
  • $10 million for the BRAIN Initiative
  • $300 million for cancer research
  • $2 million for clinical research in regenerative medicine (with a 1:1 match of federal and non-federal funding)
The CR also includes $20 million for the Food and Drug Administration Innovation Account, and $500 million for state grants to respond to the opioid crisis. The House approved the measure on Thursday and left for the remainder of the year.

As of the time this newsletter was sent, the Senate has not approved the continuing resolution. The hold-up is over pension issue for coal miners (further details on the pension issue here). Sen. Manchin (D-WV) has blocked the CR from moving forward unless it contains a longer-term fix for the coal miners instead of just the duration of the CR. If the Senate makes changes to the legislation, the House can still use a procedure to approve the measure, without requiring all of the Members in the House to return for a vote. It remains to be seen what will happen. It is possible there will be a short-term shutdown until an agreement can be reached on the coal miner pension issue. However, it is expected the CR will eventually pass both chambers and the President is expected to sign it into law. 

21st Century Cures Legislation Ready for President Obama's Approval

This week, the Senate approved the 21st Century Cures Legislation by a vote of 95 to 4. The House approved the measure last week. This legislation was the work of House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA). President Obama is expected to sign this legislation into law.
Of particular interest are the sections of the bill related to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Cures bill would provide $4.8 billion for a special “Innovation Projects” account to support specific initiatives at the NIH over the next 10 years, including $1.4 billion for the Precision Medicine Initiative, $1.564 billion for the BRAIN Initiative and $1.8 billion for cancer research. The NIH Innovation Fund would be funded with offsets by: the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) Public Health and Prevention Fund; unused funds from territories for ACA exchanges; reductions in overpayments in Medicare/Medicaid; and sales from the strategic petroleum oil reserve.

The legislation would also reauthorize the NIH for the years FY2018-FY2020, providing an NIH authorization of $36.47 billion by FY2020, an increase of $4.4 billion over current funding levels. The bill creates a “Next Generation of Researchers Initiative” to promote and improve opportunities for new researchers. The act also includes a section on reducing administrative burden for researchers. A section by section outline of the bill is available here. An analysis of the legislation, including further information on the legislation's reduction of regulatory burdens, prepared by the Association of American Universities is available here.
Congress Passes National Defense Authorization Act; U-M Measure Included

Thursday, December 8, the Senate approved the conference agreement of the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA, S.2943) by a vote of 92 to 7. The House approved this measure last week. President Obama is expected to sign this into law. 

For FY2017, the NDAA conference agreement would authorize Department of Defense (DoD) Basic Research (6.1) at $2.142 billion (FY16 is $2.309 billion), Science and Technology (6.1-6.3) at $12.489 billion (FY16 is $13.251 billion), and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at $2.957 billion (FY16 is $2.891 billion).

This legislation also calls for a demonstration using Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID) in the TRICARE program (page 454 of the conference agreement). The U-M Center for V-BID leads the effort to promote development, implementation, and evaluation of health benefit designs balancing cost and quality. According to the V-BID website, a multidisciplinary team of faculty first named and published the V-BID concept, guiding this approach from early principles to widespread adoption in the private and public sectors. According to V-BID: "the demonstration includes an evaluation of how reducing or eliminating the cost-sharing for specified high-value medications and services impacts:  (I) adherence to medication regimens; (II) quality measures; (III) health outcomes; and (IV) beneficiary experience."

The NDAA conference report also would extend the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program until FY2022 (Sec. 1834). The bill would not make any changes to the SBIR/STTR set-aside amounts.
The conference agreement would establish the Manufacturing Engineering Education program (Sec.215), to award grants to industry, non-profits, universities or consortiums of such groups, to enhance or establish new programs in manufacturing engineering education. The Manufacturing Engineering Education program language is a slightly modified version of the Manufacturing Universities language originally included in the Senate-passed FY2017 NDAA bill.
A fact sheet of the FY2017 NDAA is available here.

President-Elect Trump Names U-M Alum Dr. Ben Carson to Lead HUD
This week, President-elect Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate U-M Medical School alum Dr. Ben Carson to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Dr. Carson stated: “I am honored to accept the opportunity to serve our country in the Trump administration. I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need. We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met.” Read the full announcement from Trump's transition website here.

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. Sela Panapasa
This week, we are featuring Dr. Sela Panapasa, an Assistant Research Scientist with the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Institute for Social Research.
Dr. Panapasa serves on the Advisory Committee on Minority Health, which advises the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on ways to improve the health of racial and ethnic minority populations, and on the development of goals and program activities within the Office of Minority Health.
Through her work on the Advisory Committee on Minority Health, Dr. Panapasa has contributed to:
  • Sustaining and Advancing the Healthcare Safety Net: Ensuring that the Healthcare Safety Net Is Not Left Behind
  • Addressing Health Disparities of Children of Color in Foster Care
  • Assuring the Full Participation of Racial and Ethnic Minorities in Health Insurance Exchanges: Recommendations for Outreach and Enrollment
  • Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander National Health Interview Survey
  • HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
  • National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities
  • Compendium of Publicly Available Datasets and Other Data-Related Resources
To learn more about Dr. Panapasa’s background and research, please click here.
Nomination Announcements
Federal Advisory Committees:

Deadline Extended -- Commerce Data Advisory Council (CDAC)
The Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) within the Department of Commerce is accepting nominations for the Commerce Data Advisory Council (CDAC). CDAC provides advice and recommendations, to include process and infrastructure improvements, to the Commerce Secretary on ways to make Commerce data easier to find, access, use, combine and disseminate. The aim of this advice shall be to maximize the value of Commerce data to all users including governments, businesses, communities, academia, and individuals.

Nominations are due by midnight on December 16, 2016. Further details are available here.

National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting nominations for membership on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF). The Committee provides scientific advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services concerning the development of microbiological criteria by which the safety and wholesomeness of food can be assessed.

Nominations are due January 6, 2017. 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 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
Research Universities Hope Trump’s Infrastructure Plans Could Be a Boon to High-Speed Communications
Overtime Second Thoughts
After 1,000 Year Slumber, China Vows to Invent Again
Sweeping Health Measure, Backed by Obama, Passes Senate
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