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D.C. Research Weekly Report


House and Senate Budget Committee Chairs Release Conference Agreement
House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) announced the FY2016 Budget Conference had reached an agreement on a budget resolution. The agreement includes more than $5 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years and sets up a vote on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act through reconciliation, a process which requires only a simple majority approval to pass the Senate.  For the non-defense discretionary side (NDD) of the budget, it maintains the FY 2016 sequester level cap. However, beginning in FY2017 through FY2025 the non-defense accounts would be cut below the sequester caps, cutting NDD by $496 billion in total.

The House is expected to vote on the agreement today (Friday). The Senate has not yet decided when to vote on the agreement.

NASA Reauthorization passes House Science Committee
The House Science Committee passed the NASA Authorization Act of 2016 and 2017 (HR 2039) on a party line vote. The bill calls for cutting NASA's Earth science budget by 18-32 percent, redistributing the funding to planetary science and human spaceflight. Planetary Science could get as much as $1.5 billion in the bill: about $60 million more than in 2015 and nearly $140 million more than president’s request. Read more here. You can also read NASA Administrator Bolden's statement here.

Senate Judiciary Committee Introduces Patent Act
The leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced the Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship (PATENT) Act. A bipartisan group sponsored the bill: Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member Patrick Leahy, (D-Vt.) and committee members John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn). The Committee also released a one-page summary and a section-by-section analysis of the bill. The Senate bill appears to contain some differences from the house version, H.R. 9

President Obama Threatens to Veto House Energy and Water Bill
The Obama Administration released its Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on the House Energy and Water appropriations bill (H.R. 2028), expressing strong opposition to the measure and threatening a veto. The SAP says the bill "drastically underfunds critical investments," which would "put at risk U.S. competitiveness in new markets for clean energy industries," and contains "highly problematic ideological riders" as the reasons for the veto. 

21st Century Cures Draft Introduced
Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee unveiled a discussion draft of the 21st Century Cures initiative, a bi-partisan, multi-billion dollar bill that would overhaul the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and add $10 billion to the NIH budget. The latest version of the bill is the result of more than a year of negotiations between Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Col.). Read more here.

CNSF Capitol Hill Day
The Coalition for National Science Funding hosted their annual exhibition entitled, "Investments in STEM Research and Education: Fueling American Innovation." Participants representing 30 schools, including U-M, and professional associations exhibited NSF funded projects to highlight the importance of these types of federal investments. U-M was represented by John Hennessy and Lauren Sheridan, who discussed how the NSF I-Corps program helped them turn their academic research into a small business, Elegus Technologies.

The American National Election Survey was also highlighted at the event by the American Political Science Association. Darrell Donakowski, Director of Studies for ANES at U-M's Institute for Social Research, attended.
 
​U-attendees also visited with Senators and Representatives of the Michigan delegation to share their research stories and to talk about the importance of NSF funded research.​


Mr. Hennesy with Rep. Moolenaar (R-MI), who sits on the House Science Committee, discussing Elegus Technology

Rep Moolenaar (R-MI), John Hennessy, and Lauren Sheridan
Darrell Donakowski, Director of Studies for ANES, Rep. Moolenaar (R-MI), and Stanford faculty member Dr. Simon Jackson discussing the American National Election Survey

MIT Washington Office Releases report on Innovation Deficit
Our colleagues in the MIT Washington Office released the report "The Future Postponed--Why Declining Investment in Basic Research threatens a U.S. Innovation Deficit" this week. The report is available here.
Friday Humor
And, last but not least, here is a little Friday humor for you drone policy enthusiasts (thanks to Mike Waring):
Have a great weekend and congratulations on graduating a new group of young hopefuls!
Upcoming Hearings
Tuesday, May 5
Continuing America's Leadership: Realizing the Promise of Precision Medicine for Patients
Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee
Hearings to discuss the possibilities that precision medicine present for improved healthcare. 3:20PM

Wednesday, May 6
Higher Education Act Reauthorization
Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee
Hearings to examine the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, focusing on the role of consumer information in college choice. 10:00AM
 
Nomination Announcements
EPA Science Advisory Board
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites nominations of scientific experts from a diverse range of disciplines to be considered for appointment to the Science Advisory Board (SAB) and six SAB committees. The chartered SAB provides strategic advice to the EPA Administrator on a variety of EPA science and research programs. All the work of SAB committees and panels is under the direction of the chartered SAB. The chartered SAB reviews all SAB committee and panel draft reports and determines whether they are appropriate to send to the EPA Administrator. The SAB Staff Office is seeking nominations of experts to serve on the chartered SAB in the following disciplines as they relate to human health and the environment: Analytical chemistry; ecological sciences and ecological assessment; economics; engineering; geochemistry; health disparities; health sciences; hydrology; hydrogeology; medicine; microbiology; modeling; pediatrics; public health; risk assessment; social, behavioral and decision sciences; statistics; and toxicology. should be submitted in time to arrive no later than May 27, 2015. The SAB Staff Office is especially interested in scientists with expertise described above who have knowledge and experience in air quality; agricultural sciences; climate change; drinking water; energy and the environment; water quality; water quantity; water reuse; ecosystem services; community environmental health; sustainability; chemical safety; green chemistry; human health risk assessment; homeland security; and waste and waste management. Read the full announcement here.
 
Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award
The Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award is bestowed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy to mid-career scientists and engineers in recognition of exceptional scientific, technical, and/or engineering achievements related to the broad missions of the U.S. Department of Energy and its programs. The Lawrence Award is administered by the Department of Energy's Office of Science. The Award consists of a citation signed by the Secretary of Energy, a gold-plated medal, and a $20,000 honorarium. An award is given in each of the following eight categories: Atomic, Molecular, and Chemical Sciences, Biological and Environmental Sciences, Computer, Information, and Knowledge Sciences, Condensed Matter and Materials Sciences, Energy Science and Innovation, Fusion and Plasma Sciences, High Energy Physics, National Security and Nonproliferation, and Nuclear Physics.
 
Enrico Fermi Award
The Enrico Fermi Award is one of the longest running and most prestigious science and technology awards given by the US Government. The award recognizes outstanding contributions and achievements that are particularly distinguished and demonstrate scientific, technical, management or policy leadership that are related to all basic and applied research, science, and technology supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and its programs. The Award consists of a citation signed by the President of the United States and the Secretary of Energy, a gold-plated medal, and a $50,000 honorarium.

National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Nominations are currently being accepted for the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The National Medal of Science is awarded by the President to individuals deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding cumulative contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, engineering, or behavioral or social sciences, in service to the nation. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation is awarded to individuals, teams, companies, or divisions of companies for contributions to America's economic, environmental, and social well-being.
Nominations for the National Medal of Science are due on April 27, 2015. More information on the nomination process is available here. Nominations for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation must be received by June 1, 2015. More information is available here.

Research Articles
Senate health committee leaders launch effort to help realize the promise of electronic health records to increase quality of care
 
House introduces 2-year NASA Authorization Bill
Rules Add Flexibility in International Student Programs
Dava Newman Confirmed as NASA Deputy Administrator
Senate advances 'secret science' bill, setting up possible showdown with White House
Who earns a doctorate? More women, more foreigners, more minorities 
NIH names Dr. Eliseo Pérez-Stable director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
At the Pentagon, Carter looks to a bygone era as a way to the future
Mikulski Vows to Increase NASA's 2016 Budget
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