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April 2014 Issue

Democrats Disappointed With First Act Funding for Science
The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a markup in March of H.R. 4186, Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act of 2014 (FIRST). Congress passed bipartisan Competes legislation in 2007 and 2010, which laid out policy directions for U.S. scientific research and innovation. The FIRST Act attempts to replace parts of the Competes legislation. But the bill provides funding at levels less than the rate of inflation for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and would expire in a year.

One of the highest-priority requests from the scientific community is longer-term certainty in funding and policies. This legislation also has a goal of increasing accountability.

Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) of the Full Committee opposes the bill in the current form. “This bill would essentially lock the agencies into their current funding levels for an additional year and sets no path for increases in the future as our economy continues to recover,” she said.

Ranking Member Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology said, “We should be setting an aspirational authorization level for science funding in this committee. Given the investments made by other nations, we cannot afford to be satisfied with the level of funding for the sciences in this country. To rest on our laurels, or to allow funding levels to stagnate too long will allow other nations to catch and surpass the U.S. as the preeminent nation for scientific research.”

The Committee received numerous letters and statements from organizations opposed to the FIRST Act, including: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of American Universities, the Coalition for National Science Funding, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the American Geophysical Union, the American Physical Society, the American Society for Civil Engineers, the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, the Consortium of Social Science Associations, and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Research Coalition.

H.R. 4186 passed the subcommittee as amended by voice vote and will be considered at full committee.


NWIRP Bill in US House Seeks to Mitigate Windstorms’ Impact
The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a markup to consider H.R. 1786, the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2013 (NWIRP). The legislation directs NOAA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support activities to improve the understanding of windstorms and their impacts, and to develop and encourage the implementation of cost-effective mitigation measures to reduce those impacts.

H.R. 1786, as amended, passed the Committee by voice vote and was reported favorably out of Committee.



2014:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT
2013:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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