DC Digest – April 21, 2016

In today’s issue:

  • Patek Goes to Washington, Talks Up Research
  • APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE: Subcommittees Mark-Up Energy and Water, Agriculture
  • APPROPRIATIONS LOOK-AHEAD: Subcommittees Mark-ups Continue
  • House and Senate Letters Urge Support for International Education Programs
  • Senate Committee Approves Five Biomedical Innovation Bills
  • First 2016 Golden Goose Winners Announced

Last week, Sheila Patek, associate professor of biology, took part in a Capitol Hill event hosted by the Coalition to Promote Research to highlight university faculty members with some unusual sounding research projects. Patek presented her research on mantis shrimp, which was included in Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) December “wastebook,” which attempts to highlight “wasteful federal spending.”

Professor Patek Goes to Washington, Talks Up Research (today.duke.edu)

APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE: Subcommittees Mark-Up Energy and Water, Agriculture
On April 13, the Energy and Water appropriations subcommittees in the House and Senate approved their FY17 funding bills with an increase of $50 million for the Office of Science at the Department of Energy.

Both the House and  Senate bills would fund the Office of Science at $5.4 billion, which is $50 million, or one percent, above the FY16 enacted level. In addition, the House bill would fund ARPA-E at $305.8 million, an increase of $14.8 million, or 5.1 percent, above the FY16 enacted level of $291 million.

Meanwhile, FY17 agriculture appropriations bill was also considered in subcommittees and includes $375 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), a $25 million increase. AFRI is the Department of Agriculture’s premiere competitive research program.

Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2017 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill (appropriations.house.gov)
Senate Subcommittee Approves FY17 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill (appropriations.senate.gov)
Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2017 Agriculture Appropriations Bill (appropriations.house.gov)

APPROPRIATIONS LOOK-AHEAD: Subcommittee Mark-ups Continue
This week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee will hold mark-ups on the Legislative Branch Appropriations bills, as well as hold a closed-door meeting on Intelligence Appropriations.

In the Senate, Subcommittees have mark-ups scheduled for the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) (Tuesday); Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD)(Tuesday); Interior and Environment (Wednesday); and Defense (Wednesday). Full committee mark-ups are scheduled for CJS and T-HUD on Thursday.

Members of the House and Senate have sent Dear Colleague letters to their respective appropriators urging them to sustain funding for the Title VI International Education and Fulbright-Hays programs in FY17.

The bipartisan House letter, led by Rep. David Price (D-NC) and co-signed by 42 other House members, notes the growing importance to the nation of expertise in critical language and area studies, including the shortage of federal government personnel with the language and cultural skills necessary to meet strategic needs. The Senate letter, signed by 21 Democrats, requests increased investments in the Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs, because “they are the federal government’s most comprehensive international education programs.”

Dear Colleague Letter to House Leaders (aau.edu)
Dear Colleague Letter to Senate Leaders (aau.edu)

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on April 6 approved a package of five biomedical innovation bills focused on the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The bills are: the Promoting Biomedical Research and Public Health for Patients Act ( S. 2742 ), the NIH Workforce Authorities Modernization Act (S. 2700), the Promise for Antibiotics and Therapeutics for Health Act (S. 185), the Advancing Precision Medicine Act (S. 2173), and the Advancing NIH Strategic Planning and Representation in Medical Research Act (S. 2745).

Senate Health Committee Passes Last of 19 Bipartisan Bills, Completing Work on Companion to House-Passed 21st Century Cures Act (help.senate.gov)

Five researchers who have led a highly influential longitudinal study of adolescent health are the first 2016 winners of the Golden Goose Award. The award, which was founded in 2012 by a coalition of organizations, including AAU, honors scientists whose federally funded work may have seemed odd or obscure when it was first conducted but has resulted in significant benefits to society.

The researchers-Drs. Peter Bearman, Barbara Entwisle, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Ronald Rindfuss, and Richard Udry-worked at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the late 1980s and early 1990s to design and execute the  National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, or Add Health for short.

Golden Goose Announces First 2016 Winners (pdf)