DC Digest — November 6, 2015

In today’s issue:

  • Congress Passes Two-Year Budget Deal
  • Higher Ed, Innovation Coalitions Advocate Increase in Research Funding
  • Panel Discussion on Future of Polling Technology (Nov. 10)
  • Duke in DC Welcomes New Health Policy Center
  • White House Releases Strategy for American Innovation
  • AUTM Releases Highlights of Annual Licensing Survey

CONGRESS PASSES TWO-YEAR BUDGET DEAL
Last week, Congress passed a two-year budget agreement, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (H.R. 1314). The legislation set federal spending targets for FY16 and FY17, as well as extending the public debt limit through March 15, 2017.

The budget package provides $80 billion in sequester relief for discretionary spending over two years-split equally between defense and nondefense programs-and suspend the federal debt limit through March 15, 2017. The added discretionary spending is allocated by $50 billion in FY16 and $30 billion in FY17. The package includes an additional $32 billion over two years for defense and nondefense security programs from the Overseas Contingency Operations Fund. That account does not count against the discretionary spending caps.

The spending increases will be be paid for with cuts in the Social Security Disability Insurance fund, Medicare payments to doctors and other health-care providers, crop subsidies, and other areas. New revenue would be raised, in part, by auctioning off portions of the government-owned broadcast spectrum and selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Congress must now pass appropriations bills for FY16. Current funding levels expire on Dec. 11.

HIGHER ED, INNOVATION COALITIONS ADVOCATE INCREASE IN RESEARCH FUNDING
On Oct. 29, the Association of American Universities (AAU) released a statement on the budget deal expressing support for the measure and also urging Congress to enact appropriations bills this year and next that “increase increase federal investments in such vital areas as higher education and scientific research.”

On Nov. 2, the coalition of industry, higher education, and scientific organizations that developed the Innovation: An American Imperative sent a letter to members of Congress urging them “to make strong investments in America’s innovation ecosystem one of your highest priorities by increasing federal research funding by at least 5.2 percent above FY 2015 levels.”

AAU Statement on Federal Budget Deal
Letter on appropriations process by coalitions

PANEL DISCUSSION ON FUTURE OF POLLING TECHNOLOGY (NOV. 10)
On Tuesday, November 10, Duke in DC, POLIS and Microsoft Campaign will host a panel discussion on: Technology & The Future of Polling.

We consume information and communicate in completely different ways than we did five or ten years ago.  Across all generations, people are choosing smartphones over landlines, streaming over traditional television, and becoming savvier in how they interact on the internet. Do these behaviors create insurmountable challenges for the polling industry?  Or do these emerging technologies pave the way for the next generation of polling?

Join POLIS and Professor Ken Rogerson for your chance to weigh in, in real time, with experts on polling and campaigns. We’ll use Bing Pulse to voice Duke opinions from campus on the issues discussed during the DC-based discussion – featuring Professor Sunshine Hillygus!

Monuts and coffee will be served!

November 10, 9-10am
RH 149
RSVP here: http://goo.gl/forms/0z1agQfC4N

DC PANEL DISCUSSION FEATURING:

Amy Walter – Moderator
National Editor, The Cook Political Report
Neil Newhouse (T ’74)
Partner & Co-Founder, Public Opinion Strategies;
Sunshine Hillygus, PhD
Professor of Political Science, Duke University
Margie Omero
Managing Director, Purple Insights

Follow the discussion on Twitter: #pollingtech

DUKE IN DC OFFICE WELCOMES NEW HEALTH POLICY CENTER
Duke University is launching a new health policy center whose goal is to develop ideas on health reform and move them into practical implementation. The center, founded with a $16.5 million gift from Duke medical school alumnus Robert J. Margolis and his wife Lisa, through the Robert and Lisa Margolis Family Foundation, will connect the intellectual resources at Duke with policymakers and policy analysts in the public and private sector.

The center’s inaugural director will be Mark McClellan, one of the nation’s leaders in health policy and reform. McClellan is currently a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and director of the Health Care Innovation and Value Initiatives, and much of this work will be moving to the new Duke-Margolis Center. Gregory Daniel, a Brookings fellow and leader of its biomedical innovation portfolio, will join McClellan and help direct the center’s Washington, D.C., office.

Duke Launches New Health Policy Center (Duke Today)

WHITE HOUSE RELEASES STRATEGY FOR AMERICAN INNOVATION
The Obama Administration, on Oct. 21, released an updated version of its Stategy for American Innovation, which identifies investments and policies “to sustain the innovation ecosystem that will deliver benefits to all Americans.” The Strategy was first released in 2009 and updated in 2011.

Among the recommendations in the strategy is a call for “robust world-leading investments” in fundamental research and research infrastructure, as well as “strong and sustained investment” in STEM education.

 Strategy for American Innovation

AUTM RELEASES HIGHLIGHTS OF ANNUAL LICENSING SURVEY
In October, the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) released highlights of its FY2014 U.S. Licensing Activity Survey, with full survey results due to be published later this year.

According to the survey, university technology licenses rose in FY2014 by 4.5 percent from the previous year to 5,435, while the number of startup companies formed was up by nearly 12 percent to 914. The number of U.S. patents rose by 11 percent to 6,363, and the number of new commercial products created rose by 34 percent to 965.

AUTM Licensing Survey Highlight