DC Digest – September 22, 2014
In Today’s Issue:
- Congress Approves Short-Term Fy15 Continuing Resolution
- Election Discussion Kicks Off, Next Up: Healthcare
- Golden Goose Awards Honor Duke Researchers
- House Approves Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act
- Duke Med, UNC Scientists Make Case for NIH Funding
- Associations Submit Comments to FCC on Net Neutrality
- AAA&S Launches Report on Value of Research to American Dream
CONGRESS APPROVES SHORT-TERM FY15 CONTINUING RESOLUTION
Congress on September 18 gave final approval to the FY15 continuing resolution (CR). The measure (H.J. Res. 124) will sustain funding for federal programs largely at their FY14 levels through December 11, eliminating the possibility of a government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins on October 1. The President is expected to sign the measure. Congress will consider longer-term funding for FY15 when it returns for the lame duck session following the November election.
The CR was needed because Congress has failed to approve any of the FY15 appropriations bills. Along with keeping the government funded, the CR authorizes the President to arm and train Syrian rebels, extends authority for the Export-Import bank for nine months, extends the tax-free status of Internet purchases, adds funding for processing veterans’ disability claims, and funds the Administration’s $88 million request for addressing the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
The pre-election session of Congress is now officially concluded, to be resumed in six weeks after the November elections.
ELECTION DISCUSSION KICKS OFF, NEXT UP: HEALTHCARE
The election discussion series co-hosted by DIW, Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations, and the Forum for Scholars and Publics kicked off last week with an overview of the mid-term elections.
Over the next seven weeks, as candidates are campaigning, the Duke University Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations, along with the Forum for Scholars and Publics and Duke in Washington, will come together each Thursday to delve into an issue central to the mid-term elections. The panels will connect Duke University faculty with experts in Washington, D.C. via teleconference to generate conversation’s between campus and the nation’s capital.
GOLDEN GOOSE AWARDS HONOR DUKE RESEARCHERS
Eight researchers, including a team from Duke, whose work might have sounded odd or impractical at the time it was conducted, but which led to major human and economic benefits, were honored at the third annual Golden Goose Awards ceremony held on September 18 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Veteran journalist Miles O’Brien served as master of ceremonies for the event, at which four Members of the House and Senate spoke and the award winners participated in a roundtable discussion about their work. The program included a video explaining the nature and importance of the awardees’ research.
During the roundtable discussion, the awardees stressed their concern that tight federal research funding has made university researchers and agency program staff risk-adverse, and is prompting many bright young scientists and engineers to forego the difficulties of academic research careers.
Saul Schanberg (deceased), Tiffany Martini Field, Cynthia Kuhn, and Gary Evoniuk, scientists at Duke University and the University of Miami whose research, which included massaging rat pups, led to the groundbreaking discovery of the importance of touch to human development and the introduction of massage as a dramatically successful element of treatment for premature infants.
HOUSE APPROVES REVITALIZE AMERICAN MANUFACTURING AND INNOVATION ACT
The House on September 15 approved by voice vote the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act (H.R. 2996). The legislation would establish a new network of regional public-private manufacturing institutes. The Senate companion measure (S. 1468) has been reported from the Senate Commerce Committee and is awaiting a full Senate vote. AAU and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) endorsed the legislation last February.
DUKE MED, UNC SCIENTISTS MAKE CASE FOR NIH FUNDING
Scientists from Duke University Medical Center and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were in Washington on Thursday of last week to lobby on Capitol Hill for more funding for the National Institutes of Health for scientific research.
They’re joining in an effort with about 50 associations nationwide in what’s become an annual rally in recent years. Participants include researchers and people advocating for research leading to cures for particular diseases.
ASSOCIATIONS SUBMIT COMMENTS TO FCC ON NET NEUTRALITY
Twelve higher education and library associations on September 15 submitted net neutrality reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Net neutrality refers to the non-discriminatory treatment of digital content flowing over the Internet.
The higher education groups that filed the comments with the FCC had previously developed a set of net neutrality principles which they believe should form the basis for new FCC regulations. Those principles were included with initial comments submitted to the FCC on July 18. The groups argue that, although it is appropriate and accepted practice to pay higher rates for higher-capacity connections to the Internet, once connected, users should not be subject to paid prioritization, degrading, or blocking access to content.
In their reply comments, the groups further discuss the importance of an open Internet for education, research, and learning; the benefits of an “Internet reasonable standard” over a “commercially reasonable” standard in maintaining such openness; and the importance of maintaining the regulatory distinction between public and private networks such as campus and library networks that do not serve the general public.
Association Comments on Net Neutrality to FCC (aau.edu)
AAA&S LAUNCHES REPORT ON VALUE OF RESEARCH TO THE AMERICAN DREAM
A group of research and university leaders released a new report from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAA&S) at a press briefing on September 16: Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream.
The report urges federal policymakers to provide long-term, sustainable funding increases for scientific and engineering research in order to maintain the nation’s technological and economic competitiveness. The AAA&S report further encourages and offers actionable recommendations for a stronger research partnership among the federal government, universities and federal laboratories, and the private sector.