Tag Archive: Policy and Government Affairs

Articles relevant to Government Affairs.

IT Research Hearing Focuses on Security, Education

On February 14, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Research held a hearing on Applications for Information Technology Research and Development. CCC Chair and former CRA Board Chair Ed Lazowska, CRA-W Chair and current CRA Board Member Kathryn McKinley, representing Microsoft, and Kelly Gaither of the University of Texas at Austin testified on behalf of the computing community and articulated the importance of federal funding for computing research.

Fiscal Cliff Deal Isn’t a Deal for Science

With the early morning January 1st deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” reached in the Senate — a deal that the House would ultimately approve — the 24-hour news networks turned off their fiscal cliff countdown clocks and turned instead to analyzing “what it all means.” Those discussions invariably focused on the tax implications of the deal — the extension of most of the Bush-era tax cuts. What was largely glossed over in the aftermath was the deal’s impact on federal spending and whether Congress had solved the problem of the looming sequester that threatened to cut up to 10 percent from nearly every discretionary spending account in the budget. The fact was, Congress had not solved the problem, it had merely elected to kick the problem down the road a bit farther out of sight.

Election Impacts

Washington remains configured for political gridlock after Tuesday’s elections, a fact which seems to portend two more years like the last two. But party leaders on both sides have indicated a willingness to work together in the new Congress, perhaps softening the hard line that built the so-called “fiscal cliff” towards which the country now hurtles. That willingness to compromise will be put to the test even before the new Congress is sworn in, as the lame duck session of the current Congress has two important deadlines looming before they can adjourn.

2013 Leadership in Science Policy Institute Accepting Nominations

As part of its mission to develop a next generation of leaders in the computing research community, the CRA’s Computing Community Consortium (CCC) announces the second offering of the CCC Leadership in Science Policy Institute (LiSPI), intended to educate computing researchers on how science policy in the U.S. is formulated and how our government works. We are currently seeking nominations for participants.

With Elections Pending, Big Question on Science Budgets Remain

With both parties having wrapped up their presidential nominating conventions, Congress returns to Washington with much of the Federal budget process unfinished. The congressional leadership has already conceded that they will not finish FY 2013 appropriations before the end of this session, leaving the 12 unfinished annual appropriations bills for the next Congress to resolve. Congress also remains unresolved about what to do with pending across-the-board cuts to federal agencies and programs that are scheduled for January, 2, 2013. Those cuts, called for in the Budget Control Act of 2011 and triggered because Congress failed to agree on a plan to cut the Federal budget deficit, will happen unless Congress agrees to do something to stop them.

Despite Austere Budget, Science Would See Increases in President’s Plan

In his last annual budget request before facing voters this November, President Obama showed his commitment to debt reduction by calling for cuts across almost all Federal agencies. But amidst the cuts, the President’s budget contains some key investments in research and development, including increased investments in computing research, that demonstrate his belief that Federally supported research can help spark the innovation required to keep the Nation placed at the top of an increasingly competitive world.

NSF, NIST Do Surprisingly Well in FY 2012 Appropriations

Despite relatively meager marks from the House and Senate for FY12 science budgets, a few key science agencies received a bit of a surprise in November when congressional appropriators provided final funding levels that exceeded those previously approved levels. The National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technology both will see increases in FY12 compared to FY11, and NASA, which had been slated for large cuts, will see those cuts mitigated somewhat. In the bill, NSF will see an increase of 2.5 percent versus its FY11 level, NIST will see an increase of $33 million, and NASA will see a decrease of $648 million-though markedly better than the $1.6 billion cut originally proposed.

Computing Researchers Get ‘Schooled’ on Science Policy at CCC Workshop

As part of its mission to develop a next generation of leaders in the computing research community, the Computing Research Association’s Computing Community Consortium recently held its inaugural Leadership in Science Policy Institute (LiSPI). This one-day workshop was intended to educate a small cadre of computing researchers on how science policy in the U.S. is formulated and how our government works. Participants heard candid and “off-the-record” views from people who do it or have done it. Thirty-four computer scientists and engineers from twenty-five different universities and research organizations attended the November 7, 2011 workshop.

A Shifting Perspective on Computing’s Future?

As all of us are acutely aware, recent turmoil in the financial markets, near gridlock on Capitol Hill, uncertainty about long-term fiscal planning in Congress, and concerns about hesitancy in the job market are all converging to create a somewhat daunting perspective for computing research, and especially for funding for computing research, in the next few years.

Computing Researchers Take to the Hill as Congress Debates Science Budgets

While congressional appropriators struggled to finish their work on the FY2012 budget—and a congressional supercommittee debated short- and long-term changes to the budget to combat the massive government debt—members of the computing research community continued their efforts in a variety of ways in September to make the case for the federal investment in early-stage computing research.

House Appropriators Approve Small Bump to NSF Research in FY12

While Congress worked to pass a last-minute debt-limit deal that could spell deep cuts for federal science agencies in FY13, members of the House Appropriations Committee approved legislation in mid-July that would provide a slight increase in research funding at the National Science Foundation in FY12, but cuts to education efforts at the Foundation and other science agencies within the bill.