Tag Archive: Policy and Government Affairs

Articles relevant to Government Affairs.

PCAST Finds IT R&D Critical to U.S. Competitiveness, Calls for Renewed Federal Investment

Backed by strong support from the White House, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a biennial report about the status and direction of the nation’s 14-agency, $4.3 billion Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) program last month. The report emphasized the critical role of advances in networking and information technology (NIT) to U.S. economic competitiveness, and called on the nation to “continue to innovate more rapidly and creatively than other countries in important areas of NIT” in order to sustain and improve overall quality of life.

Congress Adjourns Without Finishing Work on Funding, Science Program

As predicted by many in the science advocacy community, Congress adjourned well in advance of the November mid-term elections without having finished work on any spending bills or a reauthorization of federal research and education programs. Without completed 2011 appropriations, federal agencies began the 2011 fiscal year with spending capped at the 2010 fiscal year levels—a situation that will remain until Congress returns to finish the 2011 appropriations process. Complicating matters is the likelihood of significant change in the composition and, perhaps, leadership of Congress, making it difficult to predict exactly how and when Congress will complete appropriations.

Congress Appears Bullish on NSF, NIST

Congress appears favorably inclined to approve significant increases to some key science agencies next fiscal year, based on early action by both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Before the August recess both of the House and Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations subcommittees approved increases for the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technology that were at or just below the significant increases requested by President Obama in his FY 2011 budget request in February.

Science, Computing Research Fare Well in Obama FY11 Budget

Rumors of an Administration pullback in its support for science proved unfounded, as President Barack Obama in early February released an FY 2011 budget request that continues three key science agencies on trajectories that would see their funding double by 2017. The news for federal support of computing research was even better, with computing research accounts in several agencies slated for even greater percentage increases.

Congress Approves Increases for Science, Computing Research

Computing research programs at the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science are among those slated for increases in fiscal year 2010, thanks to appropriations legislation that would keep those agencies on a path to double their budgets over the next six years. Congress approved the last of twelve annual appropriations bills necessary to fund the operations of government on December 18, providing a healthy increase to the NSF budget, a more modest increase to DOE’s Office of Science, and a slight increase in real terms for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Science Funding Faring Well in Budget Process But Appropriations Still a Long Way from Complete

As Members of Congress returned to their districts for the month-long August Congressional Recess, they left an appropriations process on pace to deliver federal science agencies significant budget increases in FY 2010. While the process is far from complete—and much could potentially happen to derail it—the milestones reached so far suggest that Congress intends to hold true to their oft-stated pledge of doubling the budgets for some key federal science agencies over the next several years.

Congress Debates Support for Science in Stimulus, Appropriations

The first significant spending bill to cross newly elected President Barack Obama’s desk for approval in mid-February likely will be a mammoth $900 billion economic stimulus package that could include nearly $10 billion in federal research funds and research infrastructure support. That bill could be followed shortly by another big spending bill—an omnibus appropriations bill that includes funding for nearly every federal agency for FY2009, including hoped-for increases to the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Filling Top S&T Posts Key Task For New Administration

The change in presidential administrations in the New Year means more than just a changing of staff within the offices of the White House. The leadership of nearly every federal agency is politically appointed, and a change of administration likely means a change of leadership in every one of those positions and programs—including dozens of leadership positions at key science agencies relevant to computing and in policy-making positions throughout the executive branch.

Science Does Poorly in Funding Stopgap

After failing to meet the end-of-fiscal-year deadline on the annual appropriations bills necessary to keep the Federal government functioning, Congress and the Administration agreed on a stopgap funding measure in late September that will ensure that Federal science agencies in 2009 will face a fourth straight year of reduced budgets.