Despite appearances, Congress has not forgotten about the Fiscal Year 2021 budget. The problem has been the ongoing disagreement on how to respond to the COVID pandemic. Since Congress hasn’t been able to get beyond that issue, it hasn’t been able to focus on other high-level topics. However, the approaching November election, and a desire to not have a government shutdown just before voters go to the polls, has necessitated a continuing resolution (or CR) to be considered.
CRA Government Affairs
Posts categorized under: Information Technology R&D Highlights
There has been a flurry of activity over the last few weeks on a number of AI related pieces of legislation in Congress.
Continuing our review of the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) federal budget, we turn to the House Appropriations Committee’s Energy and Water bill. This bill contains the budgets for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE SC) and ARPA-E, as well as funding for the Exascale Computing R&D program, for which DOE is the lead federal agency. While the House’s numbers are significantly better than the 17% cut that the Administration requested in February, they represent a fairly small increase over last year’s budget. Let’s get into the details.
Continuing our review of the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) federal budget, we turn to the House Appropriations Committee’s bill for the Department of Defense. DOD’s Science and Technology (DOD S&T) program is made up of three accounts: 6.1 (basic research), 6.2 (applied research), and 6.3 (advanced technology development). These accounts are themselves made up of individual accounts for each of the three services (Army, Navy, and Air Force), as well as a Defense Wide account. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a section under the Defense Wide account. Unfortunately, the numbers that the House settled on for these accounts are not good, but they are better than what the Administration requested.
After handling the multiple bills responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress is finally turning to handling the annual federal budget. As is the norm, the House Appropriations Committee has begun its work first. A bill of most importance to the CS and IT research community is the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) bill; it contains the funding for the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and NASA. The bill as a whole is good news, with a few exceptions; but it is also pretty good news for NSF.
On Monday, June 22nd, President Trump issued the latest in a series of immigration and visa related orders designed to limit the involvement of foreign students and researchers, particular those from mainland China, in U.S. research efforts. The order follows a series of other proposals and orders emanating from the White House and Capitol Hill that have raised the ire of higher-education, U.S. industry, and the computing research community over recent weeks.
We oppose the banning of any foreign student or researcher unless there is clear evidence of their personal connection to wrongdoing. Indiscriminate large-scale banning of students and researchers from any particular country deprives the U.S. research enterprise of contributions by international scholars, most of whom are not involved in IP theft or espionage.