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AAU WEEKLY WRAP-UP

January 10, 2014 

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CONTENTS 
CONGRESSIONAL SCHEDULE   NEW 
BUDGET & APPROPRIATIONS 
Appropriators Working to Wrap up FY14 Omnibus Funding   UPDATED            
OTHER CONGRESSIONAL ISSUES 
Associations Ask Senator Leahy to Hold a Second Hearing on Patent Legislation   UPDATED 
OTHER 
Golden Goose Award Year-In-Review Now Available
AAU Infographic: How Federally Funded Research Made Possible the iPad   NEW

 

CONGRESSIONAL SCHEDULE   NEW

The House met today to consider legislation (H.R. 3362) related to implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  The Senate did not meet.   Both chambers will reconvene on Monday, January 13.  

The Senate next week will resume consideration of legislation to extend emergency unemployment benefits (S. 1845) and will consider a judicial appointment.   The House legislative schedule has not been announced.  Both chambers are expected to take up a stopgap funding bill next week to keep the government funded until they are able to approve a final FY14 omnibus appropriations measure (see next item below). 

 

BUDGET & APPROPRIATIONS

APPROPRIATORS WORKING TO WRAP UP FY14 OMNIBUS FUNDING   UPDATED

House and Senate appropriators continue making progress on the FY14 omnibus funding package, reports CQ.com, but their goal of releasing the package today has slipped to the weekend.  Along with dealing with highly complex spending issues, says the publication, lawmakers and staff are working through more than 100 proposed policy riders.  Congressional leaders will need time to move the package through the two chambers, so a short stopgap spending bill will likely be needed to prevent a government shutdown after the current continuing resolution expires on January 15. 

The negotiators have reached agreement on six of the 12 appropriations bills within the package, says the publication.  These are:  Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Defense, Legislative Branch, Military Construction-Veterans, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development.  CQ.com reports that the Energy-Water and Homeland Security bills are near completion, but issues remain in the Labor-HHS-Education, Financial Services, Interior-Environment, and State-Foreign Operations bills.  Among the unresolved issues are riders related to the Affordable Care Act, abortion funding, the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul, and Environmental Protection Agency carbon regulations. 

The appropriations committee leaders who are assembling the spending package have said little publicly about how they are allocating funding among the 12 appropriations bills, but Politico reports that "new investments in science and medical research will be possible."     

The FY14 spending package puts flesh on the bones of the budget agreement that the House and Senate passed in December.  That budget deal set the discretionary spending level for FY14 at about halfway between the relatively high number originally approved by the Senate and the much lower number originally approved by the House.  (The December agreement also set the funding level for FY15.)  Within the FY14 total, defense and nuclear weapons programs will receive about $520 billion, which is $22.4 billion more than the Pentagon was slated to receive under the sequester and $2.4 billion above the final FY13 funding level.  Non-defense programs-where most university research and education activities are funded-will receive $492 billion, which is $22.4 billion above both the FY14 sequester level and the final FY13 funding level.   (See a detailed Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis here.)    

 

OTHER CONGRESSIONAL ISSUES

ASSOCIATIONS ASK SENATOR LEAHY TO HOLD A SECOND HEARING ON PATENT LEGISLATION   UPDATED

The higher education associations that are working together on patent reform sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on January 3 asking him to hold a second hearing on legislation to reform patent litigation.  The purpose of the hearing would be to allow universities and other stakeholders to testify about the complexities surrounding this issue.

The Committee held a hearing December 17 on abusive patent litigation, where witnesses primarily from companies and industry associations discussed the bill introduced by Senator Leahy, the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013 (S. 1720), as well as patent litigation bills introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) (S. 1612), John Cornyn (R-TX) (S. 1013), and Charles Schumer (D-NY) (S. 866).  Senators also reviewed the House-passed Innovation Act (H.R. 3309).     

At the hearing, titled "Protecting Small Businesses and Promoting Innovation by Limiting Patent Troll Abuse," several Judiciary Committee members urged that the panel be deliberative in developing legislation on this complex issue and called for holding another hearing to hear from stakeholders not represented at the hearing, such as universities.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is understood to be developing a series of briefings for Senate staff to provide them with the opportunity to hear a range of perspectives on key issues from patent stakeholders, and is considering an additional hearing following those briefings.  The higher education associations are encouraging both activities. 

 

OTHER 

GOLDEN GOOSE AWARD YEAR-IN-REVIEW NOW AVAILABLE

The organizations that created the Golden Goose Award, including AAU, have published a 2013 year-in-review document.  The four-page summary features pictures of the awardees at the September awards ceremony and information on media, White House, and congressional attention to the award, as well as a look ahead to activities in 2014. 

The Golden Goose Award, which is entering its third year, recognizes scientists and engineers whose federally funded research may have seemed obscure when it was conducted but led to major breakthroughs and resulted in significant societal benefits. 

AAU INFOGRAPHIC: HOW FEDERALLY FUNDED RESEARCH MADE POSSIBLE THE IPAD   NEW

AAU's latest infographic, "Riding the Wave of Federal Investment:  How Federal Research Made the iPad Possible," describes the variety of technologies that made possible that ubiquitous communications tool, the iPad.

The technologies highlighted in the interactive infographic range from multi-touch screens pioneered with National Science Foundation (NSF) funding, to microprocessors developed with funding from NASA and the U.S. Air Force, to lithium-ion batteries created with support from NSF and the Department of Energy.  (A printable version of the infographic is here.)

The AAU iPad document joins other materials on the association's Societal Benefits-Illustrated  webpage that identify the role of federally funded basic research in development of inventions that have become integral to modern life.  These include semiconductors, the Global Positioning System, life-saving medical treatments and devices, Google, and technologies that support and protect U.S. troops in combat.  

 

End of document

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