- Budget and Tax Update
- AAU Statement on Passage of the Senate Budget Resolution
- CNSR Urges Congressional Leaders to Reach Bipartisan Budget Agreement that Raises Budget Caps
- Nearly 800 Institutions Ask Congress to Act on Behalf of Dreamers
- Senate Subcommittee Hearing on Federal Research Spending
- Senator Rand Paul Introduces Basic Research Legislation
- National Science Board Releases NSF Merit Review Report
BUDGET AND TAX UPDATE
By a 51-49 vote, the Senate last night passed a $4 trillion budget resolution that will enable Republican congressional leaders to pass tax reform legislation without Democratic support. Though the budget raises defense spending, it keeps intact the cut to FY18 nondefense discretionary spending. Senators adopted an amendment, crafted by House and Senate leaders, which could obviate the need to reconcile differences in the House and Senate budget resolutions and could allow the House to vote on the Senate-passed budget as early as next week.
AAU issued a statement in response to encourage congressional leaders to reach a bipartisan budget agreement that raises both defense and nondefense discretionary spending caps.
The Coalition for National Security Research, of which AAU is a member, yesterday sent a letter to urge Congress to negotiate a bipartisan budget deal that raises the discretionary spending budget caps. The BCA caps, the letter says, “are preventing [the Department of Defense] from funding defense science and technology (S&T) and defense basic research at recommended levels.” The letter notes that much of our military’s superior technology including night vision, stealth technology, precision munitions, and global positioning technology, can be attributed to defense S&T.
NEARLY 800 INSTITUTIONS URGE CONGRESS TO ACT ON BEHALF OF DREAMERS
Nearly 800 higher education institutions, including many AAU universities, signed aletter urging congressional intervention on behalf of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) participants. The letter, delivered as part of Protect Dreamers Higher Education Week, says that many in private industry, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, also support a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers.
SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING ON FEDERAL RESEARCH SPENDING
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management (FSO) Subcommittee held a Wednesday hearing titled “Broken Beakers: Federal Support for Research.” The purpose of this hearing was to discuss if federal research investments are being properly spent. Witnesses include: Brian Nosek, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Open Science, University of Virginia, Terence Kealey, Ph.D., Adjunct Scholar, Cato Institute, and Rebecca Cunningham, M.D., Associate Vice President for Research-Health Sciences, University of Michigan Office of Research.
In his opening remarks, FSO Subcommittee Chairman Rand Paul (R-KY) referenced his recently-introduced Basic Research Act (S.1973). Among other provisions, the bill would institute various reforms in the research grant and peer review process, including requiring one unaffiliated academic and one taxpayer advocate to participate in each grant review committee, and the establishment of an Office of the Special Inspector General and Taxpayer Advocate for Research. This bill comes on the heels of Senator Paul’s latest edition of “The Waste Report,” released in late-September. Science magazine has more on the bill here.
NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD RELEASES NSF MERIT REVIEW REPORT
The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) National Science Board recently released its annual Merit Review Report which provides information regarding NSF’s merit review process and awards. The report found that of the 49,000 competitively reviewed proposals acted on by NSF in 2016, 41,000 were research proposals. The agency made nearly 8,800 research awards in FY16, mostly to academic institutions, which corresponds to a 21 percent success rate.