December 21, 2010
Congress Passes America COMPETES Reauthorization Act
Congress passed the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act (H.R. 5116, S. 3605). The America COMPETES Act, first enacted in 2007, was drafted in response to " Rising Above the Gathering Storm," the National Academies' report on America's lagging competitiveness in science and technology. The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act funds investments in science and engineering research and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education from kindergarten to the postdoctoral level.
Specifically, the bill authorizes funding from FY2011FY2013 for the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, basic research at the Energy Department, and the Advanced Research Projects AgencyEnergy. The legislation also authorizes funding for existing and new STEM education programs.
The STEM Education Coalition, of which NSPE is a member, sent a letter to the House of Representatives earlier this week urging them to follow the Senate in passing the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act. The STEM Education Coalition supports STEM programs for teachers and students at the Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies that offer STEM-related programs. The coalition is composed of more than 1,000 diverse groups representing all sectors of the technological workforce.
NSPE Supports National Science Funding
NSPE Senior Manager of Government Relations Sarah Ogden represented NSPE at a Coalition for National Science Funding meeting. NSPE is a member of CNSF, an alliance of more than 125 organizations united by a concern for the future of the national science, mathematics, and engineering professions. CNSF supports increasing national investment in the National Science Foundation's research and education programs.
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December 17, 2010
President Signs Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act
The President signed into law the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act. The tax package includes a two-year extension of the R&D tax credit (retroactive to January 1, 2010, through 2011). NSPE is a member of the R&D Credit Coalition, a group of more than 275 trade and professional associations and companies of all sizes that collectively represent millions of American workers engaged in U.S.-based research throughout major sectors of the economy, including aerospace, agriculture, biotechnology, chemicals, electronics, energy, information technology, manufacturing, medical technology, pharmaceuticals, software, and telecommunications. The objectives of the coalition are a strong, permanent R&D credit of commensurate rate for all companies; a 20% simplified credit; and an extension of the traditional credit.
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December 15, 2010
NSPE Comments on Offshore Oil-Drilling Safety before Chemical Safety Board
NSPE General Counsel Arthur Schwartz commented before the Chemical Safety Board on the role of professional engineers in offshore oil-drilling safety. NSPE believes that PEs should supervise all engineering design, operations, and maintenance of offshore oil rigs. Read NSPE's comments here. The Chemical Safety Board is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents, including the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
NSPE Member Advises FDA on External Defibrillator Improvement
NSPE Senior Manager of Government Relations Sarah Ogden and NSPE member Robert Cargill, Ph.D., P.E., attended a Food and Drug Administration External Defibrillator Improvement Initiative workshop. Cargill participated in a panel discussion on engineering design practices that could improve the next generation of devices.
The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Devices and Radiological Health has launched the External Defibrillator Improvement Initiative to encourage innovation in and improve the safety and effectiveness of the next generation of external defibrillators. While FDA urges consumers to continue using current external defibrillators, the agency hopes to improve design and manufacturing practices to enhance future devices and reduce instances of failure.
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December 14, 2010
NSPE Cosponsors Congressional Briefing on High-Performance Building Metrics
NSPE cosponsored a High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition briefing, " Building Metrics: Understanding Performance & Making Informed Choices." The briefing included presentations by professional engineers from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers and the U.S. Green Building Council and a representative from the National Institute of Building Sciences.
NSPE is a member of the HPBCCC, a coalition of more than 100 associations and corporations that seeks to heighten awareness and inform policymakers about high-performance building issues, including new building technologies, enhanced U.S. economic competitiveness, and increased energy efficiency. The coalition provides guidance and support to the Congressional High-Performance Building Caucus.
Senate Expected to Pass Tax Package
NSPE Senior Manager of Government Relations Sarah Ogden participated in an R&D Credit Coalition teleconference. The Senate is expected to pass the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act, a tax package that includes a two-year extension of the R&D tax credit (retroactive to January 1, 2010, through 2011).
NSPE is a member of the R&D Credit Coalition, a group of more than 275 trade and professional associations and companies of all sizes that collectively represent millions of American workers engaged in U.S.-based research throughout major sectors of the economy, including aerospace, agriculture, biotechnology, chemicals, electronics, energy, information technology, manufacturing, medical technology, pharmaceuticals, software, and telecommunications. The objectives of the coalition are a strong, permanent R&D credit of commensurate rate for all companies; a 20% simplified credit; and an extension of the traditional credit.
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December 1, 2010
NSPE Attends Reception for Congressman Paul Tonko
NSPE General Counsel Arthur Schwartz attended a reception in honor of Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY-21). Tonko, an engineer, has been a champion of NSPE's issues in the 111 th Congress. He serves on the House Science and Technology and Education and Labor Committees.
Congress Passes Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act
The House passed the Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act (H.R. 5112, S. 3250); and the President is expected to sign it into law. The Senate passed the bill in July. The bill seeks to ensure that federal buildings' design, construction, operation, and maintenance personnel have appropriate skills and training to meet energy-efficiency goals and address high-performance building needs.
The bill directs the General Services Administration to consult with professional societies, industry associations, and apprenticeship training providers to identify core competencies necessary for federal personnel performing building operations and maintenance, energy management, safety, and design functions to comply with federal law. GSA then must identify relevant courses, certifications, degrees, licenses, and registrations to demonstrate possession of core competencies. Private industry, apprenticeship training providers, or institutions of higher education would provide the necessary courses.
NSPE has supported the Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act throughout its consideration, sending three joint letters to congressional leadership in support of the bill.
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