January 5, 2011
Two Republican measures could impede infrastructure funding. On their first day of work, members of the 112th Congress adopted rules of order including a repeal of a 1998 provision that allowed lawmakers to block legislation that failed to appropriate transportation funds at the level set forth in authorization legislation. Republicans argue that the new rule simply prohibits transportation spending above authorized levels, but groups including the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce contend that the rule could harm transportation funding.
December 21, 2010
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 FY2011–FY2013 for the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, basic research at the Energy Department, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy. The legislation also authorizes funding for existing and new STEM education programs.
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.
December 17, 2010
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.
December 15, 2010
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.
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.
December 14, 2010
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.
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).
December 1, 2010
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.
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.