January 27, 2011
NSPE sent a joint letter with the High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition to President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar urging them to reconsider the decision to move the Solar Decathlon from the National Mall. The Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The competition is being moved from the Mall in an effort to protect and restore the Mall. The announcement, however, comes just months before the event is set to be held, causing hardship for competing students and event sponsors who have already budgeted and planned for an event in Washington, D.C.
January 25, 2011
NSPE Senior Manager of Government Relations Sarah Ogden attended a meeting of the Food and Drug Administration's Circulatory System Devices Panel. The panel is charged with reviewing and evaluating data concerning the safety and effectiveness of marketed and investigational devices used in the circulatory and vascular systems and making recommendations to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs.
January 11, 2011
NSPE attended a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Human Rights Coalition. The meeting included discussions about post-earthquake reconstruction in Haiti, enhancing collaboration between the science and human rights communities, and working with United Nations human rights mechanisms. The AAAS Human Rights Coalition is composed of scientific associations, professional societies, and science academies that address issues such as how scientific tools can contribute to human rights work and how the scientific community can collaborate with the human rights community.
January 10, 2011
NSPE will cosponsor the Society of Women Engineers's April 2011 Diversity and Inclusion Fuels Innovation in STEM Capitol Hill Day, when leaders from engineering organizations will discuss science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education issues with members of Congress. NSPE also cosponsored last year's event, when NSPE leaders met with Congressmen Paul Tonko (D-NY-21) and Jerry McNerney (D-CA-11), both of whom have worked as engineers.
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 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 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.