October 30, 2013
On October 30 COFPAES met for its biannual Delegates Meeting. The COFPAES delegation, including COFPAES Chairman Chris Stone and COFPAES Treasurer Dan Hanlon, (accompanied by NSPE Manager of Government Relations Arielle Eiser) met with staff from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to promote QBS and advocate for a solution to the ongoing QBS violations in the GSA supply schedules. COFPAES then met for the Delegates Meeting. Topics discussed included QBS/licensing enforcement, GSA schedules, and design-build. COFPAES approved a plan to move forward with a white paper to initiate discussions with agencies that can serve as models or "centers of excellence" for contracting.
October 18, 2013
On October 18th, NSPE sent a letter urging the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to strengthen its qualification standards for filling federal professional engineering positions. OPM recently issued a proposed draft revision to the current qualification standards that would add ABET-accredited engineering technology bachelor degrees as qualifying for professional engineering positions. While NSPE greatly values the important role of the engineering technologists as part of the engineering team, the "professional engineer" is a protected term in all 50 states. The existing individual occupational requirements for a professional engineering position in the federal government do not meet the requirements for PE licensure.
September 25, 2013
On September 25, NSPE endorsed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (H.R. 3080). Introduced on September 11th by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-W.Va), this legislation would streamline the infrastructure project delivery process and strengthen our nation's water transportation networks. In a letter of support to Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member Rahall, NSPE President Robert Green, P.E., F.NSPE, writes, "WRRDA would overhaul and dramatically improve the process for federal water resources development. The legislation sets hard deadlines on the time and cost of studies, consolidates or eliminates duplicative studies and concurrent reviews that can hold up projects for years, and streamlines environmental reviews.
September 24, 2013
On September 24, NSPE's Government Relations Manager Arielle Eiser attended a political action committee event for Senator Tim Kaine. NSPE's top legislative issues were discussed, including veterans' licensure and certification and the need to strengthen the American engineering workforce. Senator Kaine is the primary sponsor of the Troop Talent Act of 2013 (S. 700/H.R. 1796) in the Senate, which NSPE endorsed earlier this month. The Troop Talent Act would facilitate improved alignment of specialty skills acquired in military service with civilian certifications or licenses required for post-service employment. Learn more about the NSPE-PAC and contribute.
September 12, 2013
On September 12, NSPE and NICET endorsed the Troop Talent Act of 2013. Introduced by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) in the Senate and Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in the House of Representatives, this legislation (S. 700/H.R. 1796) would facilitate improved alignment of specialty skills acquired in military service with civilian certifications or licenses required for post-service employment.
September 3, 2013
On September 3rd, NSPE submitted comments in response to the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) proposed National Tunnel Inspection Standards for highway tunnels in accordance with MAP-21. NSPE commended FHWA for recognizing the critical role PEs perform in our nation's tunnel inspection process. The proposed rule requires that a Program Manager must, at a minimum, be a registered P.E. and have 10 years tunnel or bridge inspection experience and be a nationally certified tunnel inspector. While NSPE strongly supports the requirement that a Program Manager be a licensed P.E. and possess 10 years of tunnel or bridge inspection experience, NSPE urged the FHWA to eliminate the additional requirement to be a nationally certified tunnel inspector. Learn more.
August 9, 2013
On August 9, NSPE endorsed the Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act of 2013 (H.R. 2750). Introduced on July 19 by House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), H.R. 2750 would protect the integrity of the federal procurement process and enable small and large businesses alike to compete for federal construction contracts. In a letter of support to Chairman Graves,
On August 9, NSPE sent an open letter to the new Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, urging him to strongly support and encourage the use of qualifications-based selection in the federal procurement process. In the open letter to Secretary Foxx, NSPE President Robert Green, P.E., F.NSPE writes, "Research shows that government agencies in the United States achieve lower construction costs, more efficient use of taxpayers' money, and higher construction satisfaction when procuring design and engineering services based on qualifications rather than price. By strongly supporting and encouraging the use of qualifications-based selection in the procurement of transportation projects, you can help ensure that the nation's transportation system will be safe, sustainable, cost-effective, and an example to other countries for generations to come.
August 1, 2013
On August 1, 2013, NSPE, along with members of the STEM Education Coalition, urged the U.S. House of Representatives to restore a critical funding provision to HR 2131, the SKILLS Visa Act. One of the primary immigration bills in the House, this legislation initially included a provision that would direct fees paid by employers hiring foreign workers to support improvements in U.S. STEM education that will help improve American competitiveness. This provision was removed from the bill during the Judiciary Committee's June markup for procedural reasons. NSPE joins with other members in the science and engineering community to advocate for the restoration of the vital provision. Read the letter here.
July 31, 2013
On July 31, Manager of Government Relations Arielle Eiser attended the annual Washington Internship for Students of Engineering (WISE) public policy presentations. Top engineering students from universities across the country presented public policy solutions to some of our greatest challenges. Presentations included the potential of biodiesel use as a viable alternative fuel source, reshaping the nation's intelligent electrical infrastructure to maximize energy efficiency and storage capacity, and revamping data management strategies for the smart grid to improve reliability, security, and efficiency.