Members of Congress return to DC on November 13, 2012. Until then, Members will continue behind-the-scenes negotiations on policy and express their opinions from their home districts. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court started a new session.
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IN THIS ISSUE:
Timely Topics: New Supreme Court Session Begins.
- Congress: Sequestration Solution; EPA SAB.
- Administration: NIH Forum – Science Matters; PTO in NYC; FTC Eco Claims.
- Other DC Affiliates: Fraud and Scientific Publications.
Noteworthy News: Fusion Funding; DREAM Act Economy; Gen X and Climate; US Emission Trend; Energy Support; Romney and Immigration; Publics and Graduation; Wind Turbines and China; Patent Swords.
In the Know: A Preview of Upcoming Events in DC.
Timely Topics: New Supreme Court Session Begins.
The US Supreme Court is back in business. With the new session now underway and the Court will examine and rule on several cases of interest. One such case is Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, through which the highest Court could eliminate or curtail affirmative action at public colleges and universities. A recent Chronicle of Higher Education piece delves specifically into the potential ramifications of such a Supreme Court ruling.
The Court’s docket includes a variety of potentially policy-changing cases, including on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Voting Rights Act, and the Alien Tort Statute. A The New York Times article examines these cases and how the Supreme Court may evaluate them.
Capitol News: Legislation, Administrative Actions, and Court Action.
Members left DC to campaign back in their home districts. But, they still managed to focus on policies that did, did not, and possibly will get enacted in DC.
- Sequestration Solution? Members of the Senate, both Republicans and Democrats, are working to develop a compromise to avoid sequestration (see Blog Posting “Congress Left, Sequestration Looming”), as reported by The New York Times. While we likely won’t see the final compromise until after the election, Senate Republicans seem willing to consider increasing revenues. House Republicans still seem unwilling to consider raising revenues, so the compromise to avoid sequestration may elude Members until absolutely necessary.
- EPA Science Advisory Board – Up For a Change? Before leaving town, legislation (HR 6564) to change the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board, was introduced by several House Republicans on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. The Board, which reviews and makes recommendations to EPA on its scientific decisions, has been criticized by some Republicans for ignoring input from industry. The legislation, which has been embraced by industry, would change the Board to accommodate industry’s concerns.
- NIH Forum: NIH posted a 10-minute video of a forum, Science Matters: A Celebration of Science that highlights work and advances from NIH-funded research. The video is hosted by NIH Director Collins and begins with comments from the Congressman Cantor (R-VA), the Majority Leader from the US House of Representatives. The video includes scientific displays and explanations, as well as testimony from individuals who have benefited from medical advances.
- PTO in NYC. The Department of Commerce announced that it will install a permanent staff member in New York City at Cornell’s NYC Tech campus. This partnership with Cornell NYC Tech was described by Commerce as “bringing its full suite of resources to the university community, helping connect students, faculty and mentors to early-stage investors, intellectual property strategies, export assistance tools, government grants, and academic partners.
- FTC Eco Claims. The Federal Trade Commission released revised “Green Guides” for marketers. The “Green Guides” were developed to provide guidelines for markets to use to avoid untruthful claims on the environmental properties of their products. The new guidelines urge marketers to use the terms “eco-friendly” and “environmentally-friendly” cautiously. There are also new sections on “1) certifications and seals of approval; 2) carbon offsets, 3) free-of claims, 4) non-toxic claims, 5) made with renewable energy claims, and 6) made with renewable materials claims.”
- Really, it is Fraud. A study, released by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, reveals that fraud accounted for the recent spike in retracted scientific papers. It found that nearly two-thirds of retractions resulted from misconduct, including fraud.
- Fusion and Funding. While fusion promises an unlimited supply of energy, the lack of substantial results and the high price tag may cause its demise in the US. As reported in an article in The New York Times, criticism of funding for fusion appears to be growing, especially for the National Ignition Facility, which costs nearly $300 million a year to run.
- Dream Act and the Economy. The Center for American Progress released a report claiming that passing the DREAM Act, that provides a pathway for some immigrant children to remain in the US, will greatly benefit the US economy. Specifically, the report concludes “For the nation as a whole, passage of the DREAM Act would add a total of $329 billion to the economy by 2030, support the creation of 1.4 million new jobs, and generate at least $10.2 billion in revenue for the federal government.”
- Generation X Cool on Climate. According to a recent study, Generation Xers are generally uninformed and indifferent to climate change causes and risks. The report, conducted by the University of Michigan, showed a decrease in recent years of concern for climate change’s potential dangers among Generation Xers, a correlation between concern and education, and that Gen Xers with children expressed less concern than ones without children.
- Emission Trends in US: A recent blog post in The New York Times, discusses a report addressing the US emissions rate. The Climate Central report, according to the post, claims that recent declines in emissions rates due to the recession, use of wind power, natural gas, and energy efficiency measures, will not be sustained.
- Energy Poll. USA Today reports that polling results indicate that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe the US should use and develop solar power. Further, most undecided voters in major swing states favor candidates that support policies for clean air and energy.
- Romney and Immigration. In a possible change of position, Republican Presidential Candidate Romney says that he will allow President Obama’s recent executive order allowing certain young immigrants to remain in the US until there is permanent immigration reform, according to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
- Public Institutions and Graduation Rates. Public universities will work to raise the number of graduates from their institutions, as reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education. By agreeing to participate in “Project Degree Completion” they will aid efforts to reach a goal of 60% of adults with a college degree by 2025. The institutions also noted the need for federal government support to make this a reality, as state funding generally continues to decline in most states.
- Wind Turbines in Oregon, Will the Chinese Prevail? In the last blog posting (“Congress Left, Sequestration Looms”), I reported that President Obama prevented a Chinese company from acquiring wind turbines in Oregon. Now, The Wall Street Journal reports that the Chinese company has filed a lawsuit challenging the President’s actions.
- Patents and the Tech Sector: The New York Times, in the latest in a series of articles on challenges faced by the high-tech industry, explores the challenges inventors face in “The Patent, Used as a Sword.” The recently passed America Invents Act that rewrote sections of the patent act does little to alleviate the problems raised in the article.
IN THE KNOW: Upcoming Events & Previous Events.
Upcoming Events (listed by date):
- The Wilson Center: Beyond Seven Billion: Reporting on Population, Environment, and Security, Tuesday, October 9, 2012
- CATO Institute. Time to End Affirmative Action? Fisher v. University of Texas, October 9, 2012
- New America Foundation, Arms Relay Race China Innovation, October 9, 2012
- New America Foundation. It’s Science and Tech Policy, Stupid. A Future Tense and Delve Into ’12 Event, October 9, 2012
- American Enterprise Institute (AEI): Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of Anti-Scientific Left, Wednesday, October 10, 2012
- AEI: Education Reform in the Next White House: A Conversation with the Obama and Romney Campaigns, Tuesday, October 16, 2012
- Koshland Science Museum: Science Café: The Science of Biodiversity, Wednesday, October 17, 2012
- The Wilson Center. Book Discussion–Rising to the Challenge: U.S. Innovation Policy for the Global Economy, October 17, 2012
- CATO Institute. The Real Effects of Sequestration, October 18, 2012
- ITIF. Is the American Economy in Decline? October 18, 2012
- Bipartisan Policy Institute. Campaign 2012 Coverage: Breaking New Ground, Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Events Last Week:
- The Wilson Center: Cyber Gridlock: Why the Public Should Care Monday, October 1, 2012
- CSIS: The FDA as a Global Actor, Monday, October 1, 2012
- Brookings: Children’s Literacy: Raising the Bar, Tuesday, October 2, 2012
- CSIS: National Petroleum Council: Advancing Technology for America’s Transportation Future, Wednesday, October 3, 2012
- Brookings: What the Presidential Campaigns Reveal About Obama and Romney’s Leadership Styles, Wednesday, October 3, 2012
- ITIF: Innovation Consensus: “Innovation Economics” Presentation at New America Foundation Friday, October 5, 2012