Congress and the President are entering the home stretch.  Will they reach a deal or put if off until 2013?

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Capitol News.

Congress: House Committee Leadership; Immigration; Senate Committees;

Administration & Independent Agencies: NOAA, Offshore Wind, Solar Energy

Noteworthy News: Wind Energy Tax; Defense of Non-defense Spending; FL Higher Ed Proposals; Chemistry Graduate Education; US Student Scores; Innovation Pay-off

In the Know: A Preview of Upcoming Events in DC.

CAPITOL NEWS: Congressional, Administrative, and Court Actions


  • House Leadership:  A final list House Committee Chairman and Ranking Members was published by Roll Call.  Some Committees of interest are listed below:
  1. Agriculture:    Chairman: Lucas (OK); Ranking member: Peterson (MN)
  2. Appropriations: Chairman: Rogers (KY); Ranking member: Lowey (N.Y.)
  3. Armed Services: Chairman: McKeon (CA); Ranking member: Smith, (WA)
  4. Education and the Workforce: Chairman: Kline (MN); Ranking member: Miller (CA)
  5. Energy and Commerce: Chairman: Upton (MI); Ranking member: Waxman (CA)
  6. Judiciary: Chairman: Goodlatte (VA); Ranking member: Conyers (MI)
  7. Natural Resources: Chairman: Hastings (WA); Ranking member: Markey (MA)
  8. Science, Space and Technology: Chairman: Smith (TX); Ranking member: Johnson, Texas
  9. Ways and Means: Chairman: Camp (MI); Ranking member: Levin (MI)
  • Immigration.  Congress and the White House appear ready to address immigration policy next Congress.  Politico highlights five potentially key Republicans who may play important roles in the immigration debate. Beyond the three outspoken Republicans Senators Rubio, Graham, and McCain, the article names the following: Rep. Labrador (ID); Sen. Lee (UT); Sen.-elect Flake (AZ); Rep. Diaz-Balart (FL); and, Rep. Goodlatte (VA).  At the same time, expect the White House to look to implement the key elements of its May 2011 document “Building a 21st Century Immigration System.” That document addresses border security, immigrants serving in the military, highly skilled workers, and makes the case for immigrant contributions to our economy.
  • Senate Committees – Democrats.  The Senate Democrats announced membership of Democrats on Senate Committees.  The Chairman of key Committees are listed below:
  1. Agriculture: Stabenow (MI)
  2. Appropriations: Inouye (HI)
  3. Armed Services: Levin (MI)
  4. Commerce: Rockefeller (WV)
  5. Energy & Natural Resources: Wyden (OR)
  6. Environment and Public Works: Boxer (CA)
  7. Finance: Baucus (MT)
  8. Foreign Relations: Kerry (MA)
  9. Heath, Education: Harkin (IA)
  10. Judiciary: Leahy (VT)

Administration & Independent Agencies

  • NOAA: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency Chief Lubchenco announced her intention to leave the agency in February, as reported in The Washington Post.  Despite on-going issues with management at NOAA, Lubchenco, a marine scientist, many credited her with attempting to fix problems at the agency.
  • Offshore Wind.  The Department of Energy continues its push for offshore wind development.  DOE announced financial awards for offshore development, and released a report on the potential economic benefits of wind production.
  • Solar Research – DOE announced new funding for the SunShot Initiative, which DOE announced in February 2011.  The Initiative, which is based in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at DOE, focuses on bringing down the cost of solar energy so it is cost competitive with other renewable sources by the end of the decade.


  • Wind Energy.  The battle over renewing the wind energy tax credit continues with major utilities divided on the issue.  As reported byNational Journal, the Nation’s largest nuclear operator, Exelon, is breaking with other power providers.  Exelon, unlike many others, is opposing an extension of the production tax credit.
  • Defense Worries for Non-Defense Funding.  While sequestration would negatively impact defense spending, defense companies concerns extend beyond just defense spending.  As National Journal reports, the defense industry is concerned about discretionary spending in non-defense accounts as well. Aerospace Industries Association released a report outline the potential negative impacts of sequestration.
  • Florida-Education Proposals.  The Governor of Florida, in lock step with his Republican counter-part from Texas is pushing for a $10,000 college degree program.  In addition, as reported inThe New York Times, Governor Scott is looking at a proposal to charge different tuition for different disciplines.  Specifically, the Governor’s task force on higher education is proposing that students will be charged less (freezing tuition) for those seeking a degree in “strategic areas” (i.e. the STEM fields).
  • Graduate Program Revisions.  The American Chemical Society concluded in a new report, Advancing Graduate Education in Chemical Sciences, graduate education needs changes.  The report details recommendations for improving the system to benefit both students and society. Overall, the report concludes that doctoral-level scientist education has not adequately adapted to global changes over the years.
  • US Science Scores.  US students continue to be outperformed on math and science tests by many other nations.  As reported in The New York Times, the US ranked 7th in 4th grade science, 10th in 8th grade science, 11th in fourth-grade math, 9th in eighth-grade math, but had a smaller number of high scores.
  • Publicly Funded Research.  The Center for American Progress released a report, Investing in the Future: Higher Education, Innovation, and American Competitiveness on the benefits from publicly funded research. The report states “new wealth in an innovation-driven economy requires the discovery and development of new ideas to solve old problems; the seizing of new opportunities with technology and ingenuity.”  It concludes that “government must provide three key public-good inputs that allow innovation to blossom: investments in human capital, infrastructure, and research.”


Upcoming Events (listed by date):

Events Last Week:




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