DC Digest - October 14, 2011
In Today's Issue:
- Janet Napolitano to Speak at Duke
- Coalition for National Security Research Letter Urges Supercommittee to Recognize Value of Defense Research
- OSTP Solicits Ideas for Development of a National "Bioeconomy" Blueprint
- Rep. David Price to Receive Humanities Award at Duke
- Senate to Take Up Three FY12 Funding Bills as a Package
- House Subcommittee Chairman Asks IRS for Information on Tax-Exempt Organizations
- President's Jobs Council Includes Technology Transfer Provision in Recommendations
- Federal Agencies Issue Proposed Rule on Select Agents
JANET NAPOLITANO TO SPEAK AT DUKE
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will speak at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy on Thursday, Oct. 20
The 5:30 p.m. event in Sanford's Fleishman Commons is free and open to the public, and is part of the school's Terry Sanford Distinguished Lecture series, which brings notable leaders to speak on Duke's campus.
The event will also be streamed live on Duke's Ustream channel, http://www.ustream.tv/dukeuniversity.
Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Chief, to Speak at Duke (duke.edu)
CNSR URGES SUPERCOMMITTEE TO RECOGNIZE VALUE OF DEFENSE RESEARCH
The Coalition for National Security Research (CNSR), of which Duke is a member, sent a letter to members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction urging them to develop a " balanced bipartisan agreement that avoids the sequestration process as outlined in the Budget Control Act."
"As the Congress makes the difficult decisions in light of the tough fiscal climate, the coalition strongly urges that critical investments in defense research be designated a priority, not only because of their importance to our national security but also because of the long-term benefit they provide our national economy."
CNSR Urges Supercommittee to Recognize Value of Defense Research (pdf)
OSTP SOLICITS IDEAS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF A NATIONAL "BIOECONOMY" BLUEPRINT
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a Request for Information (RFI) on October 11 soliciting recommendations for “Building a 21st Century Bioeconomy,” an initiative aimed at “harnessing biological research innovations to meet national challenges in health, food, energy, and the environment while creating high-wage, high-skill jobs.” Responses to the RFI, which are due on Tuesday, December 6, will be used to build a National Bioscience Blueprint.
As described in the Federal Register notice, the Blueprint “will identify strategies to meet grand challenges, promote commercialization and entrepreneurship, focus research and development investments in areas that will provide the foundation for the bioeconomy, expand workforce training to prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers for the bioeconomy jobs of the future, identify regulatory reforms that will reduce unnecessary burdens on innovators while protecting health and safety, and describe appropriate public-private partnerships to accelerate innovation in key areas.” All of these topics are reflected in the questions in the RFI.
OSTP Request for Information (gpo.gov)
REP. DAVID PRICE TO RECEIVE HUMANITIES AWARD AT DUKE
U.S. Rep. David Price, the former Duke professor of political science and public policy who has represented the university's district in Congress for all but two of the past 25 years, will be honored Friday, Oct. 21, for his long-time support of the humanities.
Thomas Ross, president of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system, will present Price with the 2010 John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities on behalf of the North Carolina Humanities Council. Duke President Richard H. Brodhead also will deliver the annual Caldwell Lecture in the Humanities at the event, which is free and open to the public. The event begins at 7 p.m. at Duke's Nasher Museum of Art.
Rep. David Price to Receive Humanities Award at Duke (duke.edu)
SENATE TO TAKE UP THREE FY12 FUNDING BILLS AS A PACKAGE
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) last Wednesday announced his intention to take three FY12 appropriations bills to the Senate floor the next day as a single legislative package, but consideration has been postponed to Monday, October 17. Senator Reid still holds the goal of completing action on the package, dubbed a “minibus,” by the end of next week, in advance of the scheduled Senate recess the week of October 24. This effort is supported by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
CQ Today reports that House Republican leaders are “somewhat reluctantly signing on to the bipartisan Senate strategy” of trying to move several minibus appropriations packages over the next few months rather than trying to negotiate one omnibus bill that incorporates all or most of the FY12 funding bills. Like their Senate counterparts, they have concluded that “assembling three or four packages combining contentious bills with politically popular ones” will be a smoother process than spending weeks in behind-the-scenes negotiations on a single omnibus package, writes the publication.
The three bills in the Senate package are Agriculture (H.R. 2112), Transportation-Housing (S. 1596), and Commerce-Justice-Science (H.R. 2596), the last of which includes funding for the National Science Foundation and NASA.
HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRMAN ASKS IRS FOR INFORMATION ON TAX-EXEMPT ORGANIZATIONS
The chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman on October 6 asking a series of questions about tax-exempt organizations. He also issued a press release describing the request.
In the letter, subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany (R-LA) requested answers by October 20 in five areas: 1) overview of the tax-exempt sector; 2) compliance; 3) unrelated business income (UBIT); 4) audits; and 5) current tax-exempt enforcement initiatives.
Under the section on current tax-exempt enforcement initiatives, the letter includes questions about the ongoing IRS college and universities compliance project and the timing of the final report. The section also includes questions related to the community benefit requirement affecting nonprofit hospitals.
Information on Tax-Exempt Sector Compliance Requested (waysandmeans.house.gov)
PRESIDENT'S JOBS COUNCIL INCLUDES TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER PROVISION IN RECOMMENDATIONS
The President’s Council on Jobs and Competition has released an interim report that includes a technology transfer provision championed by the Kauffman Foundation that would allow university faculty to use technology transfer offices outside of their home institutions to commercialize their discoveries. Higher education groups oppose such a provision because they believe it is unworkable and would undermine, not improve, the effectiveness of university technology transfer offices.
The language on page 22 of the interim report says:
“Commercialization: Allow university faculty to shop discoveries to any technology transfer office. America’s colleges and universities, funded with federal dollars, have produced many of the great breakthroughs in clean energy, information technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology that have led to new industries and jobs across the country. However, all too often potentially groundbreaking research that could find market success lingers in university labs. The Council recommends allowing research that is funded with federal dollars to be presented to any university technology transfer office (not just the ones in which the research has taken place)…”
The Council is a group of corporate CEOs and others that was created by the White House to provide nonpartisan advice to the President on ways to strengthen the economy and ensure national competitiveness.
Jobs Council Interim Report (jobs-council.com)
The Jobs Council (jobs-council.com)
FEDERAL AGENCIES ISSUE PROPOSED RULE ON SELECT AGENTS
The Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) released a proposed rule for comment on October 3 that would revise the regulations governing possession and use of biological select agents and toxins. Comments are due on December 2.
The proposed changes largely mirror the recommendations made earlier this year by the Federal Experts Security Advisory Panel, an interagency group assembled under an Executive Order of the President to re-examine the U.S. select agent program.
Among other changes, the proposed rule would create tiers in the select agent list of pathogens and toxins to differentiate the most dangerous agents; establish new minimum personnel and physical security requirements for Tier 1 agents; move agents to and from the list; change definitions related to screening of individuals working with select agents; and create additional training requirements. The proposed rule also suggests reducing from five years to three years the time that a security risk assessment for working with select agents is valid.
Possession, Use, and Transfer of Select Agents and Toxins (federalregister.gov)