DC Digest - September 27, 2012
In Today's Issue:
- Congress Approves FY13 Continuing Resolution, Adjourns
- ITIF Report Shows Devastating Impact of Sequester on Innovation
- National Science Board Expresses Concern Over Declines in Public Research University Funding
- Poll Shows Americans Support Research
- House Fails to Pass High-Skill Immigration Bill
CONGRESS APPROVES FY13 CONTINUING RESOLUTION, ADJOURNS
Early Saturday morning, the Senate gave final congressional approval to the FY13 continuing resolution (CR), which funds government programs at largely their current levels for the first six months of FY13, October 1 – March 31. Congress is now in recess and will return following the November elections for the lame-duck session.
The CR is based on the $1.047 billion FY13 spending level agreed to in last year’s Budget Control Act (BCA), but reflects an extra $8 billion from higher-than-expected federal revenues. Because of the extra funding, most appropriations accounts are 0.6 percent over what they would have been otherwise.
ITIF REPORT SHOWS DEVASTATING IMPACT OF R&D SEQUESTER CUTS ON INNOVATION
At a Capitol Hill event on September 20, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released a report showing the devastating impact that the budget sequester scheduled for early January would have on federal research programs and the innovations that flow from them.
The report, “Eroding Our Foundation: Sequestration, R&D, Innovation and U.S. Economic Growth,” estimates that because R&D plays a key role in driving U.S. innovation, productivity, and economic growth, a cut of $12.5 billion in federal R&D spending in FY13 would reduce the nation’s gross domestic product by between $203 billion and $860 billion through FY21, depending on what baseline is used. The R&D cuts would also cause job losses of about 200,000 in FY13.
The ITIF study was funded by AAU, APLU, United for Medical Research, The Science Coalition, and the Task Force on American Innovation.
Eroding our Foundation: Sequestration, R&D, Innovation and U.S. Economic Growth (ITIF.org)
NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT DECLINES IN PUBLIC RESEARCH UNIVERSITY FUNDING
The National Science Board (NSB) issued a report yesterday that expresses concern that declines in state funding “threaten the ability of major public research universities to educate new scientists and engineers, recruit and retain the best faculty and students, and continue performing top-quality research.”
The report, “Diminishing Funding and Rising Expectations: Trends and Challenges for Public Research Universities,” states that state per-student funding for the nation’s 101 public research universities declined by an average of 20 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars between 2002 and 2010, even as enrollment grew by nearly 13 percent. Ten states reduced their funding of major public research universities between 30 percent and 48 percent over the period, while six states increased their funding. The report notes, “The deep state cuts contributed to increases in tuition and fees that have outpaced both inflation and the comparable increases at private universities.”
Diminishing Funding and Rising Expectations (NSF.gov)
POLL SHOWS AMERICANS SUPPORT RESEARCH
United for Medical Research (UMR) and Research!America released polling data last week showing that the majority (51 percent) of voters oppose the across-the-board cuts that would take place if the budget sequester were implemented.
The poll was released at the National Press Club, and included remarks by National Institutes of Health (NIH) champions, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Brian Bilbray (R-CA), as well as BD CEO Vincent Forlenza and American Diabetes Association advocate, Anastasia Albanese-O’Neill, whose daughter has Type 1 diabetes. Participants warned of the threat the sequester posed to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other nondefense discretionary programs, as well as the broader medical innovation ecosystem.
Among the other findings of the poll: Fifty-four percent of respondents felt it was important for the U.S. to maintain world leadership in research, but the majority (59 percent) expressed doubt that the U.S. would be a leader in science and technology in 2020. A plurality (49 percent felt that our nation should not reduce its commitment to medical research, although less than half (44 percent) were aware that medical research took place at universities in all 50 states.
New Poll: Majority of Likely Voters Oppose Across-the-Board Cuts in 2013 (unitedformedicalresearch.com)
HOUSE FAILS TO PASS HIGH-SKILL IMMIGRATION BILL
The House last week rejected a bill that would create a new visa category for international students with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields from U.S. universities who wish to remain and work in the United States. The “STEM Jobs Act” (H.R. 6429) failed to receive the two-thirds majority vote (290 votes) needed for its approval under the expedited procedure of suspension of the rules. The vote was 254 to 158.
Although many policymakers agree on the need for the STEM visas, reports CQ.com, bipartisan talks have broken down after becoming embroiled in the broader immigration debate. As a result, three different STEM degree visa bills have been introduced over the past few weeks (see September 20 DC Digest for more information on these bills).
House Bill to Increase Visas for Science and Tech Students Defeated (Washington Post)