Budget and Science Policy News
1 August 2011
AGU Science Policy Alert 11–20
Budget Negotiations Update
A compromise seems to have been reached in the final days before the 2 August deadline in which the U.S. would default on its loans. The current plan worked out by President Obama and congressional leadership from both parties will raise the debt ceiling to a level where it should not need to be raised again until 2013, and will immediately cut nearly $1 trillion in discretionary spending over ten years. The bill will also require a bipartisan congressional panel to recommend another $1.8 trillion in cuts. The plan will not be final until passed by the House and Senate and signed by the President.
Proposed GOP Bill Bars Funding for the IPCC
On Wednesday, 27 July 2011, the House State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee unanimously approved markups to the FY12 appropriations bill including dramatic cuts (18% below FY11 levels) in funding for bilateral and multilateral assistance, international security, and operating expenses for both the State Department and USAID. The bill would defund U.S. contributions to the U.N. and other international financial institutions, including the the U.N. Framework on Climate Change. The bill will also cut funding for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which provides scientific assessment on the state of climate change. As this bill moves forward, please contact your Representatives and Senators urging them to support funding for international collaborative climate science. For more information and to follow the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill, please visit the committee website.
Your Opportunity to Visit Your Legislators: August Recess
Many of the July House and Senate district work periods were cancelled due to debt negotiations. With what looks like a compromise in place, Members will likely be taking their district recess 8 August – 5 September as planned. Please contact your Representative and Senators, and urge them to support science funding in the FY12 appropriations bills to help protect national security and support global competitiveness.For more information on how to contact your Representatives, visit the AGU website.
NOAA Science Integrity Policy – Open for Public Comment until August 20th
NOAA recently released their draft policy on scientific integrity following the President’s 2009 memorandum and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy guidance issued in late 2010. NOAA’s policy establishes principles for scientific integrity, a scientific Code of Conduct, and Code of Ethics for Science Supervision and Management. Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator, articulates that, "Scientific integrity is at the core of producing and using good science. By being open and honest about our science, we build understanding and trust." NOAA’s scientific integrity policy will affect all employees and contractors who conduct, supervise, assess, and/or interpret scientific information. Those who receive grants from NOAA will be accountable to their home institutions. Please visit NOAA’s website to review the draft scientific integrity policy and provide comments before August 20th.
Science Policy Hearing Highlights
US Strategy in the Arctic: The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing this week assessing US preparedness in the Arctic. The hearing focused on economic and infrastructure strategies in the undeveloped Arctic environment. Witnesses from government, industry, and academia testified regarding the lack of infrastructure that currently exists, and emphasizing the importance of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea for robust economic development. For more information regarding the hearing and to watch the archived webcast, please visit the committee website.
NSF Merit Review Process: The House Subcommittee on Research and Science Education met this week to review the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) merit review process. The hearing aimed to ensure that federal resources were being properly allotted to projects that represented the “best science.” Despite reassurance from panelists that the process was essential, Congressional members remained unsure about its overall efficiency. For more information regarding the hearing and to watch the archived webcast please visit the committee website.
Are We Weather Ready: The Senate Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government held a hearing regarding Federal Disaster Assistance Budgeting. Chairman Durbin (D-IL) and Ranking Member Moran (R-KS) questioned witnesses as to whether or not the federal government is ready to address the increasing number of extreme weather events due to climate change. Testimony revealed that insurance companies should serve as a model for long-term federal budgeting concerning extreme weather events. Furthermore, scientists on the panel asserted that weather “outliers” have now become the norm, and that Americans should expect increasingly more extreme weather events in the years to come. For more information, and to watch the archived webcast, please visit the committee website.