News from The Hill


Events & Briefings

Hazards Caucus Alliance Presents "Lahars: Preparing for Volcanic Landslides"
Join us for a 12 July congressional briefing, co-sponsored by GSA, that will highlight potential threats posed by lahars and ongoing research to better understand how and when the volcanic landslides occur.

Advances in Earth Science: Data as a National Asset for Decision-Making
Join us for a 22 June congressional briefing, co-sponsored by GSA, that will highlight how earthquake, air quality, and water quality data can inform important policy decisions to effectively prepare for natural disasters and manage natural resources. A companion webinar will be held Monday, 25 July.

Advances in Earth Science: Offshore Energy
Join us for a 14 June webinar, which is co-sponsored by GSA, that will bring together experts from academia, industry, and government to explain the scientific and engineering tools that enable production in challenging offshore environments. Based on a 16 May congressional briefing, speakers will also address the environmental challenges of offshore energy production.

Underpinning Innovation: The Science and Supply of America’s Critical Minerals and Materials
This 3 March congressional briefing, which is open to the public, will address the efforts being taken at the federal level to ensure a steady supply of critical minerals and materials. [ download flyer ]


Congress Punts FY 2017 Funding but Passes America COMPETES Successor
Although the 114th Congress did not finalize spending bills for FY 2017, which began 1 October 2016, it did pass a successor bill to the America COMPETES Act in the waning days of the session. President Obama signed the bill into law on 6 January 2017. [more]

Updated Guidance for Federal Travel Issued
Noting the important role conferences play for federal scientists "to deliver upon their missions and breakthrough advancements in medicine and science," the White House issued new guidance to ease some of the travel approval requirements that began in 2012. The updated memo aims to streamline processes, including a new mechanism to pre-approve attendance at known recurring conferences, such as GSA's Annual Meeting. [learn more]

Science and the Election
GSA, Science Debate, and 54 other organizations asked the presidential candidates 20 questions on science, engineering, health, tech and environmental issues facing voters. [ website | pdf ]

Current Congressional Appropriations for FY2017 Keep Geoscience Funding Relatively Flat
With limited days in session before the election, the House and Senate are moving quickly on appropriations bills. In good news, the House and Senate appropriations bills and the bills’ associated reports do not limit geoscience (or social, behavioral and economic science) funding. GSA joined other geoscience organizations to thank committee leaders for their support. For more information on R&D funding decisions in the current appropriations cycle, please visit the Science & Technology in Congress FY 2017 report

Science in the President’s New Budget Request
President Barack Obama's final budget request calls for $152.3 billion for research and development, a $6.2 billion or 4.2 percent increase over fiscal year 2016. Although the request sets high goals for science funding, the way in which it seeks the funding could be problematic – much of the funding increases are under mandatory spending rather than discretionary spending. [ read blog post ]

Letters & Testimony

Support for FY17 Science Funding
The Task Force on American Innovation – a coalition that includes GSA – sent a letter to congressional leaders that "strongly urges Congress to complete the FY17 appropriations process this year, and to ensure that key agencies supporting scientific research receive robust funding."

The USGS Coalition sent a letter warning that a year-long continuing resolution would "negatively impact the ability of the USGS to engage in long-term monitoring related to natural hazards, water, and environmental health." In addition, a coalition of geoscience organizations letter urged Members "to support strong investments in ... key Earth and space science agencies and avoid policy riders that deprioritize the geosciences."

Thirty-One Top Scientific Societies Speak with One Voice on Global Climate Change
In a consensus letter to U.S. policymakers, a partnership of 31 leading nonpartisan scientific societies, including GSA, reaffirmed the reality of human-caused climate change, noting that the "severity of climate change impacts is increasing and is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades.”

Support for Research Funding
GSA signed letters to congressional leaders by the Energy Sciences Coalition, Coalition for National Science Funding, and Task Force on American Innovation that support science research funding.

GSA Testifies in Support of Geoscience Research
GSA submitted testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science in support of NSF and NASA and to the House and Senate Subcommittee on Interior in support of the U.S. Geological Survey.

GSA Supports Minerals Research
GSA signed a letter from the Minerals Science and Information Coalition in support of Subtitle D--Critical Minerals in S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015.

Science Organizations Thank Appropriators
GSA joined members of the Coalition for Aerospace and Science to thank appropriators for increasing NASA funding for FY2016.

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