Washington Updates



The OSA Public Policy staff is pleased to provide you with Washington Updates, where you will find up-to-date information on legislation, events, and other activities happening in Washington, D.C. that affect the optics and photonics community. We welcome your feedback on any of these issues. You can contact the OSA government relations team directly if you would like more information on a particular article.

Washington Updates - 2018

House Introduces FY19 Science Funding Legislation

On 9 May, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations introduced its version of the FY19 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Act.  This legislation contains funding for programs such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA).  Below are the proposed funding levels in the bill.

  • NSF would be funded at $8.2 billion, which is $400 million above FY18 Omnibus bill and $728 million above the President’s FY19 budget request.
  • NIST would be funded at $985 million, which is $215 million below the FY18 Omnibus bill and $356 million above the President’s FY19 budget request.Under NIST, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) would be funded in the bill at $140 million.The President’s FY19 budget request would eliminate the MEP program.
  • NASA would be funded at $21.5 billion, $800 million above the FY18 Omnibus bill and $1.9 billion above the President’s FY19 budget request.

OSA has signed onto multiple letters supporting science funding for FY19.  View the coalition letter OSA signed onto regarding NSF funding.

Posted: 14 May 2018

House Introduces FY19 Energy Funding Legislation

On 7 May, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations introduced its version of the FY19 Energy and Water Appropriations Act.  This legislation contains funding for programs such as Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science. Below are the proposed funding levels in the bill.

  • DOE Office of Science would be funded at $6.6 billion, which is $340 million above FY18 Omnibus bill and $1.209 billion above the President’s FY19 budget request.
  • Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) would be funded at $325 million, which is $28 million below the FY18 Omnibus bill.The President’s FY19 budget request would eliminate ARPA-E.
  • Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) would be funded at $2.079 billion, which is $243 million below the FY18 Omnibus bill and $1.383 billion above the President’s FY19 budget request.

OSA has signed onto multiple letters supporting science funding for FY19.  View the coalition letters OSA signed onto on ARPA-E on 10 April and 16 April and the letter supporting funding for DOE Office of Science.

Posted: 14 May 2018

Congress Introduces the FY18 Omnibus Funding Bill

On 21 March, Congress introduced the FY18 Omnibus funding bill.  The bill provides increases to many of the science agencies and programs.  Below are some of the proposed funding levels.  Congress is expected to vote on the bill this week.
 

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) – The bill proposes funding NSF at $7.8 billion, which is a $300 million increase over FY17 and $1.147 billion more than the President’s FY18 budget request.
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – The bill proposes funding NIST at $1.2 billion, which is $248 million increase over FY17 and $475 million more than the President’s FY18 budget request.
  • Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science – The bill proposes funding DOE Office of Science at $6.260 billion, which is $868 million increase over FY17 and $1.787 billion more than the President’s FY18 budget request.
  • Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) – The bill proposes funding ARPA-E at $353 million, which is $47 million increase over FY17 and the President’s FY18 budget request proposed eliminating the program.
  • Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) – The bill proposes funding EERE at $2.322 billion, which is $232 million increase over FY17 and $1.686 billion more than the President’s FY18 budget request.
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) – The bill proposes funding NIH at $37 billion, which is $2.9 billion increase over FY17 and $10.08 billion more than the President’s FY18 budget request.

Posted: March 22, 2018

President’s Budget Cuts Funding for LLE


The President’s Budget for FY19 proposes a 20 percent funding cut to the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) Program that will lead to major reductions in experiments at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a 50 percent cut to the OMEGA Laser Facility at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) in FY19 and “a three-year ramp-down” in federal support that would ultimately shutter the facility in FY21.

OSA CEO Elizabeth Rogan sent a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees supporting funding for the LLE in FY19.

Posted: March 20, 2018

U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter Passes Away at 88

U.S. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), who represents Rochester, NY, passed away.  Rep. Slaughter has been a strong advocate for optics and science. 
 
Read news the 16 March 2018, Democrat and Chronicle article, “Rep. Louise Slaughter dies at 88: A ‘giant’ and trailblazer for women
 
Statement from Rep. Slaughter’s Rules Committee colleague Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
 
Rep. Slaughter’s interaction with OSA:

  • Watch Rep. Slaughter’s speech (Rep. Slaughter starts around 28:00) from the Light the Future event at OSA’s centennial celebration at the 2016 Frontiers in Optics conference.   
  • In 2016, Rep. Slaughter also introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives honoring the OSA centennial.

 Read the NPI news release

Posted: March 16, 2018

President's FY19 Budget Released

The President's Budget for FY19 was released in February.  View the proposed budget numbers for some of the science agencies.  View OSA news release.

OSA Signs Letter Encouraging a Budget Deal

OSA signed onto a letter encouraging Congress to reach a bipartisan budget deal to raise the budget caps for both defense and non-defense programs.  Additionally, the letter encourages Congress to make science research a top priority when distributing the additional funding from the budget cap increase.
 
Read the letter.

Posted: February 7, 2018

OSA signs onto multi-society letter to OMB

OSA signed onto a letter led by AAAS and signed by more than 40 organizations to Mick Mulvaney, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to request a “commitment in ensuring that the federal government utilizes science-based decision making in its policy formulations, that scientific information is communicated in an accurate manner and reflected as such in government documents, reports and web-sites.”

Read the full letter.

Posted: January 2, 2018

OSA Joins Science Societies on Letter Expressing Concerns with Tax Provisions Impacting Graduate Students

OSA signed onto a letter signed by 44 scientific societies, led by AAAS, to express concerns over the proposed repeal of tax benefits that are designed to help graduate students reduce the burden of paying for pursuing advanced degrees.
 
Language from the letter:
“By making advanced education less affordable, it is likely to drive some students away from seeking higher education.  Because a majority of graduate students are in the key areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), these provisions will have an outsized impact in the sciences.”  Read the letter


Update December 22, 2017: The final version of the tax bill does not repeal the graduate student tax benefits.  The tax bill was signed into law on December 22, 2017.


House Science Committee Hearing on Quantum Technology

On 24 October, the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology and Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing titled American Leadership in Quantum Technology.  The hearing's purpose was to “identify where the U.S. currently stands in the international race to the development of commercially available quantum-based technologies, particularly quantum computing.”
 
The hearing contained two panels.  The first panel was made of representatives from federal agencies: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Energy (DOE).  Dr. Carl Williams, an OSA member, testified at the hearing on behalf of NIST.  The second panel was made of representatives mostly from non-governmental entities.
 
The second panel contained Dr. Chris Monroe, who testified on behalf of the National Photonics Initiative (NPI), of which OSA is cofounder.  The NPI released a white paper in June of this year titled “Call for a National Quantum Initiative: Proposal to address the urgent need to develop the information infrastructure of tomorrow.”
 
Before the hearing, Professor Michael Raymer, an OSA member who works at the Center for Optical Molecular & Quantum Science at the University of Oregon, met with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, prior to the start of the hearing.  During the hearing, Congresswoman Bonamici took time to recognize him as a special guest.
 
During the hearing, members of Congress expressed great interest in the topic of quantum technologies.
 
Watch the hearing
Read the written testimony
View the NPI National Quantum Initiative white paper
NPI News Release

Posted: October 24, 2017

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