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

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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