FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

FYI This Month: December 2012

Richard M. Jones
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STEM Visa Bill Passes House; Stopped in Senate

The House of Representatives passed HR 6429, the STEM Jobs Act by a vote of 245-139.  HR 6429 would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to make up to 55,000 visas available to immigrants who have a doctorate degree in a field of “computer and information sciences and support services, engineering, mathematics and statistics, and physical sciences” from a US university, agree to work five years for a US employer, and who have taken all their doctoral coursework while physically present in the US. 

Cautious Optimism for Passage of Medical Isotope Legislation

Legislation first introduced in 2009 to provide federal assistance for the domestic production of the medical isotope molybdenum-99 could be enacted as part of the much larger National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013. 

FY 2013 Defense Authorization Bill: Critical Materials

House and Senate conferees will consider a provision in the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act pertaining to critical materials.

FY 2013 Defense Authorization Bill: Mission and Oversight of the National Nuclear Security Administration

The FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act authorizes the atomic energy defense activities of the Department of Energy (DOE).  House and Senate conferees will consider language regarding specific programs of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and future changes in DOE’s relationship to NNSA.

Congressional Critic of Administration’s Mars Exploration Program Applauds Mission Announcement

A prominent critic of the Obama Administration’s Mars exploration program offered praise following NASA’s announcement that it will send a new robotic rover to the planet in 2020.  Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who had denounced this year’s decision not to participate in the 2018-2020 European Space Agency’s (ESA) ExoMars missions, issued a statement applauding the new mission.

Science Committee Examines US Antarctic Program

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee held a hearing to examine the work and goals of the US Antarctic program and to review recommendations from the US Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel report “More and Better Science in Antarctica Through Increased Logistical Effectiveness.”  This report highlights the US Antarctic activities which are affected by an aging infrastructure, lack of capital budget and extreme environmental conditions. 

PCAST Issues Important Report on U.S. Research Enterprise

“The United States is in the midst of a profound reorganization of how research is done, where it is done, who does it, and how its results find their way to the marketplace. This confluence of circumstances threatens the Nation’s world-leading position in innovation and technology and the benefits it brings.”  So warns an important new report entitled “Transformation and Opportunity: The Future of the U.S. Research Enterprise” by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Richard M. Jones
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics