from the archives

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Things Have Changed (September 24, 2001)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. It is the morning after President Bush’s speech to the joint session of Congress, ten days after the terrorist attacks. Once again Washington, and indeed the world, is a changed place. The disputed presidential election and lingering doubts about the legitimacy of this presidency—gone. The switch of Jim Jeffords to give Democrats control of the U.S. Senate—ancient history. Concern about using the social security surplus to pay for government spending—evaporated. Partisan bickering over…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: House, Senate Agree to Kill Technology Office (July 31, 1995)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. A House-Senate conference committee on the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill has agreed to kill the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). The House had voted to move OT A’s functions to the Congressional Research Service and provided $15 million of Library of Congress appropriations for that purpose. OT A’s budget in FY 1995 was $22 million. An attempt by Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC) to save the Office during Senate consideration of the appropriations bill…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: NSF Creates New Education and Human Resources Directorate (June 1, 1990)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. Throughout his tenure as director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Erich Bloch has touted “education and human resources” as a major justification for increasing NSF funding. Now, with two months to go in office, Bloch has decided to reorganize the foundation’s science and engineering education efforts by creating a new Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR). The new directorate will be headed by current NSF Senior Science Advisor Luther Williams. The old…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: PCAST Issues STEM Education Report: Social Sciences Not Part of K-12 STEM (September 27, 2010)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. On September 15, the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its long-awaited report on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education. Entitled Prepare and Inspire: K‐12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) For America’s Future, the report was shepherded through PCAST by co‐chair Eric Lander, head of the Broad Institute and a major geneticist, and S. James Gates, Jr., John S. Toll Professor of Physics at the…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Innovation Legislation Signed into Law (January 10, 2017)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. As previously reported, lawmakers worked in the final weeks of 2016 to find common ground on research innovation legislation, known as the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S. 3084), before adjourning for the year. The bill passed the Senate in early December, but did not get a House vote before lawmakers headed home for the holidays. However, given that the House had not yet officially adjourned for the year, the bill was quietly passed on December…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Defense Secretary Proposes Closer DOD/University Connections Including More Social Science Research (April 21, 2008)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. “Too many mistakes have been made over the years because our government and military did not understand – or even seek to understand – the countries or cultures we were dealing with.” With those words in a speech to the Association of American Universities (AAU), Robert Gates, Secretary of the Department of Defense (DOD), issued a call to academia to help the U.S. return, in Arthur Schlesinger’s words, “to the acceptance of eggheads…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: On the Fast Track: NCRR Dissolved / NCATS Created by October 2011 (February 7, 2011)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. On January 14, Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent letters to [Congressional leaders] apprising them of her intent to establish the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) per the recommendation of NIH director Francis Collins and based on the recommendations from the Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB). Sebelius also indicated that the “relevant NCRR functions and programs,” as appropriate, would be…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Waterman Award to Lawrence H. Summers (April 10, 1987)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. A young Harvard economist is the first social or behavioral scientist to win the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Alan T. Waterman Award. That award, established in 1975 to honor the first director of the Foundation, is given annually to an American citizen or permanent resident who is 35 years of age or younger or has received the Ph.D. degree within the past five years. The recipient receives a medal and up to $500,000…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Doubling NSF Budget Gains Support of House Science Panel (May 13, 2002)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. With the five year doubling of the National Institutes of Health’s budget about to come to a successful end, the focus has shifted to the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its budget needs. For the past two years, Senators Christopher Bond (R-MO) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) have enunciated their support for doubling NSF’s budget over five years. Unfortunately, financial constraints and competing spending priorities have kept them from delivering on this promise from…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: NIH Launches ECHO Program (October 4, 2016)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. On September 21, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the launch of the seven-year Environmental Influences on Children Health Outcomes (ECHO) program designed to “investigate how exposure to a range of environmental factors in early development–from conception through early childhood–influences the health of children and adolescents.” The agency planned to allocate $157 million in funding in fiscal year (FY) 2016 for ECHO. Presenting at the September 21 National Advisory Child Health and Human Development (NACHHD)…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Innovation and Competitiveness (January 30, 2006)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. In a recent New York Times column Nicholas Kristoff asked whether China or India would be the world’s dominant economic power in the year 2100. In order to stave off this unpalatable future, the U.S. science and engineering community in concert with key policymakers on Capitol Hill have put forth a new innovation and competitiveness agenda. For some long-time policy observers it is “déjà vu all over again.” In the 1980s this same…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Science Board Approves New NSF Merit Review Process (April 7, 1997)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. On March 28 the National Science Board approved a new merit review process for proposed grants submitted for National Science Foundation (NSF) funding. Proposed by a Task Force of the Board in November (see Update, December 16, 1996), NSF took comments from the community for three months and made some changes for their final recommendations. The new process tries to simplify and clarify rules for those who evaluate proposals. Under the old system…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Congress Passes Competitiveness Legislation (August 6, 2007)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. Culminating a two-year effort, on August 2 Congress cleared the America COMPETES Act. Combining many aspects of House and Senate legislation that traveled through both bodies in 2006 and 2007, the over 450 page bill includes provisions affecting the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Department of Energy, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Education (DOE), and the White House Office…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Economic Recovery Legislation Enacted; Science Fares Very Well (February 23, 2009)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. On February 17, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka the Stimulus Package). After weeks of negotiations among the White House, the Congress, and three key Republican Senators, the legislation emerged with the hope that it will help the American economy recuperate from its current illness. Within its many provisions are significant amounts of funding for science activities. The National Science Foundation (NSF) will receive $3 billion. This is the…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: 106th Congress Opens for Business: Impeachment Dominates Early Agenda (January 11, 1999)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. On January 6th, the 106th Congress commenced. The following day the Senate opened the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. The House, which ended the 105th Congress by impeaching the President in a bitter partisan debate and votes, chose a new Speaker who promised cooperation and a Democratic leader who talked of “burying the hatchet.” Bill Clinton is the first United States President impeached since Andrew Johnson in 1868. Yet, he retains the…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: 100th Congress Convenes: Democrats Take Charge; Deficit Still Looms (January 23, 1987)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. The 100th Congress was sworn in January 6, 1987. Since then the Senate has organized and begun a series of hearings that make clear the impact of the switch to Democratic control. The House has moved much more slowly to organize and to resume its work. Details of the FY 1988 budget not included in the brief version released on January 5 will be unveiled the week of January 26. The President, burdened…

FROM THE ARCHIVES Decision on Census Adjustment Looms (January 29, 2001)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. The attention to the choice of the new Census Director concerns the decision of which numbers the Bureau will release. The national-level data, which determines each state’s representation in Congress (apportionment), were made public at the end of December. However, the block-level data are scheduled to be available in March; these will include the raw “head count” figures. The controversy surrounds whether the Bureau will also release statistically-adjusted figures; this is currently unclear….

FROM THE ARCHIVES: 107th Congress Opens, Awaits New Administration (January 15, 2001)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news. When we last left you, the country was waiting for the Supreme Court to decide the presidential election and the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2001 remained incomplete. In the intervening month, George W. Bush began putting his administration together, and all 13 FY 2001 spending bills finally became law, 21 Continuing Resolutions later and nearly three months into the fiscal year[…] The 107th Congress opened for business on January 3. Two major…

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