December 16, 2016
In Washington...
Happy Friday! 
Congress is adjourned but Washington is buzzing so here is a quick update. As always, questions are welcome. 
Have a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year! 
Amanda Arnold 

The President-Elect Transition Team announced six more members of the NASA "landing party" today.  They will join Chris Shank, who arrived at NASA on Monday to begin assessing the status of NASA programs and operations in order to advise the incoming President on what issues require immediate attention. Online here 

The Senate approved the reauthorization bill for NASA, but too late for the House to act. The NASA Transition Authorization Act (S. 3346) would have encouraged a continuity of vision for the space agency and provided congressional direction to the new administration on a number of issues, such as human space exploration and the operations of the International Space Station. The bill would have reaffirmed the importance of a balanced and adequately funded science portfolio, which includes funding for small, medium, and flagship missions, as well as funding for important research and analysis grants. Online here
Congress adjourned for the holiday late last week, wrapping up the FY17 continuing resolution (CR) just before midnight on Friday. The CR keeps the federal government funded, holding most discretionary spending at FY16 levels through April 28th. The measure adds funding for the National Institutes of Health to begin implementing the newly passed 21st Century Cures Act. (Source: AAU) Meanwhile, House Ways and Means Republicans and staff are dealing with concerns about market turmoil that may be caused by the planned repeal of Obamacare in January. (Source: Bloomberg Gov)
Presidential Transition
AAAS launched a new web portal this week for news on the presidential transition related to science and technology including 1) information on recent appointments, 2) relevant positions and statements from the President-elect and his transition, and 3) science community resources, statements, editorials, and public transition documents. Online here

The House Freedom Caucus sent a "wish list" to Trump's transition team including 228 federal regulations to examine or rebuke. A sample from the Department of Energy section of the document is included below. (Source: Bloomberg Gov)

Current cabinet and key executive branch nominations are moving forward with Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson nominated for Secretary of State, former Texas Governor Rick Perry nominated to head DOE, and freshman republican congressman of Montana Ryan Zinke nominated to head the Department of Interior this week. Vacancies remain at Veterans Affairs, Department of Agriculture, and NIH, among others. Online here
The Center for New American Security (CNAS) held an event this week to release the Future Foundry report, which encourages DOD to adopt new strategies and alternative pathways/processes for acquiring and adapting commercial technology for military use. A webcast of the event is online here
Energy and Environment
The National Nuclear Security Administration announced that the contract for the management and operations of the Sandia National Laboratory is awarded to National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, which is owned by Honeywell International, with support from Northrop Grumman and the Universities Research Association. Online here

Reaction continues to the controversial questionnaire sent to DOE by President-elect Trump's transition team, which focused 74 inquiries on climate change work and civil servants engaged. In a letter to Vice President-elect Pence, who is leading Trump's transition teams, Democrat ranking members on relevant House committees asked if similar questionnaires were sent to other agencies and stated, "Any effort to retaliate against, undermine, demote, or marginalize civil servants on the basis of their scientific analysis would be an abuse of authority." The letter is online here

DOE officials said they refused to provide the transition team with individual names of workers who attended any of the Conference of the Parties under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change or interagency working group meetings on the "social cost of carbon." (Source: Greenwire)

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition announced a venture-capital fund, called Breakthrough Energy Ventures, "committed to investing in new energy technologies emerging out of government research institutions to provide reliable, affordable power with zero emissions." Online here
On December 10th, the Senate passed the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA), S. 3084. The bill reaffirms the importance of NSF's merit-based review process and creates an interagency working group to reduce the administrative burden on academic researchers. The House passed the bill late this afternoon and the President is likely to sign. (Source: AAU)
Written Word
The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine released a report, Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda, aimed at understanding how contemporary issues such as climate change, stem cells, vaccines, and hydraulic fracturing are discussed in the public forum and how the science community can optimize its communications approach.  The report is online here.  The 2016 Office of Science Laboratory Performance Report Cards are now available online here.
In the News 
MIT President Rafael Reif advocates for the economic value of basic research in "The Dividends of Funding Basic Science" for the Wall Street Journal online here  
Quick Links
DOE - Office of Science 
Amanda J. Arnold
MSc  Principal

Amanda's experience includes a decade in Washington, DC policy circles. Beginning in the US Senate as legislative staff, Amanda went on to the National Institutes of Health. There, she served at the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Following her public service, Amanda went to work for the non-profit sector in higher education representing MIT and Texas A&M University. She is now associated with the research mission of Arizona State University.   

While at MIT, Amanda worked with notable science, technology, and engineering thought leaders to translate the Convergence research framework for Washington policymakers.

She completed her undergraduate work at Arizona State University and the University of Edinburgh in political science and international relations. She holds a Masters Degree in Science and Technology Policy from SPRU, the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex in the UK.
Square Set Strategies, LLC is a boutique firm focused on science and technology policy writing in Washington, DC with a specialty in support of long-tenure research initiatives.
This summary of congressional, White House, and science mission agency action is provided as a service to you from Square Set Strategies, LLC. Although many topics were addressed in Washington this week, this newsletter strives to reinforce the vital role that federally funded research and government policies play in promotion of an innovation economy. If the United States wants to maintain its leadership in science and technology - and leverage the benefits of that leadership - then Congress and
t he rest of Washington must take steps now to shore up our innovation enterprise. any thanks for your interest. 
Square Set Strategies, LLC | amanda@squaresetstrategies.com |  Washington DC