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What's New @ IEEE-USA - Eye On Washington

Vol. 2008, No. 17 ( 1 December 2008)


Congress To Work All of January to Send Obama Economic Stimulus Package

Senate Version of the Big Economic Stimulus Bill Includes New Science Funding


Obama Names Team To Create "Innovation Agenda"

Other Presidential Transition S&T Team Leaders Announced


Government Accountability Office

NRC Committee Reviews DOE Fusion Plan (ITER)

How Entrepreneurial Is Your State?

The Small Business Administration Presents More Data on Immigrant Entrepreneurs

... Indicates Challenges for Small Business Owners

... And Says Small Businesses Are the innovators of the American Economy

IBM Center Offers Resource on Presidential Transition




IEEE-USA Now Accepting 2010 Government Fellowship Applications

IEEE Now Accepting 2009 WISE Applications


Congress To Work All of January to Send Obama Economic Stimulus Package

To prepare the large economic stimulus plan President-elect Obama will request, the 111th Congress intends to officially convene on January 6th, as soon as the new Congress arrives in Washington next year. Every four years, the new Congress normally convenes in early January, then leaves town until the presidential inauguration on January 20th. In 2001, when President Bush took office, the House did not cast its first vote until January 30th.

"It is my hope that the new Congress will begin work on an aggressive economic recovery plan when they convene in early January so that our administration can hit the ground running," said Obama at a recent press conference. The 110th Congress is not through yet 'though. Leaders told members to prepare to return around December 8th to discuss aid to the Big 3 Detroit automakers in a continuation of the lame duck session.

Additionally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) "is already working to draft legislation that will help create new jobs by investing in a cleaner energy future, build a high-tech infrastructure that brings the power of renewable energy and broadband to communities across America, rebuild our bridges and modernize our schools;" and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) "is working with the new administration on a tax cut proposal that will make the tax code more fair for the middle class."

While Obama seconded the sentiments of Democratic congressional leaders on a bailout for the auto industry, saying that while "we can't allow the auto industry simply to vanish," he stressed that industry executives must present a credible plan for recovery. "[W]e can't just write a blank check to the auto industry. Taxpayers can't be expected to pony up more money for an auto industry that has been resistant to change. He added, "I was surprised that they did not have a better-thought-out proposal when they arrived" on Capitol Hill last week, begging for an emergency $25 billion loan. "I think Congress did the right thing, which is to say, 'You guys need to come up with a plan and come back before you're getting any taxpayer money.'"

Congress asked Detroit to deliver a plan for the bailout loan by December 2nd, that includes details about how the industry plans to achieve long-term viability.

Senate Version of the Big Economic Stimulus Bill Includes New Science Funding

The economic stimulus bill is likely to contain significant new dollars for several science agencies. On November
17th, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV) introduced S. 3689, a bill that creates 635,000 jobs. The $100.3 billion bill includes $1,659.0 million in new science-related spending. The following language comes from S. 3689:

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY: "For an additional amount for 'Science', $175,000,000, to remain available until expended."

NASA: "For necessary expenses, not otherwise provided for, in carrying out return to flight activities associated with the space shuttle and activities from which funds were transferred to accommodate return to flight activities, $400,000,000, with such sums as determined by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as available for transfer to 'Science', 'Aeronautics', 'Exploration', and 'Space Operations' for restoration of funds previously reallocated to meet return to flight activities."

U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY: "For an additional amount for 'Surveys, Investigations, and Research', $84,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2010, for repair and restoration of facilities and other deferred maintenance projects."

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: "For an additional amount for 'Office of the Director', $1,000,000,000, which shall be transferred to the Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health and to the Common Fund ... : Provided, That funds shall be used to support additional scientific research and be available for the same purposes as the appropriation or fund
to which transferred: ..."

S. 3689 contains additional DOE funding for programs in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Advanced Battery Loan Guarantee Program, Uranium Enrichment Decontamination and Decommissioning Fund, Non-Defense Environmental Cleanup, and Weapons Activity. For additional info, visit THOMAS.


Obama Names Team To Create "Innovation Agenda"

President-elect Barack Obama unveiled the team members who will oversee his "Innovation Agenda," a set of policy proposals aiming to make government operations more transparent, use high-technology to create jobs and motivate average citizens to be more involved in government. Lead members of the Technology, Innovation & Government Reform Policy Working Group are Blair Levin, Sonal Shah and Julius Genachowski. They will divide the group into four sub-teams: 1) Innovation and Government 2) Innovation and National Priorities 3) Innovation and Science 4) Innovation and Civil Society.

The agenda "includes a range of proposals to create a 21st century government that is more open and effective; leverages technology to grow the economy, create jobs, and solve our country's most pressing problems; respects the integrity of and renews our commitment to science; and catalyzes active citizenship and partnerships in shared governance with civil society institutions."

Other Presidential Transition S&T Team Leaders Announced

Tom Wheeler - Overall Team Leader - on leave of absence from the venture-capital firm Core Capital Partners. Wheeler has also headed the National Cable Television Association.

Department of Commerce Review Team:

Don Beyer - owner of five automobile dealerships in Northern Virginia and for the past 34 years, a national leader in the retail automobile industry, serving as chairman of the American International Automobile Dealers Association and the National Volvo Dealer Council. Beyer previously served eight years as Virginia's Lieutenant Governor, and was the Democratic nominee for Governor in 1997.

Ralph Everett - President and CEO of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Previously served as Legislative Assistant to Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC) and as Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. In1998, President Clinton appointed Everett as U.S. Ambassador to the International Telecommunication Union's Plenipotentiary Conference. Also led the U.S. Delegation to the Second World Telecommunications Development Conference.

FCC Review Team:

Susan Crawford - Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, teaching communications law and internet law; was partner with Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now Wilmer Hale) until the end of 2002. Recently ended her term as a member of the Board of Directors of ICANN.

Ken Werbach - Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; organizer of the annual Supernova technology conference. Served as Counsel for New Technology Policy at the FCC during the Clinton Administration.

NASA Review Team:

Lori Garver - President of Capital Space, LLC. For 25 years, has been a leader in the aerospace community, working in senior roles in the non-profit, government and commercial sectors, including serving as executive director of the National Space Society and as a Vice President of DFI International. Also served as NASA's Associate Administrator of Policy.

Roderic Olvera Young - Senior Vice President of TMG Strategies, directing the firm's Technology and Environment team and providing strategic counsel to the firm's clients on their high profile conflict and crisis issues across a range of industries. He previously worked on Banking and Appropriations Committee assignments and served as the Press Secretary to NASA's Administrator as a Presidential appointee.

NEA/NEH Review Team:

Bill Ivey - Director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy ( Vanderbilt University); a trustee of the Center for American Progress. Previously served as director of the Country Music Foundation and Chairman of the NEA under the Clinton Administration.

Anne Luzzatto - formerly Vice President, Meetings and Outreach at the Council on Foreign Relations; and Special Assistant to the President, Deputy White House Press Secretary for the National Security Council, and Assistant US Trade Representative for Public Affairs under Clinton.

Clement Price - Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of History and Director of the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience (Rutgers University); an authority on the black history in New Jersey; member of the Scholarly Advisory Committee to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution; member of the Board of Trustees of the Newark Public Library, a member of The NJ State Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights; and a trustee of the National Council for History Education.

National Science Foundation Review Team:

Jim Kohlenberger -former Senior Domestic Policy Advisor to Vice President Al Gore; executive director of the Voice on the Net Coalition, and Senior Fellow at the Benton Foundation.

Henry M. Rivera - partner with the law firm of Wiley Rein LLP where he represents telecommunications and media companies. Previously served as Commissioner of the FCC, chair and member of FCC and State Department Advisory Committees, and as a member of several U.S. delegations to international telecommunications conferences.


Government Accountability Office

Health Information Technology: More Detailed Plans Needed for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Redesigned BioSense Program. GAO-09-100, November 20. or Highlights

NRC Committee Reviews DOE Fusion Plan (ITER)

The National Research Council Committee to Review the U.S. ITER Science Participation Planning Process recently released a report - A Review of the DOE Plan for U.S. Fusion Community Participation in the ITER Program - giving a positive review to the Department of Energy's plan for U.S participation in the ITER program. However, the committee also warned that a December 2007 congressional decision to withhold FY2008 ITER money threatened "to keep the U.S. from being a participant in this important endeavor, and thus its ability to capitalize on advancements from ITER." Since then, Congress appropriated about $20.5 million to ITER for the first five months of FY 2009 (a final appropriations bill has not yet been enacted.) The total FY 2009 request for ITER is $214.5 million. The entire FY 2009 Fusion Energy Sciences program request was $493.1 million.

The committee's review of the program concluded that: "The 2006 DOE plan for U.S. participation in ITER is operating and has proven effective in beginning to coordinate U.S. research activities and the development of the ITER program. U.S. scientists have been well engaged in the planning for ITER, and the United States should endeavor to maintain this level of activity. The plan in its current form is well aligned with DOE Office of Fusion Energy Sciences goals."

How Entrepreneurial Is Your State?

Which states are leading the United States' transformation into a global, entrepreneurial, knowledge- and innovation-based New Economy and which are lagging behind? As a part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Kauffman Foundation and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released the 2008 State New Economy Index, ranking the 50 states according to how their economies are structured and their ability to operate effectively in order to compete nationally and globally. Massachusetts comes out on top by a large margin. Rounding out the top five are: Washington, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. Some of the key characteristics of these and other high-ranking states include: above-average levels of entrepreneurship; high levels of domestic and foreign immigration of highly skilled knowledge workers; companies geared toward global markets; and, high value-added technologically advanced manufacturing sectors.

The Index also outlines a public policy framework of "best practices" that state officials can use as a guide to transform their economies. Some suggestions include: supporting angel capital networks; encouraging immigration of highly-skilled knowledge workers; and, benchmarking state procedures for starting a business. Download the 2008 State New Economy Index.

The Small Business Administration... Presents More Data on Immigrant Entrepreneurs

The evidence on the economic importance of immigrant entrepreneurs is strong. The latest data comes from a US Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy-sponsored report by Robert Fairlie of the University of California-Santa Cruz. Fairlie's research assessed three separate US government data sources to get a range of the official impact of immigrant business owners. He found that immigrants are 30 percent more likely to start a business than non-immigrants. Overall, immigrants account for 16.7 percent of all new business owners in the US. Their impact is huge, accounting for $67 billion of the total $577 billion in US business income generated in 2000. In some states, like California, immigrant business owners account for one-quarter of all business income. Immigrant-owned businesses operate all over the US, but are heavily concentrated in a few key states like California, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey and New York. Download the report: Estimating the Contribution of Immigrant Business Owners to the US Economy.

... Indicates Challenges for Small Business Owners

The current economic downturn suggests that small business owners face many challenges in the coming years. A new working
paper by Chad Moutray, Chief Economist of the US Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, takes a look at five impending small business challenges. His list includes: Strengthening the Overall Economy, Taxes and Regulation, Cost
and Availability of Health Insurance, Attracting and Retaining a Quality Workforce, and Global Competition. The report also offers signs of hope that could emerge thanks to renewed investments in technology and innovation, support for innovative regional "economic gardening” strategies, and through entrepreneurial ventures started by new immigrants and minority
populations. Download the October 2008 Working Paper, Looking Ahead: Opportunities and Challenges for
Entrepreneurship and Small Business Owners

...And Says Small Businesses Are the innovators of the American Economy

According the SBA's Office of Advocacy, U.S. small businesses obtain many more patents per employee than larger firms. Moreover, their patents outperform larger firms on a number of measurements, suggesting that small firm patents in general are more likely to be technologically important than those of larger firms.   The report analyzes a database of 1,293 small and large technology firms and more than 1 million patent records between 2002 and 2006.  Download the report: An Analysis of Small Business Patents by Industry and Firm Size.

IBM Center Offers Resource on Presidential Transition

Presidential transitions are tricky things, even more so when the country is in the midst of a war and the worst economic downturn in decades. So, the incoming Obama Administration definitely has its hands full as it prepares to take over the White House in January. If they are looking for guidance, a new series of reports from the IBM Center for the Business of Government should be helpful. The Center has published two new books on effective transitions, and its web page includes lots of useful reports on key management challenges such as how to encourage green production, organizing the National Security Council, and managing the regulatory process. The site also includes a useful blog on issues related to the Presidential transition.

Access the IBM Center for the Business of Government's resource page on the Presidential Transition.


If you like to keep up with what's going on in state politics, provides a good overview of the activities in all 50 state legislatures.


AAAS Grant Site

The American Association for the Advancement of Science supports GrantsNet Express.  Each week, GrantsNet provides a listing of science funding opportunities from private foundations and organizations, and new U.S. government grant announcements in the sciences. AAAS will send GrantsNet by e-mail to AAAS member subscribers.

The President's 2002 Fiscal Year Management Agenda established as a governmental grants resource. is a central storehouse for information on over 1,000 grant programs, and provides access to approximately $400 billion in annual awards. Most agencies, such as the DOE's Office of Science, use only to list all funding opportunities. Other funding opportunities of interest include the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and NASA.

National Science Foundation

For information on NSF Engineering Active Funding Opportunities, visit:

Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST): The ITEST program responds to current concerns and projections about the growing demand for professionals and information technology workers in the U.S. and seeks solutions to help ensure the breadth and depth of the STEM workforce. ITEST supports research studies to address questions about how to find solutions. It also supports the development, implementation, testing, and scale-up of implementation models. A large variety of possible approaches to improving the STEM workforce and to building students' capacity to participate in it may be implemented and studied. ITEST projects may include students or teachers, kindergarten through high school age, and any area of the STEM workforce.  Projects that explore cyberlearning, specifically learning with cyberinfrastructure tools such as networked computing and communications technologies in K-12 settings, are of special interest.

Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program - seeks to encourage talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors and professionals to become K-12 mathematics and science teachers. The program provides funds to institutions of higher education to support scholarships, stipends, and academic programs for undergraduate STEM majors and post-baccalaureate students holding STEM degrees who commit to teaching in high-need K-12 school districts.   A new component of the program supports STEM professionals who enroll as NSF Teaching Fellows in master's degree programs leading to teacher certification by providing academic courses, professional development, and salary supplements while they are fulfilling a four-year teaching commitment in a high need school district.  This new component also supports the development of NSF Master Teaching Fellows by providing professional development and salary supplements for exemplary math and science teachers to become Master Teachers in high need school districts. Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (optional) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time): 10 February 2009

Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials  (PREM) - The objective of PREM is to broaden participation and enhance diversity in materials research and education by stimulating the development of formal, long-term, multi-investigator, collaborative research and education partnerships between minority-serving colleges and universities, women's colleges, and colleges and universities dedicated to educating a majority of students with disabilities,  groups that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and the NSF Division of Materials Research (DMR)-supported centers and/or facilities.

NOTE - A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), NSF 09-1, was issued on October 1, 2008 and is effective for proposals submitted on or after January 5, 2009.  Please be advised that the guidelines contained in NSF 09-1 apply to proposals submitted in response to these funding opportunities.  Proposers who opt to submit prior to January 5th, 2009, must also follow the guidelines contained in NSF 09-1. One of the most significant changes to the PAPPG is implementation of the mentoring provisions of the America COMPETES Act.  Each proposal that requests funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include, as a separate section within the 15-page project description, a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals.  Proposals that do not include a separate section on mentoring activities within the Project Description will be returned without review (see the PAPP Guide Part I: Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II.C.2.d for further information).

Getting Down to Their Dissertations - Contest Lets Scientists Get Their Groove On While Making Science Accessible

A contest created by the American Association for the Advancement of Science challenged scientists and graduate students around the world to choreograph dances that represent their Ph.D theses and then post them on YouTube.


IEEE-USA Now Accepting Government Fellowship Applications

Each year, IEEE-USA sponsors three qualified IEEE members to serve as government fellows: one Engineering & Diplomacy Fellow and two Congressional fellows.  The fellows spend a year in Washington, serving as advisers to the U.S. Congress or key U.S. Department of State decision-makers.  IEEE-USA's Government Fellowships link engineers with government, providing a mechanism for IEEE-USA members to learn firsthand about the public policy process through personal involvement.

The congressional fellowship consists of an appointment to the personal staff of a U.S. Senator or Congressman, or to the professional staff of a Congressional Committee. The Fellow along with the Congressional sponsor and IEEE-USA, negotiates a starting date, although IEEE-USA recommends that Fellowship terms run from January 1st to December 31st. For an application Kit for the 2010 Congressional Fellowship Program, visit:

The State Department fellowship begins in January of each year and offers an opportunity for an engineer to provide technical expertise to the State Department, and help raise awareness of the value of engineering input while learning about and contributing to the foreign policy process. For an application Kit for the 2010 Engineering & Diplomacy (State Department) Fellowship Program, visit:

Fellows must be U.S. citizens.The postmark application deadline for 2010 Fellowships is 13 March 2009. For more information, visit:

IEEE Now Accepting 2009 WISE Applications

Applications for the Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) program are sought from outstanding engineering students with a keen interest in public policy and evidence of leadership skills. The Summer 2009 WISE Program is scheduled from 8 June - 7 August 2009. To qualify for consideration, applicants must be juniors, seniors, or entering their final year of undergraduate studies in engineering (or computer science). WISE will also accept applications from engineering grads who are beginning Masters level study in a technology policy-related degree. Interns must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States of America.

WISE applicants should apply directly to their desired sponsor using the contact information provided. ANS, ASCE, ASME, IEEE and SAE will sponsor only individuals who are members of their societies at the time of application. Minority students are encouraged to apply. Applicants are required to fill out an application form, write two brief (one page) essays in response to questions, arrange for two faculty references, and forward an official transcript. Download the 2009 WISE program application at:

2008 WISE students at the Rayburn House Office Building, Capitol Hill

Winning Entry in 'How Engineers Make a World of Difference' Online Video Scholarship Competition Featured on 'Design Squad' Web Site

The winning entry in the 2008 IEEE-USA "How Engineers Make a World of Difference" Online Engineering Video Scholarship Competition can be seen on the PBS "Design Squad" Web site at

Engineering Undergraduates Ben Toler and Emile Frey of Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, La., split the IEEE-USA competition's $2,500 first prize. Their entry was deemed most effective in reinforcing for an 11-to-13-year-old audience how engineers improve the quality of life and how engineering can be a creative and rewarding career.

With two teams of high-school students competing to solve a new engineering challenge each week, "Design Squad" was created by PBS to reach the same 11-to-13-year-old audience. The program is in its third season on PBS with the IEEE continuing funding support.

Additionally, IEEE-USA is awarding $5,000 in scholarship prizes in the second year of its online engineering video competition. Entries must be submitted through YouTube by U.S. undergraduate students in engineering, computer science and information technology no later than 16 January 2009. For more information on how to enter, go to

CONTACT: Pender M. McCarter, Senior Public Relations Counselor, p.mccarter @ ieee. org

Recent Policy Communications:

Public Policy Priority Issues - 110th Congress, 2d Session (2008):

Position Statements: - IEEE-USA position statements identify important technical and/or engineering career-related aspects of specific public policy issues deemed to be of concern or affecting IEEE's U.S. members.  They make specific public policy recommendations and provide recommended approaches for consideration by the U.S. Congress, Executive Branch officials, the Judiciary, representatives of State and Local Government, and other interested groups and individuals, including IEEE members. 

Check out the new positions statements approved in November 2008 [New!] . Many more are Under Review by committees.

IEEE-USA In The News:

Former IEEE-USA Government Fellows Available to Speak to Sections

Earlier this year, former IEEE-USA Congressional Fellow George Hanover spoke to an IEEE PACE group in the San Francisco Bay area. He discussed the innovation and competitiveness issues that he worked on during the year he served as an IEEE-USA government fellow, working as a staffer for the Environment, Technology and Standards Subcommittee of the House Science Committee. George also served on the personal staff of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), a member of the House Science Committee. George also discussed an engineer's perspective on the "government process" and the IEEE-USA's involvement in that process. If your section is interested in having one of the former government fellows speak to your group about the program, how the legislative process works in Washington, and how IEEE-USA is influencing it, please contact Erica Wissolik at e. wissolik @ ieee. org. For more information on the IEEE-USA Government Fellows Program, please visit:

Next up? A January 20th IEEE Philadelphia Section dinner presentation by Former IEEE-USA Congressional Fellow Tom Fagan. Tom will discuss the IEEE-USA Congressional Science & Engineering Fellows Program, the program's history to date, and his personal reflections on the many activities in which he was involved during his tenure on Capitol Hill. During his fellowship, Tom served as a professional staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee's subcommittees on General Procurement, Arms Control, and Military Construction. In addition, Tom will describe a number of initiatives that were started during his term that have now been recently implemented under the rubric of Acquisition Reform and Procurement Reform. Tom will discuss these changes and why they are good for the Defense Department, Defense Contractors, the United States, and the U.S. Taxpayer.

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What's New @ IEEE-USA's Eye on Washington highlights important federal legislative and regulatory developments that affect U.S. engineers and their careers. In addition to this biweekly newsletter, subscribers receive legislative bulletins and action alerts on IEEE-USA priority issues, including: retirement security, employment benefits, research & development funding, computers and information policy, immigration reform, intellectual property protection and privacy of health/medical information.

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Updated: 12 September 2008

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