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

Vol. 2011, No. 10 (26 July 2011)








Comparing House and Senate Debt Limit Plans - House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) released competing plans this week to raise the federal debt limit and reduce the need for additional borrowing over the next decade.
Debt limit increase

House Republicans:

• Add $1 trillion immediately to the current $14.3 trillion debt limit, which would be expected to allow the government to continue borrowing into the early months of 2012.

• The president would be authorized to request a further increase of $1.6 trillion only if the recommendations of a joint committee created to reduce the deficit are enacted. The second increase, if requested, would take effect unless Congress passed a resolution of disapproval, presumably by a two-thirds vote in each chamber to override an expected veto.

Senate Democrats:

• Add $2.4 trillion immediately to the current $14.3 trillion debt limit, which would be expected to allow the government to continue borrowing until after the 2012 election.

Savings from discretionary spending

House Republicans:

• Reduce spending immediately and cap future spending to save $1.2 trillion over 10 years. Adherence to annual spending caps would be enforced through a process of automatic spending cuts similar to the process created by the 1997 deficit reduction law (PL 105-33), which expired in 2002.

• The plan assumes no specific savings from declining war costs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Senate Democrats:

• Reduce domestic and defense spending by a total of $1.2 trillion over 10 years, based on cuts negotiated in earlier meetings with Vice President Joseph Biden.

• The plan counts $1 trillion in additional savings from declining war costs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Savings from mandatory programs

House Republicans:

• Create a 12-member joint committee of Congress that includes three Republicans and three Democrats from each chamber, and co-chairmen named by Boehner and Reid. The joint committee would be charged with reporting back to both chambers by Nov. 23 with recommendations to reduce the deficit by an additional $1.8 trillion over 10 years. The committee proposal would be subject to up-or-down votes in both chambers by Dec. 23. No amendments would be permitted and a simple majority in each chamber would be needed for passage. A Senate filibuster would not be permitted.

• It is unclear whether the total amount of deficit reduction assumes savings from reduced interest payments on the federal debt.

Senate Democrats:

• Cut the deficit by $100 billion over 10 years by reducing waste and fraud in entitlement programs, improving IRS enforcement, curtailing agriculture subsidies, selling broadcast spectrum and finding savings from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. No changes in Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits are counted.

• The plan assumes $400 billion in savings over 10 years from reduced interest payments on the federal debt.

• The plan would create a 12-member joint committee similar to that in the House plan to recommend ways to reduce the deficit to about 3 percent of gross domestic product, but enactment of its recommendations would not be tied to the debt-limit increase.

Increased revenue

House Republicans:

• No tax increases assumed, although the joint committee would be empowered to consider additional revenue to achieve its deficit-reduction target.

Senate Democrats:

• No increase in revenue is assumed.

Balanced-budget amendment

House Republicans:

• Both chambers would be required to vote after Oct. 1 but before the end of 2011 on a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would require a balanced budget. The specific terms of the proposed amendment were unclear.

Senate Democrats:

• No balanced-budget amendment is assumed.


Obama Administration Officials and Industry Leaders Unveil Federal Strategy to Promote U.S.-Based Electronics Recycling Market and Jobs - In Austin, Texas, at a certified electronics recycling center, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, General Services Administrator Martha N. Johnson, and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley were joined by the CEOs of Dell Inc. and Sprint, and senior executives from Sony Electronics to release the Obama Administration’s “National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship” – a strategy for the responsible electronic design, purchasing, management and recycling that will promote the burgeoning electronics recycling market and jobs of the future here at home. The announcement includes the first voluntary commitments made by Dell, Sprint and Sony to EPA’s industry partnership aimed at promoting environmentally sound management of used electronics. The Administration’s strategy also commits the federal government to take specific actions that will encourage the more environmentally friendly design of electronic products, promote recycling of used or discarded electronics, and advance a domestic market for electronics recycling that will protect public health and create jobs.

E. William Colglazier named State Department Science and Technology Adviser - E. William (Bill) Colglazier, recently retired executive officer of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council, has been selected to be the new Science and Technology Adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Colglazier will lead the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary, whose mission is to provide the secretary and other senior State Department officials with scientific and technical expertise in support of the development and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. The post of science and technology adviser was established in response to a recommendation in a 1999 National Research Council report. Colglazier arrived at the National Research Council in 1991 as executive director of the Office of International Affairs. He became executive officer of NAS and the Research Council in 1994 and was named chief operating officer in 2001. From 1983 to 1991, he was professor of physics and directed the Energy, Environment, and Resources Center at the University of Tennessee. He has studied and worked at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Colglazier's introduction to science policy and Washington came in 1976 when he was selected to be an AAAS Congressional Science Fellow in the office of Congressman George Brown. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1971.

DoD Could Use Force in Cyber War - The Pentagon stated that it "reserves the right" to use military force against cyberattacks in a newly declassified cyberstrategy document. This came in part as a response to the rising specter of cyber sabotage exemplified by the Stuxnet attack on Iran's nuclear program, and to the cybertheft of 24,000 files by a foreign government this past spring. The declassified cyberstrategy outlines five new initiatives that the pentagon will take to increase American cyber security. As part of the efforts, the Pentagon will devote more funding to building its cyberdefenses. Questions remain, however, about what defines an "act of war" in the cyberworld. This follows a May proposal from the White House to update and improve domestic cyber security laws.


IEEE-USA Teams Up with Industry to Promote High-Tech Immigration and Job Creation - Some of world’s top international students earn their advanced high-tech college degrees in the United States, and many would like to remain here. But with an immigration system that makes them wait as long as 10 years for a chance to become permanent residents, many choose to return home or move to a country more welcoming. So the question for the United States is: do we want to educate these brilliant minds and then send them home to compete against us, or do we want to allow them to stay here and contribute to our economy?

IEEE-USA In The News

Recent IEEE-USA Testimony, and Letters to Congress & Administration

IEEE-USA Press Releases

Public Policy Priority Issues(112th Congress, 1st Session, 2011) -- Committees of IEEE volunteers draft IEEE-USA's public policy priorities, as well as all of IEEE-USA's position statements, and IEEE-USA's Board of Directors approves them. IEEE members interested in becoming involved with the development of the priorities, or working towards their implementation, should contact the committee in which they are interested.

Public Policy Position Statements on issues deemed to be of concern to or affecting IEEE's U.S. members. The statements make specific public policy recommendations for the consideration of Congress, the Executive Branch, the Judiciary, representatives of State and Local Government, and other interested groups and individuals, including IEEE members.

IEEE-USA E-Books - To see the latest E-Books, visit our online catalog which includes the 2010 IEEE-USA Salary & Fringe Benefits Survey, the 2010 Profile of IEEE Consultants and two new GovDocs.

Have an Idea For an IEEE-USA E-Book? - If you've got an idea for an e-book that will educate your fellow IEEE members on a particular topic of expertise, e-mail your e-book queries and ideas to IEEE-USA Publishing Manager Georgia Stelluto.

U.S. STATES - 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.'s annual report on state trends and policy, "State of the States 2009" is now available. The report is full of helpful graphics and maps, in addition to reports on the most significant developments in the 50 states.


National Science Foundation Recent opportunities can be found here.

AAAS GrantsNet Express - A weekly American Association for the Advancement of Science 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.

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solicitations - The majority of EERE financial opportunities are for business, industry, and universities. - The President's 2002 Fiscal Year Management Agenda established as a central storehouse for information on over 1,000 grant programs. The site 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.

AAAS: Communicating Science, Tools for Scientists & Engineers - Scientists and engineers who foster information-sharing and respect between science and the public are essential for the public communication of and engagement with science. Although traditional scientific training typically does not prepare scientists and engineers to be effective communicators outside of academia, funding agencies are increasingly encouraging researchers to extend beyond peer-reviewed publishing and communicate their results directly to the greater public. In response to this need in science communications, the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology has partnered with the National Science Foundation to provide resources for scientists and engineers, both online and through in-person workshops to help researchers communicate more broadly with the public.

The ASPIRE Prize The United States announces the APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (“ASPIRE Prize”) to recognize young scientists who have demonstrated: excellence in scientific research, as evidenced through scholarly publication; commitment to cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies; and contribution to the year’s selected theme, which for 2011 is green growth. John Wiley & Sons and Reed Elsevier, two of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly scientific knowledge, have generously committed to funding prize money in the amount of $25,000 USD. By recognizing and supporting excellence in scientific research and cooperation among young scientists in the APEC region ASPIRE supports APEC’s mission to:

• Enhance economic growth, trade and investment opportunities in harmony with sustainable development, through policies, innovative R&D and technologies, and knowledge sharing;
• Strengthen international science and technology networks; and
• Improve linkages and efficiency between research and innovation, involving and encouraging the potential of SMEs.

The ASPIRE Prize is expected to be awarded by Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu at the Joint Ministerial Meeting on Energy and Transportation in September. The winner of the ASPIRE Prize will receive $25,000 USD and a trip to the award ceremony in San Francisco.

ELIGIBILITY Any U.S. citizen is eligible to be nominated for the ASPIRE Prize. He/she must be living at the time of his/her nomination and be under the age of 40 as of December 31st of 2011.
HOW TO NOMINATE A CANDIDATE Because of the very limited number of nominations allowed – only one per APEC member economy – we ask for no more than one nominee from any university or organization. If you are a researcher or faculty member interested in nominating a candidate for the ASPIRE prize, please contact us for the nomination form by emailing: Ms. Erin Johnson at

Department of Energy Announces Funding for Nationwide Student-Focused Clean Energy Business Competitions - This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will consider applications that propose annual U.S. university-based business creation competitions for student entrepreneurs with business ideas in energy efficiency and renewable energy.


U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration - STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future

National Academies - Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics - Science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (STEM) are fundamental aspects of everyone's lives as citizens, consumers, parents, and workers. Providing all students with access to high-quality education in STEM is important to their futures and that of the U.S. What can schools do to meet this goal for their students?

Summer 2011 issue of the CNST News from the NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST)

National Science Foundation

Research and Development in Industry: 2006–07 Detailed Statistical Tables

Cooperative Robots That Learn = Less Work for Human Handlers

Community Colleges: Playing an Important Role in the Education of Science, Engineering, and Health Graduates

Multimedia Stories Show How Engineers Shape the Future

Academic Research and Development Expenditures: Fiscal Year 2009

Two Decades of Increasing Diversity More than Doubled the Number of Minority Graduate Students in Science and Engineering

National Robotics Initiative - The goal of the National Robotics Initiative is to accelerate the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside, or cooperatively with, people. Innovative robotics research and applications emphasizing the realization of such co-robots acting in direct support of and in a symbiotic relationship with human partners is supported by multiple agencies of the federal government including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time): October 01, 2011 (more info and a video of the President discussing the initiative in Pittsburgh)

Government Accountability Office

Biofuels: Challenges to the Transportation, Sale, and Use of Intermediate Ethanol Blends GAO-11-513 (June 3) Highlights

NextGen Air Transportation System: Mechanisms for Collaboration and Technology Transfer Could Be Enhanced to More Fully Leverage Partner Agency and Industry Resources. GAO-11-604 (June 30) Highlights

DHS Science and Technology: Additional Steps Needed to Ensure Test and Evaluation Requirements Are Met. GAO-11-596 (June 15)

Congressional Research Service

The Arecibo Ionospheric Observatory

The Smart Grid and Cybersecurity- Regulatory Policy and Issues

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2012

Broadband Loan and Grant Programs in the USDA's Rural Utilities Service

Master Limited Partnerships: A Policy Option for the Renewable Energy Industry

U.S. National Science Foundation: Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)

U.S. National Science Foundation: An Overview

Federal Support for Academic Research

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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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