Washington Update

Inside (the Beltway) Scoop

By: Benjamin Krinsky
Thursday, November 1, 2018

All Eyes on November 6 Midterm Elections; New Head of NIFA Takes Helm; NSB Releases Statement on International Science

Though political news is never in short supply, Capitol Hill has been quiet in recent days as all eyes are on the November 6 midterm elections. Big spending decisions still loom related to fiscal year (FY) 2019 including the final budget of the National Science Foundation but it remains unclear if Congress has an appetite to tackle budget matters during the “lame-duck” session. Should appropriations be further postponed, Congress will have to pass another continuing resolution to keep a slew of government programs operating past December 7.

FASEB will host a webinar entitled “Election 2018: Impact on Science Funding and Policy Issues” on Thursday, November 8. The results of the Congressional midterms will be discussed, along with potential impacts. An analysis of expected changes in congressional committees and a 2019 legislative outlook will also be presented.

In other news, J. Scott Angle, PhD, was sworn in as the new director for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture on October 29. Dr. Angle most recently was president and CEO of the International Fertilizer Development Center. Previously, he served as dean and director of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia. NIFA oversees a wide range of Department of Agriculture research, education, and extension programs, including the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

On the international front, the National Science Board released a statement October 24 on the importance of maintaining the open exchange of scientific ideas and information in the face of national security threats. Reiterating its support for the principles in National Security Decision Directive 189, the Board stressed that the strength of the U.S. scientific enterprise and the economic and security benefits derived from it depend on maintaining the unrestricted exchange of scientific knowledge.

The Board stated “the United States’ commitment to freedom of inquiry, innovation, and the marketplace of ideas has helped the U.S. grow, attract, and retain our world-class science and engineering workforce.”