COSSA Washington Update, Volume 33 Issue 17

In this issue…

Featured Article

Congressional Activities & News

Federal Agency & Administration Activities & News

Notable Publications & Community Events

Funding Opportunities

COSSA Action & Outreach

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 22), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

AAA&S Restoring the Foundation Report Calls for Increased Federal Investment in Research

On September 16, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a COSSA member, released a new report, Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream. The report makes the case that America’s economic successes in the twentieth century have largely been due to our investments in scientific research and that failure to maintain sustainable funding for research “could threaten the very principles—opportunity, social mobility, innovation—that have inspired our nation for the past century.” Read more ›

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 22), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

Funding Bills Punted Until After Midterm Elections

The House and Senate easily passed a continuing resolution (CR), or temporary spending measure, last week to keep the federal government operating through December 11. With fiscal year (FY) 2015 approaching on October 1, Congress was not able to complete its work on the FY 2015 appropriations bills before adjourning again to campaign for November’s midterm elections. The CR (H.J. Res. 124) totals $1.012 trillion and extends current year (FY 2014) funding and policy directives into the first 10 weeks of FY 2015. In addition, the bill includes an across-the-board cut of 0.0554 percent to keep spending within the discretionary budget caps set in late 2013. Read more ›

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 22), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

Rep. Johnson Defends Social Science and Education Research at Dyslexia Hearing

The full House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing on The Science of Dyslexia on September 18. The panel heard from the co-chairs of the Congressional Dyslexia Caucus, researchers whose work focuses on dyslexia, and other advocates. Much of the discussion focused on how to better leverage the wealth of scientific evidence we have to help children and adults with dyslexia succeed. However, in her opening statement, Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), pointed out that much of this knowledge is the product of those disciplines members of the Committee have disparaged in the past: “A significant amount of the NSF [National Science Foundation] research relevant to dyslexia is funded out of the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate and the Education and Human Resources Directorate. That is why I have fought efforts in this Committee to slash funding for these important NSF Directorates, which fund valuable research that turns out to have broader, and often unanticipated, applications to other high-priority research – as we are seeing here today.”

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 22), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

Education Research, NCES Bill Clears Senate Panel

On September 17, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee marked up and reported out the Strengthening Education through Research Act, or SETRA (H.R. 4366). The bill, which was passed by the full House of Representatives in May, would amend and reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA) through 2020. ESRA serves as authorizing legislation for the Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Research, National Center for Education Statistics, and other components within the U.S. Department of Education.

COSSA joined the American Educational Research Association (AERA), a COSSA Governing Member, and other groups on a letter earlier this summer outlining a number of concerns with SETRA, particularly relating to the independence and stature of NCES as a federal statistical agency. The bill as approved by the HELP Committee last week does not address the concerns expressed by the community. The bill now heads to the full House and Senate for final consideration before heading to the President for signature, which could occur when Congress returns for the lame duck session this fall.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 22), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

House Appropriations Committee Democrats Introduce FY 2015 Labor, HHS, and Education Bill

On September 15, the Democratic members of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Subcommittee (Labor-HHS), led by Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), introduced their version of a fiscal year (FY) 2015 funding bill for the programs within the Subcommittee’s jurisdiction. The Labor-HHS bill is the only appropriations bill that has yet to be considered by the full House Appropriations Committee. Thus far, the Subcommittee’s Republican majority has given no indication that it intends to introduce a Labor-HHS bill this year. This is the second consecutive year and third year out of the last four that the Subcommittee has not introduced the always contentious appropriations measure. It is very unlikely that the Democratic measure will be considered by the Subcommittee. The House and Senate recently passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through December 11, 2014, postponing consideration of any funding bills until after the midterm elections. Read more ›

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 22), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

House Subcommittee Discusses Suicide Prevention and Treatment

On September 18, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing, “Suicide Prevention and Treatment: Helping Loved Ones in Mental Health Crisis.” Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), a psychologist, explained that the hearing was an attempt to “take the conversation about suicide out of the dark shadow of stigma and into the bright light of truth and hope. Suicide is the deadly outcome of mental illness. Suicide is when depression kills. Suicide is an epidemic and its impact is staggering.” Read more ›

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 22), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

NIH Issues Final Genomic Data Sharing Policy

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently issued its final NIH Genomic Data Sharing (GDS) policy designed to promote data sharing as a way to accelerate the translation of data into knowledge, products, and procedures that improve health but also protect the privacy of research participants. Read more ›

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 22), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

NCHS and Census Release Data on Health Insurance Coverage

New statistics released by the federal government last week provide insight into the number of Americans without insurance in 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 (after the insurance coverage expansion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had gone into effect). The Census Bureau published Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013, based on data from the 2014 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC), which found that 42 million people, 13.4 percent of Americans, had no health insurance for the entirety of 2013. Read more ›

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 22), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

PCORI Seeks Public Comment on Draft Peer Review and Public Release Proposal

On September 15, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s (PCORI) Board of Governors approved the release of the Institute’s draft plan for peer review and public release of its research, Getting the Word Out: PCORI’s Proposal for Peer Review of Primary Research and Public Release of Research Findings. The Institute is seeking comments from the public on the proposal, which may be submitted on its website through November 7, 2014. PCORI will also hold a public forum to discuss the proposal on Monday, September 29 (the event will also be available as a webinar).

PCORI’s authorizing legislation mandates that the Institute ensure that all primary research is peer reviewed and release research findings to clinicians, patients, and the general public in a timely manner. The draft proposal combines these two responsibilities (meaning that findings will not be made public until they have undergone peer review). The proposed peer review process opts not to rely on scientific journals’ peer review, due to concerns about timeliness and the necessity of assessing researchers’ compliance with PCORI’s methodology standards. Instead, it proposes that PCORI coordinate the peer review of the research it funds.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 22), Update, Volume 33 (2014)