Congress Looking to Move FY 2021 Funding Bills in Coming Weeks

While Congressional leaders continue to negotiate their next response to the COVID-19 pandemic and, now, renewed calls for policing reforms in the wake of the killings of unarmed Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement, lawmakers are also looking to make progress on the fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills. According to House leadership, the House of Representatives will work to pass its FY 2021 bills ahead of the month-long August recess. This leaves the House with less than two months to write, mark-up and bring to the floor all twelve annual spending bills. The Senate has not yet released plans for moving ahead on FY 2021 appropriations, though leaders have expressed hopes to begin in late June.

Advocates, including COSSA, are busy making their final pitches to Congress for next year’s funding. A major unknown this year is the impact that recently enacted supplemental funding to address the COVID-19 outbreak will have on regular appropriations. COSSA will report on the details of the annual spending bills for federal science agencies over the next several weeks. You can follow our coverage at: https://www.cossa.org/policy.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 9), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Bipartisan Bill Would Mandate DOD Fund Social Science Research

On June 5, Reps. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) and David McKinley (R-WV) introduced the Social Sciences Protect Our Nation Act (H.R. 7106), a bill that would require the Department of Defense (DOD) to maintain a basic social sciences research program. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), Chair of the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities, joined as an original co-sponsor of the legislation. The bill was introduced in response to DOD’s plans to cut Defense-wide funding for social and behavioral science research, including the Minerva Research Initiative, a university-based social science research program, in the coming fiscal year. According to the legislation, “Maintaining a basic social sciences research program provides the Department of Defense critical access to expertise to inform cultural understanding, support technological edge, counter adversarial social interventions, and understand drivers to strengthen alliances and attract new partners.”

COSSA released a statement on the legislation that was included in a press release from Rep. Lipinski’s office:

“The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) applauds Representatives Daniel Lipinski and David McKinley for introducing the Social Sciences Protect Our Nation Act, which recognizes the essential role basic social and behavioral science research plays in supporting national defense and the need for such research to have a home within the Defense Department, where it can be put to immediate use. Social science research has enhanced America’s national security by improving our understanding of complex dynamics such as terrorism and radicalization, gang behavior, political instability, and demographic shifts in nations around the world. The Social Sciences Protect Our Nation Act will ensure that this research continues to thrive within our national security enterprise.”

Upon its introduction, the legislation was referred to the House Armed Services Committee, although a timeline for consideration is unclear.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 9), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

White House Launches Search for Chief Statistician

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has posted a vacancy announcement for the position of Chief Statistician of the United States, following the departure of former Chief Statistician Nancy Potok at the end of 2019. The Chief Statistician oversees OMB’s Statistical Policy and Science Branch and is responsible for implementing cross-agency data and statistics policies, including the Federal Data Strategy and the implementation of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act. The window for applications closes on June 29.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 9), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

IES Announces Changes, Requests Applications for Several of its Largest Grant Programs

On May 27, Mark Schneider, the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) within the Department of Education, issued an announcement of new Requests for Applications (RFA) for several of the Institute’s largest grant programs for fiscal year (FY) 2021 as well as updates to some of the Institute’s programs. The Requests for Applications are mainly in the Education Research and Training Grant Programs and in Special Education Research and Training Grant Programs. A full list of the RFAs are available on the IES website.

Some of the programmatic changes mentioned in the announcement include higher funding limits to meet growing demands for dissemination and the reorganization of the programs at the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) into fewer, broader program topics. According to the announcement, the changes were guided by the Institute’s Standards for Excellence in Education Research (SEER). Director Schneider’s announcement and more information are available on the IES website.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 9), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

COSSA Washington Update, Volume 39 Issue 11

Featured News

COSSA in Action

Congressional News

Federal Agency & Administration News

Community News & Reports

Events Calendar

Posted in Issue 11 (May 26), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Recordings of COVID-19-Related COSSA Headlines Webinars Now Available

In recognition of the severity of the current coronavirus crisis, COSSA has elected to make recordings of its members-only Headlines webinars related to the pandemic available immediately, rather than waiting an additional month to release the recordings to non-members. Check out the Headlines page on the COSSA website for links to previous recordings, including our most recent deep dive discussion with University of Florida epidemiologist Natalie Dean, who called for social scientists to weigh in on critical questions such as how best to facilitate contact tracing and providing insight into factors that could affect the public’s reaction to a potential vaccine. Other Headlines discussions related to COVID-19 focused on communication strategies in an emerging public health crisis and the role of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in coordinating science agencies’ response. COSSA members can sign up for members-only emails to receive information on how to join these webinars live.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 26), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Census Releases First COVID-19 Household Data

The Census Bureau has released the first data from its new COVID-19 Household Pulse Survey, which asks over 50,000 Americans about their employment status, spending patterns, food security, housing, physical and mental health, access to health care, and educational disruption during the coronavirus pandemic (see previous coverage). The data, which covers April 23-May 5, was released as tables and through an interactive dashboard. More information about the survey is available on the Census Bureau website. Data will continue to be released on a weekly basis throughout the survey’s 90-day duration. In addition, the Census Bureau has released data on the pandemic’s impact on small businesses collected by its Small Business Pulse Survey.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 26), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

National Academies Holds Webinar on COVID-19 and Extreme Environmental Events

The National Academies Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Environmental Change and Society and Resilient America Roundtable convened a webinar on May 13 to discuss the social science aspects of potential emergencies that compound the current COVID-19 crisis with environmental hazards, such as fires, hurricanes, flooding, and heatwaves. The event featured experts from federal government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as universities, and nonprofit and community organizations. Panelists discussed the challenges of responding to emergencies and natural disasters amidst a pandemic and the need for social science to shed more light on how individuals and communities are likely to respond to such situations. A recording of the event is available on the NASEM website.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 26), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

COSSA Submits Testimony in Support of FY 2021 Funding for Health, Education Agencies

Each year, COSSA submits outside witness testimony to the Congressional Appropriations subcommittees responsible for funding federal agencies important to the social sciences. Earlier this month, COSSA submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies calling for robust funding for the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (including the National Center for Health Statistics), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, and the Department of Education’s International Education and Foreign Language programs. All of COSSA’s FY 2021 testimony is posted on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 26), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

John Haaga Answers “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceThe latest Why Social Science? post comes from Dr. John Haaga, who retired as Director of the National Institute on Aging’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research in 2019. He writes about the light COVID-19 has shed on the work the U.S. needs to do in order for Americans’ health outcomes to catch up to those in peer countries. Read it here and subscribe.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 26), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

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