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Get more information about the Washington Office and AMS Government Relations and Programs and check out the Capital Currents blog.


Congressional Budget Watch
July 13, 2017: As we head into August recess in Congress, our congressional members are working hard to pass the legislation necessary for funding federal programs. While there are numerous government-funded programs in science and education that the AMS and our members care about, this update is on the allocation of money for the National Science Foundation.

The House Appropriations Committee approved the FY2018 Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill on a vote of 31-21. This bill funds the NSF, and also NASA, Department of Justice, and other agencies and departments. The total funding contained in this bill is \$54 billion, which is \$4.8 billion above President Trump’s request, but \$2.6 billion below the amount approved for FY2017. Increases in funding for national security and federal law enforcement are offset by cuts elsewhere. The bill funds the NSF at \$7.3 billion, with \$6 billion of that going to Research and Related Activities. This is \$133 million below FY2017 and marks the second year running that the federal allocation for the NSF has essentially remained constant. This is not good, but unarguably better than Trump’s proposed cut of about 11% to the NSF.

The Senate appropriators now have to take action. As of now, there is no scheduled hearing of the Senate Appropriations CJS Subcommittee considering the budget request for NSF. Not surprisingly, there is bipartisan concern with progress on the FY2018 budget.

See the Washington Office blog for information on how the annual Congressional process unfolds (or should unfold).  And, for more details and up-to-date materials, the American Association for the Advancement of Science is a great resource.

Mathematics on Capitol Hill
The American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) co-sponsored a Congressional lunch briefing on June 28, 2017.  Professor David Donoho (Stanford University) explained to Congressional representatives how federally funded mathematical research transitioned in just 10 years from ‘brainiac’ math journals to FDA approved medical devices. His Stanford patents on compressed sensing are licensed by both GE and Siemens in their new generation FDA-approved scanners. The improved technology will save lives, reach new demographic groups, and increase productivity in the use of healthcare resources.  See the Washington Office blog "ICYMI - A great Congressional Briefing!"


Hirono Introduces STEM Opportunities Acts
Senator Senator Mazie K. Hirono (HI) has introduced the STEM Opportunities Act (S. 1270) and the Women and Minorities in STEM Booster Act (S.1246), in a plan to increase opportunities for women and minorities in STEM.  Introduced with Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) Ranking Member on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, the Act would help create grant opportunities and better promote inclusion efforts at federal sciences agencies and elsewhere.

Karen Saxe, Director of the AMS Washington Office, explains "women and minorities are lost at every key point along the way in STEM classes and degree programs.  Success in mathematics in particular is the most significant barrier to degree completion in both STEM and non-STEM fields ... it is critically important that we have programs in place -- like those promoted by the STEM Opportunities and STEM Booster Acts -- that help share best practices for overcoming these barriers and ensure that we are able to retain women and minorities in STEM fields."  Learn more about this new legislation.

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