|FY 2022 Bills Delayed until February, Build Back Better Act Inches Forward
|On December 3, the House and Senate agreed to the terms of a second continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government open and operating until February 18, 2022. Although fiscal year (FY) 2022 officially began more than two months ago on October 1, Congress has yet to complete negotiations on any of its 12 annual appropriations bills. The latest CR kicks the can into next year, allowing lawmakers time to focus on other year-end priorities. COSSA’s full coverage of FY 2022 appropriations is available here.
In the category of “must-pass” legislation are the annual defense authorization bill, which includes funding authorizations for DOD’s research programs (including in the social and behavioral sciences), and an increase to the federal debt limit. Both of these measures could be resolved as soon as this week.
In addition, the Senate continues to inch forward on the FY 2022 budget reconciliation bill (H.R. 5376), also known as the Build Back Better Act. This massive package containing funding for social safety net programs and climate change initiatives, as well as some funding for federal research agencies, would provide an infusion of new funds in FY 2022 (as well as multi-year funding) in addition to the annual appropriations noted above. The House passed its version of the bill in November, knowing that the Senate is likely to proposed significant changes in order to secure passage given the chamber’s razor thin Democratic majority. The reconciliation process—a parliamentary procedure typically used to achieve changes in law related to spending or revenue—can be a time-consuming endeavor, often requiring the work of multiple Congressional authorizing committees (as opposed to the appropriations committees), but in the end requires only a simple majority in the Senate to pass. Congressional leaders are hoping to enact the bill by Christmas. COSSA will continue to report on the process of the Build Back Better Act.
Executive Branch News
|GAO Report Cites Need for Better Police Use-of-Force Data
|The Government Accountability Office has released a report assessing the release of data from the Department of Justice (DOJ) related to law enforcement use of force. Overall, the report finds that the Department has not been consistently publishing legally required data on excessive force and that DOJ can do a better job of sharing this information. The report makes note of delays in the release of data produced by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), an issue not limited to use-of-force data (COSSA has written several letters advocating for the timely release of BJS data). The report recommends that BJS “assess the causes of delays in publishing reports related to law enforcement’s use of force and identify corrective actions to address such delays” and to update its own performance measures to reflect a wider breadth of its publications. In a response to the GAO report, DOJ agreed to take action to address both of these recommendations. The full report is available on the GAO website.
|Census Seeking Comment on New “Ask U.S.” Opinion Panel
|The Census Bureau is seeking approval for a new nationally representative survey panel called “Ask U.S.,” to be used for “tracking public opinion on a variety of topics of interest to numerous federal agencies and their partners, and for conducting experimentation on alternative question wording and methodological approaches” as well as potentially collecting “nationwide rapid-response data to address emerging data needs.” Public comment is being accepted on the new activity, which will also be coordinated with the Economic Research Service, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics, and the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, among other federal partners. According to the Federal Register notice, the new activity will begin with a pilot program of 1,700 people, before scaling up to a full sample size of 17,000. Comments are being accepted on this new activity through February 7, 2022.
Science Community News
|Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment Releases Year Two Annual Report
|The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment released its annual report summarizing findings and progress through its second year of work. The Action Collaborative, which was organized in 2019 by more than sixty colleges, universities, and research institutions, is charged with developing evidence-based strategies to prevent sexual harassment in higher education settings. The report describes the progress made across its four main goals: raising awareness about sexual harassment, elevating evidence-based policies to reduce and prevent sexual harassment, contributing to a shared research agenda on sexual harassment across member institutions, and developing standards for measuring progress on sexual harassment issues in higher education. The report also includes a summary of efforts made by Action Collaborative participants to prevent, respond to, and remediate instances of sexual harassment and evaluate institutional strategies. The report is available on the National Academies website.
|Participants Sought for NSF-Funded January Bioeconomies Workshop
|UIDP is hosting a virtual workshop January 11-12, with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scientists from the public and private sectors who understand and support societal, economic, behavioral, and other challenges and opportunities that arise in developing a bioeconomy ecosystem. The workshop will convene experts from academia, industry, and public and private sectors to explore societal, economic, behavioral, regulatory, and other challenges and opportunities to help design bioeconomy innovation hubs, such as Regional Innovation Accelerators proposed by NSF, and develop a bioeconomy ecosystem that spurs innovation, entrepreneurship, economic growth, and social wellbeing.
According to the website, “There is a need to understand societal, economic, behavioral, and other challenges and opportunities that arise in developing a bioeconomy ecosystem, and how these factors interact in spurring innovation through bioeconomy innovation hubs, encouraging entrepreneurship, and growth of a bioeconomy.”
Participation in the workshop is by invitation only; therefore, those interested should submit their names and CVs to Michael Brizek, program director, at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than December 23 for best consideration.
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