Science policy news weekly roundup: October 24, 2014

The roundup is formatted with the title of the story, followed by the news source in parentheses and a brief summary. If you find a particularly interesting article, please send it to esiebrasse@asbmb.org for inclusion in next week’s roundup.

Ebola

Budget cuts can’t be blamed for lack of Ebola vaccine (Huffington Post) The Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Tony Fauci, disagrees with his boss, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, on the probability of having an Ebola vaccine given cuts to the NIH’s budget.

U.S. representatives support increase in funding for public health (news release) U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., leads 47 other Democrats in writing a letter to the leaders of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations calling for increased funding for the NIH and the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention.

GOP plan for Ebola: cry fire in a crowded theater (Huffington Post blog) Although the U.S. does not have an Ebola epidemic within its borders, some members of Congress are inciting fear rather than seeking an appropriate response to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Africa.

The money and politics of Ebola (Chattanooga Times, opinion) Differing views on the role of past research funding cuts in the development of Ebola treatments has politicized the issue.

Fact check:  Ebola vaccine research was cut in half (Tampa Bay Times Pundit Fact) Democratic strategist Stephanie Cutter recently stated that Ebola research has been cut by 50 percent. Pundit Fact checks the validity of her statement and finds it to be mostly true.

Federal science funding

Hurdles to an omnibus for 2015 (ASBMB Policy Blotter) The likelihood of passing an omnibus appropriations bill depends on the upcoming election and whether Republicans gain the majority in the U.S. Senate.

The forgotten victims of a Capitol Hill budget fight (Think Progress) Although sequestration was temporarily lifted for fiscal 2014 and 2015, unless Congress acts, it will reappear in FY2016 despite the heavy toll it already took on several federal programs.

Biomedical funding after the 2014 election (ScienceNOW) This multi-part series from Science examines the issues in biomedical research funding that Congress will need to address after the election.

How across-the-board budget cuts weaken U.S. Health (Billings Gazette, opinion) The Ebola outbreak will hopefully wake voters up to the realities of the current research funding situation.

We are making poor choice on research funding (Forbes) Projects directly related to U.S. health should be prioritized over “trivial or poorly-conceived projects.”

Wastebucket 2014

What’s in a name? Apparently everything for Oklahoma Senator Coburn (ASBMB Policy Blotter) Analysis of the recently released Wastebook from U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., reveals an emphasis on catchy headlines instead of scientific merit.

Shrinking the role of government is hurting science (ASBMB Policy Blotter) ASBMB Director of Public Affairs Ben Corb examines the role of government in funding science.

Coburn’s Wastebook targets rabbit massages and growing grass (The Hill) U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn releases his last Wastebook, a list of government spending he deems wasteful.

Research moratorium

A number of articles describe the differing reactions to a recent research moratorium on influenza, MERS and SARS issued by the White House. Nature, NPR and ScienceNOW covered the topic.

Miscellaneous

STEM education after the 2014 election (ScienceNOW) This multi-part series continues with issues in STEM education that Congress will need to address after the election.

NIH awards $31 million to enhance diversity in the biomedical research workforce (news release) The NIH awarded approximately $31 million to numerous institutions seeking to increase the diversity in the biomedical research workforce.

U.S. midterm elections offer little hope for science (Scientific American) The outlook for scientists is unlikely to change even if Republicans gain the majority in the U.S. Senate, as President Obama can exercise his veto power.

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