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ASBMB’s policy analyst, André Porter, discusses how essential international collaborations and immigrants are if the United States wants to continue to lead the world in scientific and technological progress.
Former ASBMB President Suzanne Pfeffer stresses the importance of voting in the upcoming elections. As a biochemist, Dr. Pfeffer, and many others in the scientific community, believes this might be the most important presidential election of our generation. Because of this, many universities, including Pfeffer’s Stanford, have decided to encourage all staff, students and trainees to get out and vote by identifying ways to be more flexible when it comes to scheduling work and teaching hours on Nov. 8.
Regardless of the outcomes of the upcoming elections, when Congress returns to session in mid-November, it will need to focus on passing a FY17 federal budget or face a government shutdown when the continuing resolution no in place ends Dec. 8. At the moment, many government-funded programs and institutions remain in the dark on the future of their budgets, which significantly risks the health and well-being of Americans.
An uncertain prognosis (The Hill)
While the 2016 presidential election has dominated much of the political commentary in the previous months, key congressional races actually might prove to be more important in shaping the future of U.S. science and science policy. Majority power in the House and Senate is vital to a president’s legislative agenda, determining whether the president’s policies will become bills or be rejected.
The 21st Century Cures Act, passed in the House in July 2015, has turned into a complicated piece of legislation with 19 different pieces of companion legislation being attached in the Senate. While disagreements over funding has caused this bill to stall in the Senate, many lawmakers are aiming at the lame-duck sessions after the Nov. 8 elections for a potential target to finally approve the legislation. Many policy makers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., have said that passing this act would potentially be the “most significant piece of legislation we would pass in the whole Congress.”