February 20, 2009

NIH Outlines How It Will Spend the Stimulus Funds 

On Wednesday, February 18, Acting NIH Director Raynard Kington, M.D., Ph.D. met with representatives of the biomedical research advocacy community to explain how NIH will use the $10.4 billion dollars appropriated for the agency in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Earlier in the week he had called FASEB President Richard Marchase to describe the basic plan.

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Obama Science Team: Holdren Addresses Senate Hearing, HHS Secretary Remains Unknown


It is now exactly one month since the inauguration, and many questions remain about what President Barack Obama’s science team will look like. The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services seat remains vacant following Senator Tom Daschle’s high-profile tax scandal and withdrawal on February 3rd. Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is the top choice to replace Daschle as the HHS nominee, according to the New York Times, though other names remain under consideration.


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Biosecurity Issues Developing Fast and Furiously

Thanks to a combination of a recent report released by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, the revelation that government scientist Bruce Ivins was the lead suspect in the 2001

anthrax attacks, and a number of high profile biosafety violations at high-containment labs, biosecurity issues have piqued the attention of a number of federal policymakers. The National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity (NSABB), which is charged with oversight of dual use research - life sciences research which can be misused for harmful purposes – released a report in December recommending both voluntary and mandatory biosecurity education for federally funded scientists.


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Inside (The Beltway) Scoop

After weeks of discussion and marathon negotiations (including the efforts of three Republican Senators to forge a bipartisan compromise) the democratically controlled Congress accomplished its previously stated goal of sending a massive economic stimulus bill to the White House prior to the President’s Day recess. President Obama signed the $789 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (HR 1) into law on Feb. 17th at a special ceremony in Denver, Colorado four days after it cleared the House of Representatives by a vote of 246-183 and the Senate on a 60-38 vote. The bill includes more than $15 billion for a variety of investments in science facilities, research programs and instrumentation, as well as $1 billion to repair and renovate Veterans Administration medical facilities.

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Institute of Medicine Releases Report on HIPAA Privacy Rule

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has released a new report titled "Beyond the HIPAA Privacy Rule: Enhancing Privacy, Improving Health through Research." The report concludes that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule impedes important health research and does not protect privacy as well as it should. The IOM committee recommended developing a new framework for ensuring privacy in all health research conducted in the United States regardless of the source of funding.

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FASEB Launches 111th Congress Information Center

Earlier this month FASEB launched a comprehensive resource for tracking members, legislation, and events of the 111th Congress. “We are pleased to announce a new resource to help scientists connect to their members of Congress,” said FASEB President Richard Marchase, Ph.D. The 111th Congress Information and Advocacy Center features profiles of each of the freshman members of Congress and provides a one-stop-shop for legislative information and advocacy resources, including science policy information, current funding levels for federal research and science programs, congressional hearing schedules, links to key congressional committees, and access to the FASEB Legislative Action Center.


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FASEB’s Washington Update is brought to you bi-monthly by the FASEB Office of Public Affairs. We welcome your questions and comments – please contact Jennifer Zeitzer at jzeitzer@faseb.org or 301-634-7650. For more information about how to get involved in research advocacy, visit: http://capwiz.com/faseb/home/



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