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Interesting Federal News


This week has brought some interesting new developments at the federal level, including possible good news for DOD lab employees and some proposed legislation.

On Aug. 6, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that civilian employees at the Department of Defense would have their number of required furlough days reduced. In a statement, Hagel said, "Thanks to the DOD’s efforts to identify savings and help from Congress, we will reduce the total numbers of furlough days for DOD civilian employees from 11 to six....Hoping to be able to reduce furloughs, we submitted a large reprogramming proposal to Congress in May, asking them to let us move funds from acquisition accounts into day-to-day operating accounts. Congress approved most of this request in late July, and we are working with them to meet remaining needs."

While the furlough remains, we hope this is still welcome news to all our members at DOD labs!

In addition, members of Congress have introduced legislation in both houses related to technology transfer and public-private partnerships.

First, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act, which proposes to build a national Network for Manufacturing Innovation. This network of centers would be funded through NIST and modeled after the highly regarded pilot National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), which we’ve discussed here before. The bill was also introduced in the House by Reps. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.). At the White House blog, Gene Sperling and Jason Miller wrote, "These institutes bring together companies and universities, supported by Federal agencies, to co-invest in world-leading manufacturing technologies and workforce capabilities, giving our workers and firms the tools they need to compete.... America’s manufacturing sector is critical to an innovation economy that supports a strong and growing middle class. After a decade of decline, the manufacturing sector has added 515,000 jobs since the beginning of 2010."

Second, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) proposed the TRANSFER Act. This bill would award grants ($50,000 on average) to support research centers, universities, and federal laboratories with innovative technology transfer programs.

Read the text of the TRANSFER Act (H.R. 2981) here. The Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (S. 1468 or H.R. 2996) has been introduced too recently for the text to be available online, but should be available soon. In the meantime, you can read releases about the bill from Rep. Kennedy, Rep. Reed, Sen. Blunt, and Sen. Brown.


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