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APS members worked tirelessly for this year’s achievements.
By Tawanda W. Johnson | December 8, 2022
Dedicated volunteers helped APS accomplish its 2022 science policy goals, which included supporting legislation to strengthen U.S. science and technology innovation, combat climate change, and ease immigration for international scientists. Volunteers made more than 4,700 connections with Congress, including phone calls and emails.
“We’re proud of APS members’ hard work,” said Mark Elsesser, director of government affairs for APS.
APS’s 2022 science policy successes are highlighted below.
The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, signed into law on Aug. 9, is the most important bill for science and innovation in more than a decade. APS and its members were strong advocates for the bill. The legislation significantly increased authorized funding to federal science agencies and included provisions that APS has pushed for years to advance: creating a stronger and more diverse workforce, combating sexual and gender harassment in STEM, and addressing the helium crisis through increased recycling efforts.
APS was a leading voice in helping to end the China Initiative, a program intended to crack down on the illicit acquisition of U.S.-based knowledge or technical expertise, but which instead sowed fear among some Society members and curtailed legitimate scientific collaborations. APS held community events to highlight the policy’s negative impacts and launched a grassroots campaign to raise awareness with Congress. APS leadership also met with FBI staff and Justice Department officials to push for changes. The Justice Department ended the initiative in February.
Nearly 70 APS members who attended the APS Annual Leadership Meeting advocated for APS’s science policy priorities during the 2022 Congressional Visits Day. They met with congressional offices to discuss policy priorities, including funding key federal science agencies; supporting the Keep STEM Talent Act; supporting appropriations matching the authorization levels for the National Science Foundation’s Robert E. Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, and championing legislation to improve the program’s recruitment and retention of qualified K-12 STEM teachers; developing a national strategy for measuring methane emissions and a national database for those observations; and requiring a realistic testing and assessment program for U.S. Missile Defense systems.
APS and Optica produced a report that provided a technical assessment and policy recommendations to reduce methane emissions. The report informed the Methane Emissions Mitigation Research and Development Act, a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would establish an Energy Department program to detect, quantify, and mitigate methane emissions. APS and Optica also facilitated briefings on the report to federal agencies and congressional offices.
APS members advocated for federal efforts to keep the U.S. a destination of choice for international STEM talent. Two provisions in the COMPETES Act of 2022, which passed the House of Representatives, would help the U.S. reach this goal. One allowed F-1 visa applicants to express dual intent, indicating their interest to remain in the U.S. after completing their studies. The other created a pathway to permanent residency for individuals who earn advanced STEM degrees from U.S. institutions.
Tawanda W. Johnson is the Senior Public Relations Manager at APS.
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Editor: Taryn MacKinney