D.C. weekly update in a nutshell: FIU is chosen by the White House to work with FEMA to help better prepare and inform citizens on climate change– and the university actively protects mandatory medical research funding at NIH.
FIU named by White House as host for FEMA pilot program
The White House’s Council on Environmental Quality named FIU as the host for its first Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) seminar on developing locally relevant exercises supporting community resilience to climate change. The seminar will focus on climate adaptation, preparedness and resilience.
The news of FIU’s selection follows months of active advocacy by the university targeting increased federal attention to South Florida and promoting FIU’s own strengths in climate change research and environmental resilience engagements. The university will be launching a center dedicated to this in the coming weeks.
South Florida serves as ground zero for climate change in the United States and FIU scientists have predicted sea levels to rise by 9 to 24 inches by 2060. The seminar is set to take place in mid-August. The White House issued a press release on actions to build resilience to climate change and more detail on FIU’s partnership with FEMA.
FIU is involved in many climate change, adaptation and resilience programs currently – including running the National Science Foundation’s Everglades LTER for 15 Years. A partnership with the Department of Interior (DOI) was created as the university helped with the department’s bi-annual report to Congress on Everglades restoration. FIU helped develop the metrics for analysis of Everglades restoration via the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. A partnership with NOAA is allowing for enhancements to Storm Surge Modeling technologies, which will be relevant to Sea Level Rise modeling.
Members of FIU’s governmental relations team were present at the end of the week for the White House Google Hangout on building climate resilience.
Cures bill passes without questionable amendment
FIU stood with 185 other organizations and institutions speaking out against the Brat Amendment in the 21st Century Cures Act. The amendment challenged the core principles of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which works to add funding to benefit academic researchers across the country, helping maintain the U.S. role as a global leader in biomedical innovation.
If passed, the Brat Amendment would have made new funding for the NIH and Cures Innovation Fund discretionary instead of mandatory. The NIH provides funding to many of the programs that students at FIU contribute to, including biomedical engineering, nueroprosthetics and other STEM related priorities.
FIU urged members of the South Florida Congressional delegation to look into the amendment and vote against it; with the help of these members, the Brat Amendment failed. All of the South Florida Congressional Delegation members voted no on the amendment, helping to defeat it by an overwhelming 2 to 1 margin.
The passing of the 21st Century Cures Act protects the National Institute of Health and its pursuit to advance preventive research, something the university is active in.
Panthers spotted in D.C.
College of Law Dean Alex Acosta and FIU Law Chief of Staff Anthony Rionda visited the nation’s capitol to attend a Hispanic National Bar Association event.
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