Here's a rundown of some of the stories we've been following on Science's policy blog, ScienceInsider:
Congress picked up the pace last week in meeting its obligation to pass annual spending bills. Senate appropriators approved a 5% boost in 2010 for both NASA and NOAA as part of a bill that's more generous than what the House of Representatives has adopted.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging cities and states to start planning a massive vaccination campaign against swine flu even though a vaccine isn't available yet. Citing modeling, CDC estimated last week that more than 1 million people in the United States are already infected.
A major education initiative proposed for the Department of Energy took a big hit as a House spending panel voted against funding a comprehensive, $115 million program touted by President Barack Obama. The goal is to train scientists and heighten interest in clean-energy research.
When French President Nicolas Sarkozy reshuffled his Cabinet, the new deck did not include geochemist Claude Allègre, a global warming skeptic and former science minister. Rumor had it that Allègre, 72, might head a new superministry of innovation and international trade.
Also in flux is the $3 billion California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Marie Csete, the operation's chief scientific officer, resigned without explanation after a little more than a year on the job. Board Chair Robert Klein recently announced that he plans to leave next year.
Four members of Congress have asked the U.S. National Academies for advice on keeping U.S. academic research strong. The letter asks for a thorough review of current federal policies affecting higher education, including an assessment of "the relationship, or lack of relationship," between universities and national laboratories.
A study last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences makes a case for the impact of federal funding of biomedical research. The analysis correlates declining U.S. death rates over the past half-century with funding for the National Institutes of Health. The authors argue that more money is needed so the longer-lived elderly can help meet demand for U.S. workers.
For more on these stories and the latest science policy news and analysis, visit ScienceInsider.