The Congressional agenda for 2014 includes science issues with far-reaching implications for an array of issues including public health, job growth, pharmaceutical research and energy, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society. The mid-term elections occurring this fall, however, promise to complicate progress on key legislative efforts, already stymied by a bitter partisan atmosphere.
Among the topics that the article addresses is the modernization of the Toxic Substances Control Act, a law that governs commercial chemicals. In a rare bipartisan effort, policymakers from both sides of the aisle are helping refine legislation, which was introduced last year. As it gains bipartisan momentum, private sector interests are adding friction and could affect the strength of specific provisions. Other article highlights include forecasts for energy bills to address power plant emissions and nuclear waste disposal; science policy that could encourage research and development - or make it more difficult; and consumer protection laws affecting dietary supplements and antibiotics.
In addition to bills with the most obvious ties to chemical research and businesses, the article notes that industry experts also must keep a keen eye on intertwined agricultural and international issues as well. For example, the farm bill could include provisions that affect pesticide use, and trade agreements have the potential to boost domestic job growth in the chemical industries.