As the end of 2020 nears, SWE has seen significant wins in Washington, DC, on its legislative priorities. In mid-March, SWE was one of the last groups to have an in-person Capitol Hill Day. And even though SWE’s leadership and government relations team didn’t meet with its allies in person as the year progressed, due to the pandemic, there were virtual meetings that led to the introduction of the STEM RESTART Act–a bill that emulates the work of SWE’s STEM Reentry Task Force. The bill will be introduced again next year, and SWE will be advocating for its passage.
There’s no question that the 116th Congress (the current congress and senators who are about to close out their terms) hasn’t been particularly productive. The partisanship that has roiled Capitol Hill hasn’t been helpful to debating and developing large, complex issues. The infrastructure package that was a priority for House and Senate leadership and the White House never went anywhere. Retiring Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), a friend to SWE, had hoped that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that he leads would approve legislation to rewrite the Higher Education Act. He will be leaving the Senate without that accomplishment. Despite these disappointments, there will be some increases in spending on programs important to SWE in the spending bill that Congress will approve before leaving for the holidays. That’s great news. And SWE’s advocacy for those programs helped make that happen.
Even though it’s been the strangest of years, the consistent advocacy of SWE and its members has produced strong relationships on Capitol Hill and in federal agencies. A Biden-Harris Administration will bring the organization a chance to forge new relationships. The team’s priorities are important to the country, and to SWE, its members and corporate partners, and SWE has already started talking to the transition team about the importance of policies that support women in STEM.
The Biden Administration will have women leading agencies. And, the first female Vice President. While it’s unlikely that SWE will be able to have an in-person Capitol Hill Day in March, the organization will continue to ask for policies and investments that support females in STEM. That will start in January, when President Biden is inaugurated and when the 117th Congress begins.
SWE will be announcing its plans for its advocacy days in March (however these take place) in late January to all members. Get Text Alerts: Stay informed about SWE Public Policy and be the first to hear about our plans for advocacy in March, through text alerts. Text SWE Public Policy to 56512 to sign-up.