Association of American Geographers
About AAG Membership Annual Meeting Projects & Programs Education Publications Calendar Of Events Jobs & Careers


Washington Monitor

Between 2004 and 2012, the AAG’s Senior Program Manager for Government Relations, John Wertman, kept the Association up to date about political news and policy developments relating to geography and geography education. Download PDFs of the “Washington Monitor” column from the AAG Newsletter.


December 2012: Election 2012—Implications for Geography; Key Appointments; ESEA Reauthorization Likely in 2013—AAG Resolution Gains Additional Endorsements

November 2012: New York Retains High School Geography Exam; UCAR and Others Call for U.S. Weather Commission; Union of Concerned Scientists Endorses AAG Resolution

October 2012: Environmental Groups Endorse AAG Education Resolution; Obama Signs Presidential Appointments Bill into Law; 2012 Election Predictions

September 2012: RESTORE Act Includes Research Funding for Gulf States; Support Grows for AAG Education Resolution; Congressional Spending Deal Reached

July-August 2012AAG Joins Response to Limits on Government Conference Travel; Endorsements Continue for AAG Geography Education Resolution; Cornell Geographer Discusses Fracking on Capitol Hill

June 2012AAG Urges New York Regents to Keep Geography Exam; Major Corporations Endorse AAG Education Resolution; AAG Member Jennings Testifies at House Hearing on Legislation Restricting GIS Procurements

May 2012House Bill Would Create Federal GIS Administration and Restrict Procurements; Census Bureau Reviewing American Community Survey

April 2012Google Endorses AAG Resolution; Congressional Staffers Attend New York AAG; U.S. Supreme Court Issues Key Ruling on GPS Surveillance

March 2012Cuomo Aide, Congressional Staffers to Highlight Education Policy Session; AAG Resolution Garners Additional Support; College Affordability: Major Administration Goal in 2012

February 2012Annual Meeting Panel on K-12 Geography; Endorsements of AAG K-12 Resolution; House Bill Would Harm Federal Grantmaking Process

January 2012: Supercommittee Failure—Now What?; OSTP Receives Severe Budget Cut; EDF Endorses AAG Resolution


December 2011: Bryson Confirmed as Commerce Secretary; NSF Releases SBE 2020 Report; Wirth, Prewitt Endorse AAG Resolution

November 2011Senate Committee Approves “No Child” Reauthorization; Casey Amendment Positive for K-12 Geography

October 2011: Endorsements Continue for AAG Resolution; Ron Paul Calls for Elimination of FEMA

September 2011As Debt Limit Debate Dominates Washington, AAG Fights Cuts to SBE; House Continues Work on ESEA—Richardson, O’Malley, and Herbert Endorse AAG Resolution

July-August 2011Proposed Bill Would Impact Census Director, NSF Board; House Passes First ESEA Bill as Duncan Urges Action; Obama Announces Commerce Nominee

June 2011: Governor Chafee Becomes Latest High-Profile Supporter of GeoEd Resolution; First ESEA Reauthorization Bill Introduced in House; Census Budget Defunds Statistical Compendia Branch

May 2011AAG Receives Key Endorsements for K-12 Geography Education Resolution; Congressman Endorses GeoEd Resolution in House; AAG Monitoring Key Impacts of Congressional Budget Deal; Seattle Policy Session on Geography Education

April 2011AAG Panel on Elementary and Secondary Education Act; Administration Budget Proposal Favorable for Science; Commerce Secretary Locke Tapped as Next Ambassador to China

March 2011: AAG Monitors Congressional Activity as President Obama Signals Possible Action on ESEA

February 2011Opening of 112th Congress Marred by Arizona Shooting; GOP Budget Proposals Could Harm Geography Research; New House Education Chair Yet to Schedule K-12 Hearings

January 2011National Association of State Boards of Education Endorses AAG Resolution; NSF Budget Targeted in 2011; Legislative Action on Climate Change Likely Forestalled


December 2010Election 2010—The Implications for Geography

November 2010NAS Report on NOAA Education Programs; 2010 Elections to Affect Redistricting

October 2010President Obama’s National Space Policy; Geography Ignored in Obama Education Report

September 2010Senate Committee Continues ESEA Hearings; Census Leaders Lauded for Proficiency; New OBSSR Director

July/August 2010: Nation’s Governors to Focus on Higher Education; Census 2010: An Update

May 2010Congressmen Walz, Van Hollen Attend AAG Meeting; AAG Invites Comments on Draft Blueprint; NSF Reauthorization Remains in Flux

April 2010With Healthcare Reform Enacted, Administration Turns to NCLB; USGS Requests Small Budget Increase; AAG Annual Meeting

March 2010: Duncan Offers Governors Flexibility on NCLB; Groves Updates House on Census

February 2010Loss in Massachusetts Throws National Agenda into Turmoil; Implications for Geography; Reminder: Consider Visiting the Hill during Annual Meeting!

January 2010NSF Funding Remains Strong; Visit Capitol Hill during the AAG Annual Meeting


December 2009: Coburn Amendment Defeated; Repercussions for NSF Research?; AmericaView Update

November 2009Duncan Adamant about 2010 NCLB Reauthorization; Politocal Geography of Health Care Reform

October 2009With Kennedy’s Passing, Harkin Takes Reins of HELP Committee; Bill Would Create USGS AmericaView Program; New NEH Chairman Jim Leach

September 2009Miller Delays NCLB Bill—September Push Promised; America COMPETES Act Makes Social Science a Priority

July/August 2009Higher Ed Commission Issues Highly Critical Draft Report; Kempthone Confirmed as DOI Secretary—USGS Nomination Still Pending

May 2009Michigan Sociologist to Lead Census Bureau; DOL Stimulus Funds to Spotlight Geospatial Technologies

April 2009Obama Signs FY 2009 Omnibus—Earmark Rules Will Apply Going Forward; Obama Cabinet Settles in—Duncan Stakes out Key Priorities

March 2009: House Passes Higher Education Act; President Bush Releases Federal Budget; Condemns Earmarks

February 2009Obama: Science & Technology “Critical to Meeting 21st Century Challenges”; Federal Stimulus Beneficiaries Could Include University Infrastructure Projects

January 2009: AAG Hill Visits Promote Geogra- phy Education; Interior, Labor, and EPA Updates


Decemeber 2008New President May Have Significant Ability to Shape Census Policy; HEA Reauthorization Completed

November 2008CR Signed Into Law—FY 2008 Funding Levels Frozen Until March 6, 2009; House Bill Authorizes Energy Studies by High-Ranking Geographer

October 2008: Appropriations Update: Continuing Resolution Likely; The Geography of Election 2008

September 2008: New President May Have Significant Ability to Shape Census Policy; HEA Reauthorization Completed

June 2008Bush Administration Pushes for ESEA Regulatory Changes

May 2008Annual Meeting Session Highlights AAG Policy Outreach; Gates Proposes Expanded DOD Support of Social Science Research

April 2008Pell Grants, NCLB Positioned Well in Budget Debate; Emergency Supplemental Bill for ACI?

March 2008House Passes Higher Education Act; President Bush Releases Federal Budget; Condemns Earmarks

February 2008Policy Session Planned for Annual Meeting; Limited Window Remains for NCLB Action

January 2008Appropriations Battle Continues—Potential Solution Tied to Iraq Funding; NCLB Likely Stranded Until 2009


December 2007Kennedy Announcement Could Delay NCLB Reauthorization Until 2009; Census 2010 Facing Critical Budget Shortfalls

November 2007No Child Debate Slowed by SCHIP—AAG Urges Walz to Support Geography

October 2007Miller and McKeon Release Draft of NCLB Bill; Nussle OMB Confirmation Sets Stage for Fall Budget Battle

September 2007Miller Delays NCLB Bill—September Push Promised; America COMPETES Act Makes Social Science a Priority

July-August 2007The Ongoing NCLB Reauthori- zation Process; Other Key Geography Education Initiatives; Geographer Serving as Key House Staffer

June 2007Senate Hearing Focuses on Scope of No Child Left Behind; Geography Research Faces Reductions at USGS; Virginia Brings Interactive GPS to State Parks

May 2007Congress Debates Global Warming; Supreme Court Rules on EPA

April 2007NSF Releases “Science of Science” Policy Solicitation; Geography Education Bills Reintroduced in Congress; Bill Amending Presidential Records Act Moves to House Floor

March 2007With No Child reauthorization looming, AAG, GENIP Reach out to Capitol Hill; Continuing Resolution Offers Good News for Science

February 2007Amidst Great Fanfare, Demo- crats Take Control; AAG Urges Additional Funding for Research Agencies; New USGS Policy on Peer Review of Science

January 2007“Do Nothing” Congress Adjourns With Key Bills Unfinished; Clouded Supreme Court Wetlands Decision Necessitates Geographic Research


December 2006Democrats Gain Control of Both House and Senate; Geography Teacher Wins House Seat; Top Census Officials Resign; Confirmation Battle Could Ensue

November 2006Higher Ed Commission Releases Final Report; Several Sponsors Back Geography Ed Bills; Action Could Come in 2007; Myers Confirmed as USGS Director; Bold Election Prediction

October 2006AAG Urges Congress to Support NDGPS; Colorado Teacher Suspended for Displaying Flags; Academic Freedom Attacked in Iran

September 2006Census Budget Threatened; AAG Supports Full Funding; Companion Geography Education Bill Introduced in House

July-August 2006Higher Ed Commission Issues Highly Critical Draft Report; Kempthone Confirmed as DOI Secretary; USGS Nomination Still Pending

June 2006Hutchison Attacks on Social Sciences at NSF Defeated—Geography Spared Harshest Criticism; Jones Named Senior Scientist for Geography at USGS; Bush to Nominate Former Alaskan Oil Official as USGS Director; Commission Studying ESEA; Possible Opportunity for Geography

May 2006Kempthorne Appointed to Take Over at Interior; House Passes Higher Education Act Renewal; Clarification from March 2006 Washington Monitor Column

April 2006AAG Urges Increases for Geography and Related Fields at NSF

March 2006Bush Focuses on Science in State of the Union; NIH Opens Office Aimed at Strategic Investments; Administration Proposes Cut for USGS in FY 2007

February 2006Court Ruling Undercuts Intelligent Design; Alexander Criticizes Political “One-Sidedness”; Final Appropriation Bills Passed: Student Aid and NIH Fare Poorly

January 2006Geographer Provides Congressional Testimony on Katrina Disaster; AAG Joins New Congressional Hazards Caucus; HEA Attached to Reconciliation Bill—Geo-Ed Bill Currently Stalled; Torrieri Promoted at Census


December 2005: Lightfoot Discusses NSF Research Directions; Census, NSF Receive Budget Increases

November 2005BLS Terminates Collection of Labor Data on Women Workers; AAG Responds; Commission on the Future of Higher Education

October 2005Senate Finally Takes Up Higher Ed Act

September 2005Geography Education Bill Introduced in Senate; Climate Change Inquiry Provokes Scientific Community Response

July-August 2005AAG Sponsors Two Congressional Briefings; AAG Briefing on The State of Democracy; AAG Briefing on Geographic Management Systems

June 2005Senate Bill Could Undermine the National Weather Service; House Version of Higher Ed Act Includes Questionable “Academic Bill of Rights”; Nominations Announced to Key Interior Posts

May 2005Wirth Addresses Energy Policy in Annual Meeting Keynote; Panel Session Focuses on “Geography and the Congress”; Higher Ed Act Still Stuck—Action Unlikely Soon; Thanks from the Meridian

April 2005: Annual Meeting Calendar of Public Policy-Related Sessions

March 2005Lightfoot to Head NSF’s SBE Directorate; Geography and the Congress Panel at AAG Meeting; First Major Hearing on Tsunamis held by Senate; Fiscal Year 2006 Federal Budget Released

February 2005Treasury Department Revises Collaborative Work Guidelines; Lewis Tapped to Head House Appropriations; Hearings Announced on Tsunami-Warning Network; Spellings Approved as New Secretary of Education

January 2005Omnibus Appropriations Bill Passed; Bement Confirmed as NSF Director


December 2004: 2004 Election Impact on NSF, USGS and ROI of Basic Research

November 2004President Bush Nominates Arden Bement, Jr., to Serve as National Science Foundation Director; AAG Urges Congress to Reconsider Satellite Imagery FOIA Exemption; Provision Altered; American Community Survey Funding in Jeopardy; Program Faces Elimination; Putnam Resigns Subcommittee Chairmanship

October 2004Presidential Election Hinges on Geography; Congressman May Push for Federal GIS Coordinator at OMB

AAG News online

Visit the AAG News site any time for the latest stories and announcements

Newsletter current issue

Read the most recent AAG Newsletter

Newsletter past issues

Back issues of the AAG Newsletter from 2003 to 2012 are available as PDFs; all issues from 2013 to present are available online