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Congress

FYI covers House and Senate activity related to the physical sciences, including their oversight of the federal science agencies as well as the development and consideration of legislation that sets policy for science and funds the science agencies.

 

18 Jan 2018

At a recent House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, participants touched on a wide range of issues related to the Department of Energy, including R&D priorities and the management and structure of the national lab system. The committee framed the hearing as a prelude to potential DOE reform legislation.

8 Jan 2018

This week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is kicking off a series of hearings related to its ongoing efforts to reform the Department of Energy. The first hearing will focus on DOE’s primary mission areas and “opportunities to unleash the full potential of DOE’s scientific, engineering and technological capabilities.” The committee’s efforts will add to a growing set of changes, proposals, and discussions concerning how DOE structures, manages, and prioritizes its laboratory and other R&D activities.

22 Dec 2017

Congress concluded its 2017 session with a week of productive legislating that included final passage of the Republican tax reform bill and an extension of federal spending through Jan. 19. The House also passed three bipartisan STEM education bills and a disaster relief spending package that, if enacted, would provide a one-time funding boost to several science agencies.

20 Dec 2017

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt recently argued that the agency used a flawed process in 2009 when it determined that greenhouse gas emissions endanger the public. He also said he still hopes to scrutinize the underlying climate science through a “red team/blue team” review.

14 Dec 2017

A recent House Science Committee hearing on NASA’s in-development and future space telescopes probed the agency’s mission management practices and revealed substantial concerns that the James Webb Space Telescope may experience new schedule delays. NASA announced at the hearing it is planning an independent review of the mission’s pre-launch preparations.

7 Dec 2017

Barry Myers, the nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, went to great lengths at his confirmation hearing to assure senators he would respect and defend NOAA science as well as avoid any potential conflicts of interest arising from his connections to a weather company he co-founded.

30 Nov 2017

Following the 8 percent increase enacted for Defense Department S&T funding in fiscal year 2017, the Senate and House are respectively proposing 0.5 and 2 percent cuts for fiscal year 2018.

22 Nov 2017

A chorus of scientific societies and higher education associations has voiced deep concerns about provisions in the House’s tax reform bill that they argue could significantly increase the cost of graduate education. Higher education associations have also objected to several other provisions in the House bill and its Senate counterpart that they say could destabilize the finances of colleges and universities.

21 Nov 2017

Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual bill that sets policy for the Department of Defense and the National Nuclear Security Administration. The final version incorporated or adapted many of the R&D-related proposals from the original House and Senate versions of the bill.

17 Nov 2017

The House Science Committee has approved a package of bills that establish target funding profiles for eight Department of Energy research facility construction projects. The committee also approved four STEM education and research bills, one of which would require federal science agencies to annually report to the National Science Foundation information on the demographics of all R&D grant applicants.

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