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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.

 

11 Oct 2017

At a hearing last week, members of the House Science Committee heard testimony about the status of domestic plutonium-238 supplies, an essential fuel for many robotic science missions. A Government Accountability Office report released at the same time recommends that the Department of Energy improve its long-term planning for producing Pu-238 and associated power systems.

4 Oct 2017

Last week, five representatives from the scientific community testified at a House Science Committee hearing on the August total eclipse, discussing eclipse-enabled research opportunities, future capabilities in heliophysics, and solar weather research and preparedness. They also spoke about the expansive public engagement efforts associated with the event.

28 Sep 2017

The nominees for National Institute of Standards and Technology director and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration deputy director received bipartisan praise and encountered no opposition during their Sept. 27 confirmation hearing. The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee plans an Oct. 4 vote to advance them to the full Senate for consideration.

22 Sep 2017

The Senate passed its version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act on Sept. 18, sending the bill to conference committee. House and Senate conferees now must come to an agreement on a vast library of provisions, including many concerning R&D policy.

15 Sep 2017

At a Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing this week on the Department of Energy’s national labs, committee members praised the labs’ technology development and commercialization activities. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) also announced his introduction of a bipartisan bill authorizing a DOE initiative for funding technology maturation projects.

11 Sep 2017

After President Trump backed a Democratic proposal for a three-month extension of federal agency spending and the debt ceiling, Republican leaders quickly acceded. The law includes a key provision prohibiting the National Institutes of Health from altering research overhead reimbursements.

7 Sep 2017

President Trump has nominated Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to be NASA administrator. The former Navy aviator and three-term congressman has recently promoted an ambitious vision for space policy reform that would shift NASA’s focus away from scientific research in favor of human space exploration and the development of space-based infrastructure.

21 Aug 2017

The Senate spending bill’s 2 percent cut to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is modest in comparison to the double-digit cuts proposed in the House bill and the Trump administration’s budget request.

16 Aug 2017

At a recent Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing convened to highlight innovative technologies to increase water infrastructure resiliency, the three members present also emphasized the importance of forecasting investments to the nation's water security.

9 Aug 2017

The House and Senate appropriations bills for the National Institute of Standards and Technology would fund the agency’s laboratory programs at near the current level, but NIST’s standards coordination and manufacturing programs are potentially slated for deep funding cuts.

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