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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.


8 Aug 2017

At a recent hearing, House Science Committee members stressed the increasing importance of computing competency in the U.S. workforce and discussed ways to increase students’ access to programs that provide these and other STEM skills at all levels of education.

7 Aug 2017

The House spending bill for the Department of Energy proposes to halve the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, changes that would upend the department’s later-stage R&D activities. Both House and Senate spending bills also propose a range of less drastic funding cuts to DOE’s other applied energy offices.

2 Aug 2017

Paul Dabbar and Mark Menezes, President Trump’s nominees for the two open under secretary positions in the Department of Energy, are awaiting confirmation. DOE is currently considering reconfiguring the positions’ responsibilities, with potential implications for how the department coordinates its R&D portfolio.

31 Jul 2017

The Senate Appropriations Committee has advanced a bill that would cut the topline budgets of NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, by 1 to 2 percent each.

27 Jul 2017

The House appropriations bill for the Department of Energy would maintain funding for the Office of Science at current levels, while the Senate bill would increase it by 3 percent to $5.55 billion. Advanced computing stands out as a clear winner in both bills and the longstanding rift between the chambers on funding for the ITER fusion facility persists.

26 Jul 2017

At a hearing last week dedicated to energy technology innovation, members of the House Science Committee staked out differing positions on federal strategies for supporting R&D and technology commercialization.

24 Jul 2017

The Senate’s fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill for the Department of Energy would provide significant funding increases to the Office of Science, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy. It also rejects the Trump administration’s proposal to drastically cut DOE’s applied energy offices, but would still reduce funding for each.

21 Jul 2017

At a House Space Subcommittee hearing, witnesses and members emphasized the need to balance support for flagship missions, such as the Mars 2020 Rover and the Europa Clipper, with support for smaller programs, such as the new Discovery–class mission Psyche to study a metal asteroid.

12 Jul 2017

At a House Science Committee hearing, Republican members asked representatives from private industry how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration can better leverage new environmental data sources and technologies, while Democratic members warned about proposed funding cuts to environmental monitoring programs at NOAA and EPA.

3 Jul 2017

At a hearing last week, both Republican and Democratic members of the House Science Committee praised federally supported work in materials research. They also offered contrasting views on how the federal government should structure its support for R&D and technology commercialization.