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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.

 

30 Jun 2017

The House’s draft Commerce, Justice, and Science spending bill resembles last year’s version, rejecting or softening many of the cuts proposed in President Trump’s budget request for fiscal year 2018.

29 Jun 2017

At a hearing on the National Institutes of Health budget request, senators firmly rejected President Trump’s proposal to slash biomedical research funding and pressed NIH Director Francis Collins on the proposed 10 percent cap on facilities and administration cost reimbursements.

28 Jun 2017

House appropriators have released a draft bill that proposes flat funding for the Department of Energy Office of Science, a major cut to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and the defunding of ARPA–E. However, key senators are signaling their resistance to cuts at DOE, portending a possible standoff between the chambers.

26 Jun 2017

Experiential, work-based career and technical education programs are receiving attention from policymakers and leaders in the scientific community as an emerging vehicle for STEM education, including through the Perkins reauthorization bill, a new National Science Board initiative on the skilled technical workforce, and ongoing programs at federal science agencies.

22 Jun 2017

This week, the leading Democrats on the House Science Committee convened a roundtable forum of experts to explore the science and policy of climate change. Participants spotlighted pressing scientific problems and the economic benefits of participation in the Paris Climate Agreement, including those presented by the transition to low-carbon technology.

15 Jun 2017

In back-to-back House hearings, NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot firmly defended his agency’s fiscal year 2018 budget request, including proposals to eliminate support for five Earth Science missions and the Office of Education.

12 Jun 2017

Last week, the House Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee welcomed National Science Foundation Director France Córdova to testify on the fiscal year 2018 budget request. Members showed strong support across-the-board for the foundation while asking tough questions about the budget’s proposed 11 percent cut for the agency. Committee members also asked about specific programs and facilities.

6 Jun 2017

In late May, the House Science Committee held a hearing to explore federal policies for funding the costs of research overhead, focusing on the National Science Foundation. The subject has come to the fore in the wake of the Trump administration’s proposal to cap overhead reimbursement on National Institutes of Health grants.

19 May 2017

Earlier this month, two Senate subcommittee hearings addressed R&D and innovation at the Defense Department. Witnesses praised DOD’s existing innovation policies and department laboratories’ special administrative authorities. But they pressed for better access to military construction funds and described the administrative barriers that prevent lab leaders from fully using their authorities.

5 May 2017

The final appropriations agreement for fiscal year 2017 provides a 3.1 percent increase for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Planetary Science will receive a 12 percent increase and is instructed to proceed with a Europa lander mission. Heliophysics will receive a smaller increase while Earth Science funding will remain unchanged. As work on the James Webb Space Telescope ramps down, total funds allocated to Astrophysics activities will decrease.

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