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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.

 

29 Sep 2016

Today, the president signed a stopgap spending bill that extends current fiscal year funding for the federal government through Dec. 9. With Congress recessing at the end of this week to campaign for the general election, major science-related legislation will not see further movement earlier than mid-November.

23 Sep 2016

This week, the House Science Committee held a hearing to investigate the firing of a Department of Energy scientist following a briefing that she and two other DOE scientists gave to congressional staff on the department’s Low Dose Radiation Research Program. Republican committee members linked the incident to what they allege is a larger “pattern of intentional misinformation from Obama Administration officials.”

22 Sep 2016

At a Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the “future of nuclear power,” senators expressed a mixture of concern and hope about the future vitality of the U.S. nuclear industry and nuclear innovation enterprise.

19 Sep 2016

The bipartisan caucus will seek “strong and sustained” funding for the Earth and space sciences at a time when the House has targeted geosciences research for cuts.

16 Sep 2016

The chair of the House Science Committee convened a controversial hearing this week to establish the committee’s legal authority to issue subpoenas relating to state fraud investigations of ExxonMobil. At the hearing, Republican committee members and sympathetic legal scholars outlined a broad authority based on the committee’s right to gather information relevant to its jurisdiction over federal science and technology policy.

16 Sep 2016

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and NASA held an event this week to explain the rationale for the administration’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission. Congress has been skeptical about the mission's value, and this skepticism was further confirmed in a new Senate NASA reauthorization bill released yesterday.

12 Sep 2016

If the energy bill is to become law before the end of this Congress, the conference committee led by Sen. Lisa Murkowski will have to successfully hash out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, including on research and advanced nuclear reactor development at the Energy Department and critical minerals exploration at the Interior Department.

25 Aug 2016

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is poised to move from preliminary studies of licensing requirements for advanced nuclear reactors to the development of an actual licensing program. A number of bills currently making their way through Congress provide funding and authorization for such a program, but a final legislative framework has not yet emerged.

4 Aug 2016

Sen. Lamar Alexander has introduced a bill that, if enacted, would authorize a multibillion-dollar increase in energy research funding while eliminating the wind production tax credit. These provisions reflect the senator’s longstanding priorities in the development of new clean energy options.

2 Aug 2016

If history is any guide, Congress will almost certainly pass one or more stopgap spending measures before reaching a final agreement on funding for fiscal year 2017. The question now becomes whether the current Congress and outgoing president will finalize an agreement in the lame-duck session or instead hand off responsibility for the final negotiations to the 115th Congress and the incoming administration.

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