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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 Jul 2016

State attorneys are using their subpoena power against ExxonMobil to investigate whether the company committed fraud by publicly contradicting its inside knowledge of risks that climate change poses to its business. Meanwhile, Rep. Lamar Smith is attempting to use his subpoena power as chairman of the House Science Committee to intervene in those investigations, claiming as legal justification a committee responsibility to defend scientific freedom. With a showdown looming in that battle, Senate Democrats are using the bully pulpit to condemn organizations that they allege conspire to undermine the mainstream scientific consensus on climate change.

25 Jul 2016

Committee members and witnesses reflected on the feasibility of consent-based approaches to siting nuclear waste facilities and on whether scientific safety reviews and expanded nuclear R&D in Nevada could prove instrumental in securing public support for Yucca Mountain serving as a nuclear waste repository.

19 Jul 2016

Last week the House passed two bills which would establish new basic energy research initiatives at the Department of Energy, as well as a bill which would update policies for certain NIST programs and direct a comprehensive National Academies review of NIST laboratories.

15 Jul 2016

Leaders in astronomy, astrophysics, and astrobiology received a warm welcome at a joint subcommittee hearing this week. The witnesses fielded a wide range of questions, including on how new projects are prioritized and funded, how the scientific workforce is being developed and diversified, and the search for extraterrestrial life.

13 Jul 2016

A House Science subcommittee hearing brought together leaders of the weather community to explore the preferred balance between the three sectors - government, academic, and private – that make up the U.S. weather enterprise.

11 Jul 2016

The House will soon vote on two bills that would create basic research initiatives at the Department of Energy focused on solar fuels and electricity storage, respectively. Although the House Science Committee cleared both with bipartisan support, committee members expressed divergent views at the markup on the proper role of the federal government in supporting energy R&D.

11 Jul 2016

House Environment Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Jim Bridenstine has convened another in a series of hearings on the nation’s weather satellite programs, building on his ongoing interest in the programs’ management and future.

30 Jun 2016

The House Science Committee convened thought leaders in space exploration last month for a hearing on the capabilities needed for NASA’s proposed human journey to Mars. Wide-ranging discussions touched on in-space propulsion, deep space habitation, and artificial gravity.

29 Jun 2016

Today, the Senate Commerce Committee approved the "American Innovation and Competitiveness Act" after amending it to authorize a four percent funding increase for NSF and NIST. However, a push to identify offsets for these increases may delay or derail passage of the bill by the Senate.

23 Jun 2016

The Senate’s bipartisan bill, released today, differs significantly from the House-passed America COMPETES bill, dropping the COMPETES name altogether and striking a different tone on scientific merit review.

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