Among Senate authorizing committees, one of the most important to
the science community is the Subcommittee on Science, Technology,
and Space of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Committee. Authorizing committees can approve, but not provide
funds for, programs under their jurisdiction. Under Senator Jay
Rockefeller (D-WV) and, prior to that, under then-Senator Al Gore
(D-TN), the subcommittee considered numerous science and technology
issues, including research on global warming, the space program,
and the role of the federal government in funding basic research.
The subcommittee's new chairman is Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT), who
was elected to the Senate in 1988. Senator Larry Pressler (SD) is
the chairman of the full commerce committee.
|Conrad Burns (MT)||John Rockefeller (WV)|
|Larry Pressler (SD)||John Kerry (MA)|
|Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX)||Richard Bryan (NV)|
|Ted Stevens (AK)*||Byron Dorgan (ND)*|
|Trent Lott (MS)|
*New member of subcommittee
Burns is one of only three members of Montana's congressional
delegation. He hails from Billings, Montana's largest city, a
largely Republican area where the main industries are cattle and
wheat. As a member of the commerce committee, Burns has been
heavily involved in matters of telephone and cable regulation.
Burns is also a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on
VA/HUD/Independent Agencies, which provides funding for NSF and
In his 1993 voting record, Burns voted 92 percent of the time along
party lines, and with the President only 24 percent of the time.
He received a score of 85 percent from the Conservative Coalition
for his voting record. On major science-related votes, he
consistently supported the space station from 1991 through 1994.
Although he supported the SSC in 1992, he voted against it in 1993.
Today, Burns's subcommittee held a hearing on the science and
technology programs of the Department of Commerce. Testimony on
the Clinton Administration's strategies for assisting industry was
presented by Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, Undersecretary for
Technology Policy Mary Good, NIST Director Arati Prabhakar, and
Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere James Baker. Details of
this hearing will be reported in a future FYI.