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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.

 

17 Aug 2018

The latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act contains numerous provisions that aim to enhance innovation in defense technologies and combat foreign efforts to exploit U.S. R&D. It postpones a proposal to reform the relationship between the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Department of Energy.

9 Aug 2018

The midterm review of the National Academies planetary science decadal survey finds NASA has made strong progress in implementing the survey’s recommendations, including flagship missions to Mars and Europa. However, it warns Congress’ push for missions relevant to the search for extraterrestrial life beyond missions already recommended risks undermining the survey process.

3 Aug 2018

At a July hearing, the House Science Committee discussed promising applications of machine learning techniques to scientific research and the Department of Energy’s role in supporting advanced computing infrastructure.

2 Aug 2018

The House Science Committee held a two-day hearing last week to investigate the recent delays that will cause NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to breach its statutory cap on development costs. The hearing explored ways of increasing contractor accountability and the implications JWST’s troubles will have for NASA’s other science missions.

19 Jul 2018

The House and Senate have both advanced proposals to increase funding for R&D activities in the Department of Defense, placing a strong emphasis on technology development and prototyping. The Senate is proposing an especially large increase, including a half-billion-dollar or 19 percent increase for basic research.

5 Jul 2018

Last week, the House Science Committee advanced bipartisan legislation that would launch a 10-year National Quantum Initiative to increase coordination and funding of quantum R&D supported by the Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and National Institute of Standards and Technology. Meanwhile, in the Senate, leaders of the Commerce Committee have introduced a companion bill, and the Armed Services Committee is seeking to establish a separate quantum R&D program for the defense agencies.

3 Jul 2018

As the conference committee for this year’s iteration of the National Defense Authorization Act begins its work, conferees will navigate numerous proposals for changes in defense R&D and innovation policy.

28 Jun 2018

President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Energy’s Office of Science received bipartisan praise at a Senate confirmation hearing on June 26, while Democratic senators expressed concerns about his nominee to lead the department’s renewable energy R&D office.

27 Jun 2018

At a recent hearing, the House Science Committee explored NASA’s methods for estimating mission costs and managing projects to minimize budget and schedule overruns. The hearing follows a recent Government Accountability Office report that found the agency’s project management performance has slipped.

20 Jun 2018

House and Senate appropriators are proposing 7 percent and 3 percent funding increases, respectively, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in fiscal year 2019. Within SMD, the House proposal would increase funding for Planetary Science by 24 percent, while the Senate proposal would increase funding for Astrophysics by 12 percent.

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