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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.

 

20 Apr 2018

By the narrowest margin in the history of the space agency, the Senate confirmed Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) as NASA administrator yesterday on a party-line vote of 50 to 49. The other chamber of Congress also made NASA news this week, with the House Science Committee advancing a NASA reauthorization bill after a contentious debate over funding recommendations for its Earth Science Division.

13 Apr 2018

At an April 11 hearing, House Science Committee leaders expressed deep concern about the scope of foreign espionage campaigns targeted at U.S. academic institutions and sought advice on how to implement countermeasures while maintaining an open research enterprise.

21 Mar 2018

At a House Science Committee hearing dedicated to the national laboratories, committee members probed the role the labs play in developing and commercializing technologies. Members also announced two bills directing DOE to conduct demonstration projects in nuclear energy and energy storage, respectively.

19 Mar 2018

The president’s budget request for fiscal year 2019 would cut the Department of Energy’s applied energy programs significantly, including a 67 percent cut to the $2 billion Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Other offices would receive lesser but still dramatic decreases in funding.

16 Mar 2018

A chorus of concern has emerged in Congress about China’s allegedly pervasive exploitation of the U.S.’s intellectual property and open research environment, with some lawmakers seeking to overhaul foreign investment and export control systems. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is preparing a package of unilateral retaliation measures that reportedly could include visa restrictions on Chinese students and academics.

14 Mar 2018

NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot testified before the House Science Committee that the agency is looking into alternate ways to obtain the astrophysics data the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope mission would have provided. However, he has since emphasized that the mission cancellation is only a proposal.

9 Mar 2018

A House Science Committee hearing this week showcased committee members’ ongoing support for fusion energy research and U.S. participation in the France-based ITER project currently under construction. The committee also discussed the consequences of proposed cuts to the budget for inertial confinement fusion research.

6 Mar 2018

At a recent House Science Committee hearing, members were united in calling for changes necessary to ensure institutions of research and higher education are free of sexual harassment. Witnesses on an all-woman panel called for changes within a culture they say remains permissive of harassment and other misconduct.

27 Feb 2018

The new head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, has deep experience in nuclear security affairs. At her confirmation hearing, she testified that her top priorities for NNSA are modernizing the agency’s infrastructure and reinforcing its high-skill workforce.

8 Feb 2018

A recent Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing highlighted the central role the U.S. Geological Survey plays in natural hazards monitoring. Experts also endorsed several pending bills that would expand early detection and mapping capabilities for earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslides.

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