Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

14 Feb 2019

The House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over science agencies have now finished filling out their leadership positions. These “authorization” committees conduct oversight of federal R&D programs and are gatekeepers for science policy legislation. Funding is handled through separate appropriations committees, which have also finished organizing for the current Congress.

18 Sep 2018

Congress sent two bills to the president last week that provide policy direction to the Department of Energy Office of Science and Office of Nuclear Energy, respectively. The House also passed legislation to establish a National Quantum Initiative, which now awaits action in the Senate.

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.

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.

15 Sep 2017

At a Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing this week on the Department of Energy’s national labs, committee members praised the labs’ technology development and commercialization activities. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) also announced his introduction of a bipartisan bill authorizing a DOE initiative for funding technology maturation projects.

16 Aug 2017

At a recent Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing convened to highlight innovative technologies to increase water infrastructure resiliency, the three members present also emphasized the importance of forecasting investments to the nation's water security.

2 Aug 2017

Paul Dabbar and Mark Menezes, President Trump’s nominees for the two open under secretary positions in the Department of Energy, are awaiting confirmation. DOE is currently considering reconfiguring the positions’ responsibilities, with potential implications for how the department coordinates its R&D portfolio.

28 Jun 2017

House appropriators have released a draft bill that proposes flat funding for the Department of Energy Office of Science, a major cut to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and the defunding of ARPA–E. However, key senators are signaling their resistance to cuts at DOE, portending a possible standoff between the chambers.

6 Apr 2017

Congress is currently advancing four bills that would support the commercialization of new nuclear reactor designs by enhancing R&D at the Department of Energy and instituting a new licensing framework at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

27 Jan 2017

The Senate is expected to confirm Rick Perry as secretary of energy following a relatively uncontentious hearing on Jan. 19, at which the former Texas governor vowed to be a champion for all Department of Energy activities. However, Perry’s support has been partially overshadowed by a report that the Trump administration plans to target DOE for deep budget cuts and program eliminations.

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