Yesterday the White House threatened to veto the House defense appropriations bill and the Senate CJS appropriations bill that funds four federal science agencies. The chambers are actively considering both bills on their respective floors this week, but White House opposition and partisan controversies connected to the bills threaten to derail them.
Last month the U.S. signed an ambitious but non-binding global climate change agreement which Secretary of State John Kerry and other international leaders negotiated under the auspices of the U.N. in Paris last December. The deal leans on the “best available science” as a guidepost for nations’ future greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
In his final State of the Union address, President Obama provided an upbeat vision for the nation’s future that prominently includes American scientific discovery and leadership, also a strong theme of Obama’s past addresses.
Former NASA mathematician and physicist Katherine Johnson, known for calculating historic space launch trajectories by hand and shattering gender and racial barriers in science, received the nation’s highest civilian award.
President Obama signed into law the final 2016 defense policy authorization bill after vetoing an earlier version. The law includes a number of provisions supporting scientific research and collaboration at the Departments of Defense and Energy, including an easing of conference travel restrictions on federal scientists and engineers.
NASA released a unifying vision to send humans to Mars by the 2030s. While the goal has support in Congress and from the White House, securing adequate sustained funding through the next two decades and managing the inherent risks involved in human travel to deep space remain considerable barriers to NASA’s goal.
The House passed legislation that would make it easier and faster for mining companies to get approval from the federal government to develop minerals on federal lands, although opponents are concerned that the bill would undermine key environmental protections
A number of top science officials in the federal government took a moment today to recognize the milestone of fifteen years of continuous human presence in outer space aboard the International Space Station, as well as the scientific progress that presence is enabling