The chair of the House Science Committee convened a controversial hearing this week to establish the committee’s legal authority to issue subpoenas relating to state fraud investigations of ExxonMobil. At the hearing, Republican committee members and sympathetic legal scholars outlined a broad authority based on the committee’s right to gather information relevant to its jurisdiction over federal science and technology policy.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and NASA held an event this week to explain the rationale for the administration’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission. Congress has been skeptical about the mission's value, and this skepticism was further confirmed in a new Senate NASA reauthorization bill released yesterday.
AIP is seeking qualified scientists to apply for the 2017-2018 AIP State Department fellowship, which will provide a fellow the opportunity to serve for a year at the U.S. Department of State. Applications are due November 1.
In a new report, Neal Lane, former director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is calling on the next president to put a “laser focus” on science and technology early on in the next administration. The report makes five recommendations for the next president and five more for the president’s next science advisor on how S&T policy should be dealt with in the White House.
A congressionally mandated report released yesterday by the National Academies warns that severe shortages of molybdenum-99 and its radioactive decay product technetium-99m, an isotope used in medical imaging procedures, are possible after a key Canadian supplier ceases production in October 2016.
The National Academies has released a report on the senior reviews that NASA conducts to recommend extensions of its science missions beyond their planned end dates. The report praises NASA’s management of its extended-mission portfolio and offers recommendations for augmenting the review process.
If the energy bill is to become law before the end of this Congress, the conference committee led by Sen. Lisa Murkowski will have to successfully hash out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, including on research and advanced nuclear reactor development at the Energy Department and critical minerals exploration at the Interior Department.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee convened a hearing yesterday to discuss the Obama Administration’s pursuit of a United Nations Security Council resolution that would reaffirm the commitments of signatories to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
President Obama will host a White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh in October and guest-edit the November edition of WIRED magazine, both focusing on the president’s five “frontiers of innovation.”
This week, the National Science Foundation issued a progress update on facility management reforms that were spurred by deficiencies revealed through turmoil at the National Ecological Observatory Network.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is poised to move from preliminary studies of licensing requirements for advanced nuclear reactors to the development of an actual licensing program. A number of bills currently making their way through Congress provide funding and authorization for such a program, but a final legislative framework has not yet emerged.
At the August National Science Board meeting, the National Science Foundation presented an analysis of its extensive use of rotating scientific personnel and suggested that the foundation might seek new hiring authorities from Congress in order to reduce its reliance on rotators for executive-level positions.
The National Academies has released its midterm assessment of the 2010 decadal survey of astronomy and astrophysics. A key theme is that increasingly expensive top-priority projects are responsible for outstanding breakthroughs, but are also putting pressure on high-priority medium-scale projects.
At the August National Science Board meeting, leadership of the board and the National Science Foundation outlined plans for both organizations to become more proactive in their engagement with stakeholders and presented further details on the “big ideas” for future investment the foundation unveiled at the last board meeting.
In two recent rulings against the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, federal judges have expanded the reach of critics of the mainstream scientific consensus on climate change into government records.
A group of industry, higher education, and scientific organizations has reissued a statement calling for Congress to increase federal support of basic research, streamline research regulations, and reaffirm merit-based review, among other actions.
The Obama Administration has released two reports on the state of quantum computing and related R&D projects. Among other issues addressed, the reports call attention to the organizational difficulties the field is facing as it grows and as other countries ramp up counterpart efforts.
With all 12 appropriations bills now drafted, the outcome of funding for the federal science agencies in fiscal year 2017 is coming into focus, with appropriations on track in many cases to diverge from the president’s discretionary funding requests.
Sen. Lamar Alexander has introduced a bill that, if enacted, would authorize a multibillion-dollar increase in energy research funding while eliminating the wind production tax credit. These provisions reflect the senator’s longstanding priorities in the development of new clean energy options.
If history is any guide, Congress will almost certainly pass one or more stopgap spending measures before reaching a final agreement on funding for fiscal year 2017. The question now becomes whether the current Congress and outgoing president will finalize an agreement in the lame-duck session or instead hand off responsibility for the final negotiations to the 115th Congress and the incoming administration.
NSF’s education programs would see steady funding under current spending bills, while the Department of Education’s STEM programs are undergoing major statutory realignment, leading to disagreement between the president, House, and Senate on the best level of support.
State attorneys are using their subpoena power against ExxonMobil to investigate whether the company committed fraud by publicly contradicting its inside knowledge of risks that climate change poses to its business. Meanwhile, Rep. Lamar Smith is attempting to use his subpoena power as chairman of the House Science Committee to intervene in those investigations, claiming as legal justification a committee responsibility to defend scientific freedom. With a showdown looming in that battle, Senate Democrats are using the bully pulpit to condemn organizations that they allege conspire to undermine the mainstream scientific consensus on climate change.
House and Senate appropriators are seeking to reverse the administration’s proposed 3.1 percent discretionary funding cut to the National Institutes of Health and instead boost the agency’s budget by as much as $2 billion above current levels. Under their proposals, all NIH research institutes would see increases.