A House Science subcommittee hearing brought together leaders of the weather community to explore the preferred balance between the three sectors - government, academic, and private – that make up the U.S. weather enterprise.
Among its most significant science-related provisions, the National Defense Authorization Act passed by the Senate would assign management of Department of Defense R&D to a reconstituted Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering. The bill also contains multiple measures to improve DOD’s ability to hire top technical talent, and the authoring committee expresses interest in “comprehensive defense lab governance reform.”
The House will soon vote on two bills that would create basic research initiatives at the Department of Energy focused on solar fuels and electricity storage, respectively. Although the House Science Committee cleared both with bipartisan support, committee members expressed divergent views at the markup on the proper role of the federal government in supporting energy R&D.
House Environment Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Jim Bridenstine has convened another in a series of hearings on the nation’s weather satellite programs, building on his ongoing interest in the programs’ management and future.
In Part 2 of its report on research regulations, a National Academies committee reiterates its call for Congress to create a Research Policy Board and urges the administration to not revise human subjects research regulations until a new national commission weighs in on the subject. Congress has begun to act on the Research Policy Board recommendation.
The House Science Committee convened thought leaders in space exploration last month for a hearing on the capabilities needed for NASA’s proposed human journey to Mars. Wide-ranging discussions touched on in-space propulsion, deep space habitation, and artificial gravity.
Today, the Senate Commerce Committee approved the "American Innovation and Competitiveness Act" after amending it to authorize a four percent funding increase for NSF and NIST. However, a push to identify offsets for these increases may delay or derail passage of the bill by the Senate.
The Senate’s bipartisan bill, released today, differs significantly from the House-passed America COMPETES bill, dropping the COMPETES name altogether and striking a different tone on scientific merit review.
Two committees are staking out divergent stances on funding for the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grant programs—with the House and Senate Small Business Committees both advancing bipartisan proposals to increase the fraction of agencies’ extramural R&D budgets allocated to these programs, while the House Science Committee appears united in opposing increases that would take resources away from other R&D programs.