The Endless Frontier Act is headed to the Senate floor next week despite an unresolved feud over the roles the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy should play in the flagship R&D initiative the legislation proposes.
Eric Lander, tapped in January to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is now one of President Biden's last Cabinet officials yet to be confirmed. At his nomination hearing last month, Lander addressed controversies that prompted concerns among senators and defended his commitment to equity.
University of Oregon physical chemist Geraldine Richmond has been nominated for the position of under secretary for science and energy at the Department of Energy. Richmond has longstanding connections to DOE and its national labs and has been a member of the National Science Board since 2012.
President Biden announced last week that he is nominating oceanographer Rick Spinrad to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Spinrad previously served as head of the agency’s research office and as its chief scientist.
President Biden has nominated former Sandia National Labs Director Jill Hruby and nuclear weapons policy expert Frank Rose to take the top two positions at the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Department of Energy agency responsible for maintaining the U.S. nuclear warhead stockpile.
Amid President Biden’s government-wide focus on climate change, lawmakers are again considering the merits of creating a federal “climate service” to help the public better access and understand the various climate information products produced across agencies.
President Biden has nominated University of California, Merced biogeochemist Asmeret Berhe to lead the Department of Energy Office of Science, which oversees a fleet of scientific user facilities and a multi-billion dollar basic research portfolio.
The House Science Committee held a hearing last week to solicit ideas for bolstering the U.S. research enterprise, seeking to inform bipartisan innovation bills that it plans to advance in the coming months.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Joe Manchin (D-WV) is pressing for the technology competitiveness legislation that Congress is currently developing to incorporate innovation capabilities offered by the Department of Energy and its national labs.
Sponsors of the Endless Frontier Act have delayed reintroducing the bill amid pushback from some senators, including leaders of key committees, who held hearings this week to debate the legislation’s vision for transforming the U.S. research system.