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Congress

FYI covers House and Senate activity related to the physical sciences, including their oversight of the federal science agencies as well as the development and consideration of legislation that sets policy for science and funds the science agencies.

 

22 Jun 2017

This week, the leading Democrats on the House Science Committee convened a roundtable forum of experts to explore the science and policy of climate change. Participants spotlighted pressing scientific problems and the economic benefits of participation in the Paris Climate Agreement, including those presented by the transition to low-carbon technology.

15 Jun 2017

In back-to-back House hearings, NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot firmly defended his agency’s fiscal year 2018 budget request, including proposals to eliminate support for five Earth Science missions and the Office of Education.

12 Jun 2017

Last week, the House Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee welcomed National Science Foundation Director France Córdova to testify on the fiscal year 2018 budget request. Members showed strong support across-the-board for the foundation while asking tough questions about the budget’s proposed 11 percent cut for the agency. Committee members also asked about specific programs and facilities.

6 Jun 2017

In late May, the House Science Committee held a hearing to explore federal policies for funding the costs of research overhead, focusing on the National Science Foundation. The subject has come to the fore in the wake of the Trump administration’s proposal to cap overhead reimbursement on National Institutes of Health grants.

19 May 2017

Earlier this month, two Senate subcommittee hearings addressed R&D and innovation at the Defense Department. Witnesses praised DOD’s existing innovation policies and department laboratories’ special administrative authorities. But they pressed for better access to military construction funds and described the administrative barriers that prevent lab leaders from fully using their authorities.

5 May 2017

The final appropriations agreement for fiscal year 2017 provides a 3.1 percent increase for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Planetary Science will receive a 12 percent increase and is instructed to proceed with a Europa lander mission. Heliophysics will receive a smaller increase while Earth Science funding will remain unchanged. As work on the James Webb Space Telescope ramps down, total funds allocated to Astrophysics activities will decrease.

28 Apr 2017

This week, the House Science Committee held a hearing to discuss new developments in the field of astrobiology, a favorite subject of Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX). Committee members praised work in the field and agreed with the witnesses’ appraisal of its popular appeal and inherent importance.

21 Apr 2017

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has new congressional guidance for its weather research, forecasting, and observations programs, including authorizations for a new seasonal forecasting program, a greater focus on research-to-operations, and improved coordination across the U.S. weather enterprise.

20 Apr 2017

This week, the Department of Defense launched a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear weapons policy. The review comes at a time when members of Congress have become increasingly concerned about the state of the nation’s nuclear weapons enterprise and have begun to debate whether the weapons labs should conduct R&D on new types of nuclear weapons.

7 Apr 2017

At the Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee’s first hearing of the year, committee members and weather community leaders highlighted the importance of integrated water forecasting and raised concerns about the impact of the administration’s NOAA and NASA budget proposals.

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