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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.

 

8 Feb 2018

A recent Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing highlighted the central role the U.S. Geological Survey plays in natural hazards monitoring. Experts also endorsed several pending bills that would expand early detection and mapping capabilities for earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslides.

7 Feb 2018

The Trump administration’s policy toward nuclear weapons development and use, articulated in its Nuclear Posture Review, declares the U.S. needs new “tailored” and “flexible” deterrent capabilities and a more “responsive” production infrastructure and technical workforce.

1 Feb 2018

Department of Energy Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar and Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes appeared before the House Science Committee this week to discuss a recent realignment of their responsibilities as well as DOE’s R&D priorities, including its plans for nuclear fusion research.

26 Jan 2018

The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved the nominations of Mike Griffin to be under secretary of defense for research and engineering and Will Roper to be assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition. At their confirmation hearing, the nominees outlined the need for DOD to better exploit its R&D as it strives to field next-generation technologies.

18 Jan 2018

At a recent House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, participants touched on a wide range of issues related to the Department of Energy, including R&D priorities and the management and structure of the national lab system. The committee framed the hearing as a prelude to potential DOE reform legislation.

8 Jan 2018

This week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is kicking off a series of hearings related to its ongoing efforts to reform the Department of Energy. The first hearing will focus on DOE’s primary mission areas and “opportunities to unleash the full potential of DOE’s scientific, engineering and technological capabilities.” The committee’s efforts will add to a growing set of changes, proposals, and discussions concerning how DOE structures, manages, and prioritizes its laboratory and other R&D activities.

22 Dec 2017

Congress concluded its 2017 session with a week of productive legislating that included final passage of the Republican tax reform bill and an extension of federal spending through Jan. 19. The House also passed three bipartisan STEM education bills and a disaster relief spending package that, if enacted, would provide a one-time funding boost to several science agencies.

20 Dec 2017

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt recently argued that the agency used a flawed process in 2009 when it determined that greenhouse gas emissions endanger the public. He also said he still hopes to scrutinize the underlying climate science through a “red team/blue team” review.

14 Dec 2017

A recent House Science Committee hearing on NASA’s in-development and future space telescopes probed the agency’s mission management practices and revealed substantial concerns that the James Webb Space Telescope may experience new schedule delays. NASA announced at the hearing it is planning an independent review of the mission’s pre-launch preparations.

7 Dec 2017

Barry Myers, the nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, went to great lengths at his confirmation hearing to assure senators he would respect and defend NOAA science as well as avoid any potential conflicts of interest arising from his connections to a weather company he co-founded.

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