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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.


5 Jul 2018

Last week, the House Science Committee advanced bipartisan legislation that would launch a 10-year National Quantum Initiative to increase coordination and funding of quantum R&D supported by the Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and National Institute of Standards and Technology. Meanwhile, in the Senate, leaders of the Commerce Committee have introduced a companion bill, and the Armed Services Committee is seeking to establish a separate quantum R&D program for the defense agencies.

3 Jul 2018

As the conference committee for this year’s iteration of the National Defense Authorization Act begins its work, conferees will navigate numerous proposals for changes in defense R&D and innovation policy.

28 Jun 2018

President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Energy’s Office of Science received bipartisan praise at a Senate confirmation hearing on June 26, while Democratic senators expressed concerns about his nominee to lead the department’s renewable energy R&D office.

27 Jun 2018

At a recent hearing, the House Science Committee explored NASA’s methods for estimating mission costs and managing projects to minimize budget and schedule overruns. The hearing follows a recent Government Accountability Office report that found the agency’s project management performance has slipped.

20 Jun 2018

House and Senate appropriators are proposing 7 percent and 3 percent funding increases, respectively, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in fiscal year 2019. Within SMD, the House proposal would increase funding for Planetary Science by 24 percent, while the Senate proposal would increase funding for Astrophysics by 12 percent.

7 Jun 2018

The fiscal year 2019 spending bills for the National Nuclear Security Administration advanced by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees reject the Trump administration’s deep proposed cuts to fusion research, accept its request to develop a new low-yield nuclear weapon, and split on whether to continue construction of a plutonium conversion facility that it wants to terminate.

1 Jun 2018

Since his confirmation as NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine has expressed broad support for the agency’s scientific culture and missions, and has said his views on climate change now align with the scientific consensus. He also has advocated new approaches to designing missions to manage costs and increase nimbleness.

31 May 2018

Draft spending bills released by House and Senate appropriators would increase funding for the Department of Energy Office of Science by 5 and 6 percent, respectively, bringing its budget past the $6.6 billion mark. There is general agreement between the chambers that major research facility construction projects should move ahead as fast as possible.

29 May 2018

The House Science Committee plans to introduce a bill next month that would create a 10-year National Quantum Initiative aimed at increasing America’s strategic focus on quantum information science and technology development.

25 May 2018

This week, the House Science Committee introduced and approved three bipartisan bills. One authorizes Department of Energy Office of Science programs. A second reauthorizes and broadens the mission of the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy — an agency that committee Republicans had not previously backed. A third provides national laboratory directors authority to enter small public–private partnerships without prior DOE approval.