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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 Mar 2017

Last week, experts in advanced materials testified before a House subcommittee on the potential of their work and the challenges they face. Warning of declining U.S. leadership in their field, they urged increased federal support for R&D as well as policy changes to speed technology commercialization.

21 Mar 2017

The House Science Committee’s Republican members will seek increased support for basic physical sciences research in the fiscal year 2018 budget cycle, and they are renewing efforts to influence the allocation of research funding at several agencies.

17 Mar 2017

The House Science Committee is currently preparing broad, new authorization legislation for NSF. At a hearing last week, committee members indicated that STEM education, ongoing oversight issues, and implementing a strong “national interest” requirement into NSF grant-making will all be on the committee's agenda. The committee is also planning to push the agency to favor engineering and the physical, biological, and computer sciences.

10 Mar 2017

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers are invoking the cause of scientific integrity and transparency to advance certain legislative proposals. The Democratic bills would codify standards of conduct and protections for federal scientists, while the Republican bills would reform the use of science in the federal rulemaking process.

9 Mar 2017

Following a failed attempt last year, Congress has passed the bipartisan “NASA Transition Authorization Act.” The bill, which emphasizes human space exploration, affirms existing NASA priorities. However, it leaves ambiguous policy concerning contentious issues such as NASA’s Earth science activities.

7 Mar 2017

Last week, the Senate confirmed Rick Perry as secretary of energy. Supporters point to his capabilities as a manager, while opponents doubt his commitment to protecting the Department of Energy and advancing its mission. Addressing department employees, Perry described his “journey” from having called for DOE’s elimination to being an advocate for its work.

22 Feb 2017

Mick Mulvaney, the new director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, has been a leader in efforts to downsize the federal government. During the Senate confirmation process, he said he believes there is a “proper role for federal government in research.

21 Feb 2017

At a hearing convened to discuss future directions for NASA, leaders of the House Science Committee stressed the need for continuity between administrations. Democratic members highlighted the agency’s earth science activities, which could be affected by a “rebalancing” the chairman intends to pursue.

15 Feb 2017

The House and Senate have announced who will lead the appropriations subcommittees for the 115th Congress, and there are a few new faces atop the four subcommittees that oversee the lion’s share of federal R&D spending.

10 Feb 2017

At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing with four inspector general witnesses, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) underscored their role in protecting whistleblowers and highlighted a bill he introduced to strengthen federal scientific integrity policies. Among the witnesses was the National Science Foundation’s inspector general, who described ongoing efforts to strengthen the foundation’s oversight of large facilities and reduce costs associated with its use of rotating personnel, among other management challenges.

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