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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.


28 Mar 2014

Tuesday’s afternoon hearing before the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee on the FY 2015 budget request for the Office of Science was very upbeat.  Members were well-informed and enthusiastic about the programs supported by this office.  Left largely unmentioned was the tight budget cap that appropriators will be operating under as the subcommittee moves, Chairman Mike Simpson (R-ID) said, to mark-up its funding bill “relatively early.”

27 Mar 2014

There was a striking contrast in tone between yesterday’s House Science Committee hearing on the Administration’s FY 2015 S&T budget request and this morning’s hearing before House appropriators on the National Science Foundation request.  As has long been the case, appropriators praised the foundation, recognizing its important role in supporting basic research to sustain America’s scientific leadership and economic progress.

26 Mar 2014

There was little that Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren and the Republican members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee agreed about at this morning’s two-hour hearing on the Administration’s FY 2015 S&T budget request.  Predictability, there was disagreement about climate change, the National Science Foundation’s grant-making process, and NASA’s programs.

25 Mar 2014

This morning Members of the House of Representatives were alerted to a letter that will be sent to the chairman and ranking member of the House Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee later this week.  The letter requests an increase in the FY 2015 budget for the National Science Foundation to $7.5 billion.  Members of Congress receive many of these “Dear Colleague” letters every day.  These letters are far more likely to be read and acted upon when a constituent contacts their representative or senator.

21 Mar 2014

Last week the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology considered and then voted to send H.R. 4186, the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology (FIRST) Act of 2014 to the full House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.   Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) predicted that the full committee will consider the bill within the next few weeks. 

13 Mar 2014

The House Subcommittee on Research and Technology met this morning to consider and then approve sending a bill to the full House Science, Space, and Technology Committee that would reauthorize the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Office of Science and Technology Policy, and STEM education programs.

12 Mar 2014

Tomorrow the full House Science, Space, and Technology Committee meets to mark up a bill that would authorize the programs of the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  The legislation will also authorize STEM education programs, the Office of Science and Technology Policy and related matters, and R&D programs for Networking and Information Technology.  A draft of this legislation attracted much attention last year because of proposed controversial changes in NSF’s grant-making process. 

11 Mar 2014

House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) have sent a letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden asking his agency to “develop a clear, well-planned technical implementation plan for the future of human spaceflight over the next few months.”  As part of this effort, NASA is to examine the feasibility of a Mars human flyby mission in 2021, a subject that was also discussed at a Science Committee hearing.

14 Feb 2014

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Space held a February 4 hearing to discuss potential updates to the Commercial Space Launch Act.  Challenges faced by the commercial space industry include compliance with potentially outdated federal laws and regulations, federal export regimes, and international competition.  The hearing demonstrated bi-partisan interest in helping the development of the United States Commercial space sector.