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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.


18 Nov 2016

Congressional leaders have said that passage of a “21st Century Cures Act” is a top priority for the remainder of the current Congress. This bill could provide a multi-billion dollar funding boost to the National Institutes of Health outside of the regular appropriations process.

15 Nov 2016

With Republicans winning one-party control of the federal government in last Tuesday’s election, the party now has more latitude to advance its priorities. Implications for science will begin to unfold in the “lame duck” session of Congress that opened yesterday.

18 Oct 2016

Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), Congress’s only physicist member, is leading a group of 38 House Democrats in asking the House Rules Committee to withdraw a recent rule change that permitted House committees to delegate their subpoena authority to their chairs. Among their objections, critics of this unilateral authority argue it is being used to harass scientific researchers.

4 Oct 2016

At a House Science Committee hearing held last week, members expressed bipartisan support for the goal of reducing regulatory burdens experienced by federally funded university researchers. They asked witnesses to explain how actions such as the creation of a new Research Policy Board could help achieve that goal.

3 Oct 2016

At a hearing last week, the House Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee discussed the role and health of the Defense Department’s research laboratories in the context of the department’s Third Offset Strategy to leverage innovation to preserve U.S. military superiority. Witnesses from the labs focused on administrative obstacles and aging facilities as the primary burdens preventing the labs from fully realizing their potential.

3 Oct 2016

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has advanced a NASA authorization bill that focuses on space exploration and seeks to ensure stability at the space agency through the upcoming presidential transition. Unlike the House-passed NASA authorization bill, the Senate bill has only a few provisions specific to NASA’s science divisions.

29 Sep 2016

Today, the president signed a stopgap spending bill that extends current fiscal year funding for the federal government through Dec. 9. With Congress recessing at the end of this week to campaign for the general election, major science-related legislation will not see further movement earlier than mid-November.

23 Sep 2016

This week, the House Science Committee held a hearing to investigate the firing of a Department of Energy scientist following a briefing that she and two other DOE scientists gave to congressional staff on the department’s Low Dose Radiation Research Program. Republican committee members linked the incident to what they allege is a larger “pattern of intentional misinformation from Obama Administration officials.”

22 Sep 2016

At a Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the “future of nuclear power,” senators expressed a mixture of concern and hope about the future vitality of the U.S. nuclear industry and nuclear innovation enterprise.

19 Sep 2016

The bipartisan caucus will seek “strong and sustained” funding for the Earth and space sciences at a time when the House has targeted geosciences research for cuts.