Science, Space, and Technology

Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Lamar Smith

Joint Subcommittee on Energy and Subcommittee on Research and Technology Hearing- Material Science: Building the Future

2017/06/28

Material Science: Building the Future   Read More

Full Committee Markup- Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Improvements Act of 2017

2017/06/22

Markup of: H.R. 2763, the “Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Improvements Act of 2017” Read More

Environment Subcommittee Hearing- Leading the Way: Examining Advances in Environmental Technologies

2017/06/21

Leading the Way: Examining Advances in Environmental Technologies Hearing Charter Read More

The High Overhead of Scientific Research

2017/06/20

Last year American taxpayers spent more than $42 billion for scientific research and education at universities and nonprofits across the country. Most of this investment contributed to American innovation, economic competitiveness and national security.  Taxpayers would be surprised to learn that approximately one-quarter of that funding — more than $10 billion — pays not for the cost of research but to cover universities’ and nonprofits’ overhead.  Since World War II, the federal government, universities and nonprofit research institutions have worked in partnership to conduct research in our nation’s interest. Congress has authorized federal science agencies to reimburse researchers for their overhead expenses — called indirect costs, or facilities and administrative costs.  Indirect costs are supposed to pay for utility bills for university laboratories, security services and compliance with federal regulations. Over time, universities have included items like university presidents’ salaries and benefits, and new university buildings in the indirect costs of federally funded research. Some universities now claim that up to 60 percent of federal research grants are needed for facilities and administration costs.  About $1.3 billion of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) annual budget for scientific research is consumed by indirect cost payments to universities and research institutions. $1.3 billion is a lot of taxpayer money. It could pay for 2,000 more scientific research projects in critical areas like physics, biology, computer science and engineering. Scientific discoveries and innovations in these fields are essential to our future economic and national security.  Universities and nonprofits should be reimbursed for reasonable costs of sponsoring federally funded research. However, the Government Accountability Office has warned that indirect costs are taking a larger and larger share of funds for scientific research. Many universities are pressing to raise indirect costs even higher.  Are taxpayers paying for reasonable and legitimate overhead expenses connected to federally funded research projects? Or are taxpayers subsidizing excess and waste? And are our universities and nonprofits just using the NSF as another source of revenue?  Several studies have shown that facility and administration costs at American universities have risen dramatically in the last three decades, fueling the higher cost of tuition and research and resulting in an unsustainable trajectory.  From 1978 to 2014, administrative positions at universities rose 369 percent, according to a report by the American Association of University Professors. Faculty positions, however, have increased much more slowly: part-time teaching jobs increased by 286 percent, but full-time tenure and tenure-track faculty appointments increased only 23 percent.  Universities have been on a building boom. In 2015, American colleges and universities spent $12 billion on construction and renovations, double what they spent in 1995. New university buildings are being financed by federal taxpayers, embedded in indirect costs of research.  I recently met with a university president who described having to spend $1 million to build a new lab in order to recruit a high-profile scientist from another institution. Why should taxpayers foot the bill for the debt payments on these costs?  Taxpayers need to know that their investments in science are not being wasted on low-priority projects, marble-floored buildings and college administrators’ salaries. The Trump budget has proposed a thorough reassessment of indirect costs. Congress should follow through and determine what changes should be made to assure that federally funded research is conducted efficiently, responsibly and transparently.  Reducing federal agencies’ redundant reporting and regulatory requirements on research would peel away one layer of wasteful expenses. Legislation to streamline federal overregulation of research originated in the House Science Committee, which I chair, and was signed into law last year.  Congress also should consider improving and simplifying the outdated and complicated system for negotiating indirect costs. Universities’ and research institutions’ indirect costs should be made public. A flat-rate cap, an approach used by other Western nations, should be considered.  America’s future depends on remaining a global leader in technology and innovation. We can’t afford waste and excess. Every dollar we spend on scientific research must count.   Lamar Smith is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas. Read More

Joint Subcommittee on Oversight and Subcommittee on Research and Technology Hearing- Bolstering the Government’s Cybersecurity: Lessons Learned from WannaCry

2017/06/15

Bolstering the Government’s Cybersecurity: Lessons Learned from WannaCry Hearing Charter Read More

SST Committee Approves the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017

2017/06/08

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology today unanimously approved H.R. 2809, the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017, as the bill now moves to the full U.S. House of Representatives for consideration. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Space Subcommittee Chairman Babin (R-Texas), Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) praised the bill’s passage:  Chairman Smith: “The United States space enterprise is positioned to take the lead in commercial space exploration as this historic bill moves forward to the House for consideration. Today’s committee vote signals our commitment to complying with our international obligations, reforming our commercial remote sensing system, and welcoming new space operators. With committee approval of the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act, we are one step closer to implementing an innovative, transparent, and streamlined structure for authorizing and supervising space activity while imposing minimal burdens on stakeholders. I appreciate the support from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and I look forward to working hand and hand with leadership to bring this to a House floor vote.” Space Subcommittee Chairman Babin: “The American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act is a common-sense bipartisan bill that streamlines regulatory processes, limits burdensome government intrusion, promotes American innovation and investment, protects national security, and satisfies our international obligations. For several years, we have heard concerns from stakeholders that they need greater regulatory certainty to attract investment and succeed. I am pleased that the Committee has acted to addresses these concerns by passing this much-needed bill." Rep. Bridenstine: “The American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act provides certainty to industry by creating a clear, transparent, and minimally burdensome process for commercial space activities. It also reforms the broken system of remote sensing licensing that is overly restrictive, thwarts industry, and hands an advantage to foreign competitors.” Leader McCarthy: “The future of space exploration is now and the commercial space industry has a vital role to play. Our current regulatory regime discourages private sector investment in the commercial space industry, which threatens the industry’s  development and global standing. In order to ensure America’s commercial space industry maintains its competitiveness, we need to create a pro-growth environment through regulatory certainty and this legislation continues our recent work to do just that.” Background The American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017 simplifies and strengthens the outdated space-based remote sensing regulatory system. At the same time, this bill enhances U.S. compliance with international obligations, improves national security and removes regulatory barriers facing new and innovative space companies. This bill will: Create a single authority for U.S. authorization and supervision of nongovernmental space activities located at the Department of Commerce Office of Space Commerce Establish a transparent certification process in the least burdensome manner possible Provide greater certainty to assure nongovernmental space activities conform to the United States’ Outer Space Treaty obligations Address concerns that certified activities may pose a safety risk to existing federal government space systems Reform the space-based remote sensing regulatory process Preserve ability to condition remote sensing operations to protect national security Enhance national security by ensuring insight into operations and capabilities by creating a competitive environment that discourages offshoring    The American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017 was first introduced on June 7, by Chairman Smith along with Reps. Babin and Bridenstine. Cosponsors of this legislation include: Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas), Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.), and Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.). Text of the bill can be found here. List of growing support for the bill can be found here. Read More

Support Grows for the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017

2017/06/08

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology announced growing support for H.R. 2809, the “American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017.” The legislation was favorably reported out of committee today by voice vote. Keep reading to see what they’re saying. “Quietly, for many years, a debate has taken place in government and commercial space policy circles about the proper legal structure for handling actions by U.S. entities that take place far from Earth.   The American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017 brilliantly resolves some of the contradictions inherent in more traditional models and proposes a new and, in my opinion, very effective legal structure for future activities.” – Jeff Greason, CEO, Agile Aero “The Act has a number of important provisions, including simplifying and strengthening the outdated space-based remote sensing regulatory system. The Act will also enhance U.S. compliance with international obligations, improve national security, and eliminate cumbersome regulatory barriers facing new and innovative space technology companies.” – Guy P. Seeley, Ph.D., president, Atmospheric and Environmental Research “The Act has a number of important provisions, most important is that the proposed legislation will simplify and strengthen the outdated space-based remote sensing regulatory system.” – Geoff Crowley, Ph.D., president & chief scientist, Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates (ASTRA) LLC “As a company who envisions a purely commercial business model, requesting no government funding and no guarantee of a government anchor tenant, we rely heavily on outside investment. Investors are, in turn, very focused on understanding risk, which includes knowing the impact of government-imposed regulation. For this reason, Axiom Space is fully supportive of the intent of the Act – to maximize certainty while minimizing the regulatory burden placed on new and innovative space companies.” – Michael Suffredini, president and CEO, Axiom Space, LLC “Bigelow Aerospace strongly endorses the core principles of the ASCFEA to ensure a regulatory ‘light touch’ approach that enables technological innovation and also helps promote safe operations in space under an authorization schema though the registration of space objects. I applaud the committee working tirelessly on a bipartisan approach that upholds and enhances American leadership in space as well as lays the foundation for commercial space activities grow and flourish.” – Christopher M. Hearsey, director of legislative affairs, Bigelow Aerospace, LLC “ The member companies and institutions of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation are in strong agreement with all of the goals and most of the key elements of your legislation: significant reform of the Commerce Department’s obsolete, burdensome, and dysfunctional regime for licensing commercial remote sensing satellites is especially welcome.” – Eric Stallmer, president, Commercial Spaceflight Federation “We support the creation of a single authority for the registration of nongovernmental space activities located at the Department of Commerce Office of Space Commerce; as well as, maintaining our international obligations to the Outer Space Treaty and recognizing any safety risks posed to our existing federal space systems.” – Dr. Devrie S. Intriligator, director, Space Plasma Laboratory, Carmel Research Center, Inc. “Under the proposed legislation, the space-based remote sensing regulatory system would undergo regularization and simplification, which is of particular importance to companies like ours that plan to develop new commercial remote sensing capabilities and seek a predictable regulatory regime for such activities. The Act would also ensure U.S. compliance with international obligations, promote evidence-based regulation, improve national security and eliminate cumbersome regulatory barriers facing new and innovative space technology companies.” – Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., VADM USN (ret.) and CEO, GeoOptics “As the first U.S. company to request and receive U.S. governmental ‘mission approval’ to send a private robotic spacecraft beyond traditional Earth orbit and to the Moon, we can attest to the need for certainty of process within a framework of minimal regulatory burden... This legislation creates a clear, objective, transparent, timely and appealable process for American companies like Moon Express to pursue innovative commercial space activities beyond traditional Earth orbit.” – Dr. Robert Richards, founder, president & CEO, Moon Express Inc. “Panasonic is in strong support of the bi-partisan efforts in the development of this bill, and we support efforts to bring it before the House of Representatives as soon as possible.” – Neil Jacobs, Panasonic “SIA strongly supports these goals addressed in the draft legislation; we applaud the sponsors of this bill and the Committee’s leadership for their efforts to date to advance reform of the commercial remote sensing regulatory regime. SIA believes that introducing greater transparency and discipline into the U.S. Government’s regulatory review processes will ultimately encourage industry growth and bring a multitude of benefits to the U.S. economy and security.” – Tom Stroup, president, Satellite Industry Association “This legislation makes clear that the Committee has given thought to a long view of how to best enable American industry and entrepreneurs to pursue space commerce activities aimed at exploring, developing, and utilizing space resources.” – Jim Ball, president, Spaceport Strategies LLC “The Act has a number of important provisions… the Act will enhance U.S. compliance with international obligations, will serve to improve national security and eliminates cumbersome regulatory barriers facing new and innovative space technology companies.” – W. Kent Tobiska, president, Space Environment Technologies “Given that enabling both space development and space settlement are vital to the strategic future of the United States, we need a solution that ensures we will not only continue to meet our obligations under the Outer Space Treaty, but also encourages and enables new non-governmental space activities to be pursued. Therefore, we are glad to see long-standing issues related to commercial remote sensing licenses are being addressed, and that a transparent, timely, and appealable regulatory process would be available for new non-traditional space activities upon passage of this bill.” – Andrew Newman, chairman, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space; Josh Guild, interim executive director, Space Frontier Foundation “It is so important that rules and regulations support and not hinder industry’s ability to grow and innovate. We believe this bill will do just that by presuming approval, redefining what needs to be regulated, streamlining the permitting process with actionable deadlines, increasing transparency and establishing an Assistant Secretary of Space Commerce.” – Jonathan Rosenblatt, general counsel, Spire Global, Inc.; Robbie Schingler, co-founder & chief strategy officer, Planet Labs, Inc. ; Marcy Steinke, senior vice president, government relations & public policy, DigitalGlobe, Inc. “This legislation clearly reflects the Committee’s continued bipartisan support for America’s commercial space industry.” -Stu Witt, Witt & Associates Letters of support for the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017 can be found here: AgileAero, Inc. Atmospheric and Environmental Research Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates, LLC Axiom Space, LLC Bigelow Aerospace, LLC Carmel Research Center, Inc. GeoOptics Moon Express Inc. Panasonic Satellite Industry Association Spaceport Strategies, LLC Space Environment Technologies Space Frontier Foundation and Students for the Exploration and Development of Space Spire Global, Inc., Planet Labs, Inc., and Digital Globe, Inc. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation Witt & Associates Read More

Full Committee Markup- American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017

2017/06/08

Markup of: H.R. 2809, the "American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017," approved by voice vote.           Smith 012, offered by Mr. Smith (R-TX), approved by voice vote           Johnson 002, offered by Mrs. Johnson (D-TX), withdrawn           Bridenstine 008, offered by Mr. Bridenstine (R-OK), approved by voice vote           Perlmutter 010, offered by Mr. Perlmutter (D-CO), approved by voice vote Read More

Space Subcommittee Hearing- An Overview of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Budget for Fiscal Year 2018

2017/06/08

An Overview of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Budget for Fiscal Year 2018 Hearing Charter Read More

Smith Introduces American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017

2017/06/07

WASHINGTON - U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today introduced H.R. 2809, the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017. This bipartisan bill is cosponsored by Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas), Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas), Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.), and Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.). Chairman Smith: “This transformative legislation declares that America is open for business in outer space. The American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act addresses issues that the committee has been tracking for years, including international obligations and commercial remote sensing. The bill establishes a favorable legal and policy environment for free enterprise with maximum certainty and minimum burden for stakeholders. With this innovative legislation, we position the American space industry as a leader.  New space operators would now be incentivized to set up shop on American ground and allow the United States to maintain and adhere to our international obligations as well as improving our national security. This enterprising bill provides an efficient, transparent, and streamlined structure for authorizing and supervising future space activities to create the path for future exploration of the final frontier.” Space Subcommittee Chairman Babin: “I am very proud of the work that has been done so far on the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act. I believe strongly that this bill will provide American companies with the certainty that they need to operate in space. I appreciate the hard work of my colleagues Chairman Lamar Smith and Rep. Jim Bridenstine on this very important bill to ensure the space industry remains strong in America for years to come.” Rep. Bridenstine: “Providing maximum certainty with minimal regulatory burden for the commercial space industry has been one of my top priorities in Congress.  The American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act moves us in the right direction.  Years of uncertainty over which government agency has the responsibility to authorize and supervise commercial space activity has created a chilling effect in the industry, hindering capital formation and innovation.  Chairman Smith, Chairman Babin, and I authored this bill to provide a clear, transparent process to meet Outer Space Treaty obligations while ensuring America is open for business in space.”   Background The American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017 simplifies and strengthens the outdated space-based remote sensing regulatory system. At the same time, this bill enhances U.S. compliance with international obligations, improves national security and removes regulatory barriers facing new and innovative space companies. This bill will: Create a single authority for U.S. authorization and supervision of nongovernmental space activities located at the Department of Commerce Office of Space Commerce Establish a transparent certification process in the least burdensome manner possible Provide greater certainty to assure nongovernmental space activities conform to the United States’ Outer Space Treaty obligations Address concerns that certified activities may pose a safety risk to existing federal government space systems Reform the space-based remote sensing regulatory process Preserve ability to condition remote sensing operations to protect national security Enhance national security by ensuring insight into operations and capabilities by creating a competitive environment that discourages offshoring   The text of the bill can be found here. Read More

Contact Information

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Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6371
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science.house.gov


Membership

Lamar Smith

TEXAS' 21st DISTRICT

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