The Committee will meet to consider the following measure, or for other purposes:
H.R. 1119, the Research and Development Efficiency Act
H.R. ________, the International Science and Technology Cooperation Act of 2015
H.R. ________, the Science Prize Competitions Act
H.R. ________, the Department of Energy Laboratory Modernization and Technology Transfer Act of 2015
H.R. 874, the American Super Computing Leadership Act
Washington, D.C. –The Subcommittee on Space today held a hearing on The Commercial Crew Program: Challenges and Opportunities. The purpose of the hearing was to review NASA’s efforts to develop and acquire safe, reliable, and affordable crew transfer services to the International Space Station (ISS).
Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.): “Previous testimony before this Committee indicated that the taxpayer will fund roughly 90 percent of the development of these capabilities and then in-turn pay once again for the services derived from those capabilities. In total, NASA has spent, or plans to spend, over $8 billion on this initiative, which I believe represents a necessary investment if managed effectively. In order to protect taxpayer interests, however, this level of investment by the taxpayer requires a similar level of transparency and accountability.
“Denying information to ASAP, or Congress, about the Commercial Crew Program is unacceptable when the hardworking American taxpayers are footing the bill for the program and the safety of our astronauts is on the line. Congress and the American people deserve to have answers to the questions posed by ASAP. I am pleased to hear that NASA is now being more open and I hope this trend continues.”
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “American astronauts personify our nation’s pioneering spirit. They represent our leadership as explorers and agents of discovery. A great deal of trust has been placed in the commercial crew partners – Boeing and SpaceX - that are partnering with NASA to take our astronauts into space. This is an extraordinary responsibility for these companies. It is one that cannot be taken lightly.
“It is absolutely imperative that we understand the gravity of what it means to carry our astronauts into space. This committee will continue to monitor whether the Commercial Crew Program will ensure safety while also respecting cost and schedule constraints. We can only do this if NASA is open and transparent about the program.”
The Commercial Crew program was created in 2010 as a NASA partnership in which private contractors will carry U.S. astronauts to and from the ISS. Currently, we pay more than $70 million per astronaut per flight to maintain a U.S. presence on ISS. The final phase of the Commercial Crew program offers the first opportunity for commercial space companies to carry U.S. astronauts to the ISS. After initial phases with several other companies, Boeing and SpaceX were selected to continue with contracts for final development, including certification.
Vice Admiral Joseph Dyer, Chairman of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) participated in today’s hearing. The ASAP reports annually to Congress and the NASA Administrator on the safety of NASA’s programs and recently criticized the Commercial Crew program for “lack of transparency” and complained about “barriers to sharing information related to certification and safety.”
Also participating in today’s hearing were Mr. Bill Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, Mr. John Mulholland, Vice President and Program Manager of Commercial Programs at Boeing, and Dr. Garrett Reisman, Director of Crew Operations for Space Exploration Technologies Corporation.
For more information on today’s hearing, including witness testimony and a link to the archived webcast, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.
An Overview of the Budget Proposals for the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technology for Fiscal Year 2016Read More
Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today approved the bipartisan STEM Education Act of 2015 (H.R. 1020), introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.). The bill strengthens ongoing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education efforts at our federal science agencies and ensures computer science is included in these efforts. The bill passed with broad bipartisan support by a vote of 412-8.
Chairman Lamar Smith: “We need to ensure that our nation’s youth have the scientific and mathematical skills to strive and thrive in a technology-based economy. But we have to capture and hold the desire of young adults to study STEM subjects so they will want to pursue these careers. A healthy and viable STEM workforce, literate in all STEM subjects, including computer science, is critical to American industries. A well-educated and trained STEM workforce ensures our future economic prosperity.”
Innovation cannot take place without advances in technology. Unfortunately, America lags behind many other nations when it comes to STEM education. American students rank 21st in science and 26th in math among the top 34 developed countries of the world.
Rep. Elizabeth Esty: “Our country is built on the innovation and entrepreneurship of all Americans. We must support educational and economic foundations that encourage this innovation, and today’s bipartisan passage of our STEM Education Act brings us one step closer to that goal. I hear from manufacturers, high-tech companies, and small businesses across all sectors that struggle to find workers with the necessary technical and critical problem-solving skills to fill jobs in demand. Strong support for STEM education in K-12 education will help prepare our children for good-paying jobs in high-demand fields like manufacturing, health and biomedical industries, energy, and information technology. I’m grateful to join my colleague and friend Chairman Smith in these efforts, and I look forward to working towards consideration of the STEM Education Act in the U.S. Senate.”
The STEM Education Act of 2015 directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue to award competitive merit-reviewed grants to support informal STEM education. Informal education is work that takes place outside of the classroom to engage students in STEM subjects and fields. It also amends the NSF Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship program to allow teachers in pursuit of Master’s degrees to participate in the program.
Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Comstock (R-Va.): “STEM education holds the key for our students to compete against the best and the brightest around the world. The STEM Education Act of 2015 is a bipartisan piece of legislation that strengthens STEM education and promotes innovation and opportunity for all to be prepared for the jobs of the 21st century.”Read More
The Committee will meet to consider the following measure, or for other purposes:
H.R. 1030 The Secret Science Reform Act of 2015 Approved by a vote of 16:11
Amendment 01 offered by Ms. Clark (D-Mass), Defeated by a vote of 12:16
H.R. 1029 The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015, Approved by a vote of 17:12.
Amendment 01 offered by Mr. Grayson (D-Fl.), Passed by voice vote.
Amendment 02 offered by Mr. Grayson (D-Fl.), Withdrawn.
Amendment 03 offered by Ms. Bonamici (D-Oregon), Defeated by a vote of 11:19
Amendment 04 offered by Mr. Swalwell (D-Cal.), Defeated by a vote of 11:19
Click HERE to view votes.Read More
Washington D.C. – The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee today held a hearing to receive testimony and question Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) science and technology priorities represented in the president’s fiscal year 2016 budget request.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “America’s energy future is increasingly shaped by federal regulations. Sound science must be the guide, not politics. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the Keystone XL pipeline and Yucca Mountain, where the science has consistently pointed to the safety of the projects, but politics drives endless delays, or sometimes even a veto. Just yesterday, the president vetoed a bipartisan Keystone XL pipeline bill that an overwhelming majority of Americans rightfully support.
“The president’s budget does not call for the most effective or efficient use of taxpayer dollars nor does it support a balanced, all-of-the-above energy strategy. The administration should invest in breakthrough discoveries from basic research that will continue to provide the foundation for private sector development across the energy spectrum. This will create jobs and grow our economy, which is a goal I think we all share.”
The House Science Committee’s jurisdiction includes scientific research, development, and demonstration at DOE. This includes the Office of Science, which conducts critical research in high energy physics, advanced scientific computing, biological and environmental research, nuclear physics, fusion energy sciences, and basic energy sciences, as well as applied energy research and development in fossil, nuclear and renewable energy. These areas comprise approximately one-third of the DOE’s budget, or over 10 billion dollars in the president’s fiscal year 2016 proposal.
DOE is the largest federal supporter of basic research and development and sponsors 47 percent of federal basic research in the physical sciences. The Department’s science and energy research is conducted at over 300 sites nationwide, including our 17 National Labs. Over 31,000 scientific researchers take advantage of DOE user facilities each year.
However, Members today questioned the president’s FY 2016 budget proposal, saying it ignores fiscal realities. The DOE FY 2016 request proposes an overall increase of $2.5 billion, or more than nine percent, and prioritizes short-term, expensive commercialization activities. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy receives an increase of $809 million, or 42 percent. In comparison, the budgets for Fossil and Nuclear energy research and development remain stagnant.
For more information on today’s hearing, including witness testimony and a link to the archived webcast, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.Read More
An Overview of the Budget Proposal for the Department of Energy for Fiscal Year 2016Read More
Washington D.C. – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Vice-Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) today introduced the bipartisan EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act to bring fairness, transparency, and independence to the EPA’s expert panel. Similar legislation passed the House in the 113th Congress with bipartisan support. Companion legislation was also introduced today in the Senate by Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
Vice-Chairman Lucas: “The Science Advisory Board (SAB) informs the EPA on regulations that impact the lives of millions of Americans. Some members on this board have received grant money from the EPA, and several of the members have openly expressed policy preferences in the same areas they are asked to independently study. The heavy costs of EPA’s regulations warrant some degree of public oversight to ensure SAB’s findings are free from bias or conflicts of interest and not simply provided by a set of handpicked advisors. The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act addresses these issues by ensuring the science guiding EPA’s regulatory policy is open to review by the public and requiring members who serve on this board to disclose their professional backgrounds.”
Rep. Peterson: “The Science Advisory Board’s work is important to making sure the EPA considers all scientific information when writing regulations that will impact American farmers, families and small businesses. This legislation builds on the work done in the 2014 Farm Bill and is necessary to ensure the EPA takes into account the best information possible, with input from the public and independent stakeholders. A balanced and independent Science Advisory Board will help alleviate some of the unintended consequences surrounding EPA regulations.”
The SAB was created to provide independent expert advice to the EPA and Congress on scientific and technical information that may be used to justify federal regulations. Over the past decades, shortcomings with the current process have arisen, including limited public participation, EPA interference with expert advice, and potential conflicts of interest. As a result, the law should be updated to restore scientific integrity to the process and independence to the Board. The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act addresses these shortcomings guaranteeing a well-balanced expert panel, increasing transparency, and encouraging public participation to empower the SAB to provide meaningful and unbiased scientific advice.Read More
Washington D.C. – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) today will introduce the Secret Science Reform Act to ensure future EPA regulations are based on the best available science. Similar legislation passed the House in the 113th Congress with bipartisan support.
Chairman Smith: “Costly regulations should not be created behind closed doors and out of public view. The data that underpins EPA regulations should be available to the public so that independent scientists have a fair chance to verify findings. Hardworking American families foot the bill for EPA’s billion dollar regulations and have a right to know that policy is based on sound science and thoughtful analysis. Our freedoms are best protected when citizens are informed. The Secret Science Reform Act would prohibit the EPA from using science they aren’t willing to make public. This bill works toward a more accountable government that the American people want and deserve.”
Sen. Barrasso: “For years, the EPA has based its rules and regulations on secret data that they refuse to publish and make available to all Americans. Since the American people bear the expensive costs of EPA red tape, they deserve to have access to the science behind these regulations. Our bill will force the Obama Administration to finally start living up to its claim of being the ‘most transparent administration’ in history.”
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.): “The real test for sound science is transparency and reproducibility. Especially at a time when the American people are facing costly and burdensome EPA regulations, underlying science must be scientifically sound and unbiased. I am in strong support of Sen. Barrasso and Rep. Smith’s Secret Science Reform Act, which will ensure scientific research used by the EPA to propose regulations meets this basic test.”
The White House has previously voiced support for regulatory transparency and making scientific and technical information accessible. In accordance with White House recommendations, the Secret Science Reform Act addresses these issues while also protecting personal and confidential information. This common-sense approach to regulatory science is consistent with the data access requirements of major scientific journals and the promises of this administration.Read More
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