Agenda: Resolution Authorizing the Chairman to Issue SubpoenasRead More
The Administration’s Climate Plan: Failure by DesignRead More
Washington, D.C. – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today officially noticed a meeting of the Oversight Subcommittee for Wednesday, September 17, 2014, to enable Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun (R-Ga.) to issue a subpoena to former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, a top Assistant to President Obama during the launch of HealthCare.gov last November.
After refusing to testify before the Science Committee on multiple occasions without a subpoena, Science Advisor to the President John Holdren offered for Mr. Park to brief the Oversight Subcommittee. Mr. Park scheduled a briefing for Members of the Oversight Subcommittee on Wednesday, September 10, 2014, regarding his management and oversight of the HealthCare.gov website, including security protocols. However, less than 24 hours in advance, the White House cancelled the briefing because they did not want any official transcript of the discussion.
Chairman Smith: “The White House has failed to provide this Committee with information about the security of the Obamacare website. This week, the administration cancelled a briefing less than 24 hours in advance because they did not want it to be on-the-record. What is the White House trying to hide? The Obama administration has a responsibility to ensure that the personal and financial data collected by the government is secure. Last week, news reports revealed that a hacker successfully breached the Obamacare website in July. And we don’t know how many other security breaches have gone unreported. The American people deserve transparency and accountability for the security of their personal information on HealthCare.gov. That is why the Oversight Subcommittee next week will vote to subpoena this information, compelling Mr. Park to testify under oath.”
Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Broun: “Since October 31st of last year, the Committee has invited Todd Park on five occasions to testify at a hearing about his knowledge of the website HealthCare.gov. The Committee also made a comprehensive request of OSTP for relevant records. To date, OSTP has failed to comply with the Committee’s requests as Members have yet to question Mr. Park about HealthCare.gov, nor have we received all responsive documents from OSTP as evidenced by those in the Committee’s possession from sources other than OSTP. OSTP’s response to the Committee is intolerable, and makes me question what other documents might be withheld not just from this Committee, but from other congressional committees. I appreciate Chairman Smith’s willingness to enable the Oversight Subcommittee to move forward with a subpoena, and I look forward to finally getting some answers from Mr. Park about HealthCare.gov.”
Emails obtained by the Science Committee between Mr. Park and his colleagues appear to contradict his previous congressional testimony. The subpoena would require the White House to provide all documents and emails pertaining to Todd Park’s involvement in development of the website. It will also oblige Mr. Park to appear before the Oversight Subcommittee to provide testimony under oath. Mr. Park, who recently stepped down as Chief Technology Officer, was the co-chair of the White House’s Affordable Care Act Information Technology Exchanges Steering Committee, a body responsible for overseeing security protocols during development of the HealthCare.gov website.Read More
Washington, D.C. – The Space Subcommittee today held a hearing to review issues facing planetary exploration of our solar system, including NASA’s proposed budget for planetary science, and potential commercial interests. Witnesses also testified on the American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities In Deep Space (ASTEROIDS) Act, H.R. 5063.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Congress has made it clear, on a bipartisan and bicameral basis, that we value the planetary science community and the important work they do. Planetary science missions help lay the ground work for manned missions. If the administration does not support planetary science, how can they claim to have serious interest in human space exploration? The president’s budget requests have made it clear that this administration does not consider planetary science a priority. Over the past two years, the Obama administration has significantly cut funding for NASA’s Planetary Science Division.”
In May, the House passed the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill (H.R. 4660) by a bipartisan vote of 321 to 87. The bill provides $170 million more to the Planetary Science Division than the president’s budget request for FY15.
The Senate Committee on Appropriations also approved a bill that would provide $23 million above the president’s request.
Witnesses also testified on the merits of the ASTEROIDS Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Congressman Bill Posey (R-Fla.) and Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.). The bill addresses property rights issues for commercial and private entities interested in utilizing resources found in asteroids.
Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.): “It is no secret that this committee has expressed significant skepticism with regards to the President’s current proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission or ARM. NASA’s own experts have been critical of the plan. While I am indeed interested in the opportunities offered by near-Earth objects, I continue to be concerned that the administration is not heeding the warnings of these experts for the mission that it has designed. The “American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities in Deep Space Act,” or Asteroids Act, is a bipartisan bill introduced by Congressman Posey and Congressman Kilmer. It is my sincere hope that the administration will stop spending time on poorly designed and executed missions such as ARM and look to the private sector and scientists for input on the best way to maximize our limited resources.”
The following witnesses testified today before the Subcommittee:
Dr. Jim Green, Director, NASA Planetary Science DivisionDr. Jim Bell, Professor of Earth and Space Science Exploration, Arizona State University, and President, Board of Directors, The Planetary SocietyDr. Mark Sykes, CEO and Director, Planetary Science InstituteJoanne Gabrynowicz, Professor Emerita, Director Emerita, Journal of Space Law Editor-in-Chief Emerita, University of MississippiDr. Philip Christensen, Co-Chair, NRC Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science (CAPS), Chair, Mars Panel, NRC Planetary Decadal Survey, Regents Professor, Arizona State University
For additional information on today’s hearing, including witness testimony, you can visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.Read More
Washington, D.C. – The Subcommittees on Energy and Oversight today held a joint hearing to examine the characteristics and behavior of crude oil produced from the Bakken region in North Dakota, Montana and Canada. A report released by the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in July 2014 concluded that Bakken petroleum “is more volatile than most other types of crude – which correlates to increased ignitability and flammability.” However, witnesses today including from the Department of Energy (DOE), agreed that that such a claim requires further evaluation.
Energy Subcommittee Chairman Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.): “Petroleum from the Bakken region recently passed 1 million barrels per day, which accounts for approximately 12% of total domestic production. This is an important resource for the United States and it deserves due attention. The assertion that volatility necessarily correlates to increased ignitability and flammability have generated significant controversy.”
Testimony from both PHMSA and DOE witnesses clarified the context of volatility, explaining that petroleum from the Bakken region is properly classified as a “light, sweet crude oil” and not outside the norms for light crude oils. Further, the DOE witness stated that “more scientific analysis is needed to better define the relationship between volatility and ignitability/flammability.”
Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun (R-Ga.): “The Department of Transportation report’s comparison of the Bakken crude, which is classified as a light, sweet crude, to crude oil in general, including heavier crudes, is a bit like comparing apples to oranges because light sweet crudes as a class are generally considered to be more volatile than heavier crudes. Energy independence creates a healthy economy, jobs at home, and directly correlates to our national security by limiting how much we rely on foreign energy imports to survive and prosper. America is on the road toward energy independence, with domestic crude contributing extensively, and it would be disastrous to impede on this extraordinary possibility.”
The following witnesses testified today before the subcommittees: Panel I:Mr. Timothy Butters, Deputy Administrator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Department of TransportationMr. Chris Smith, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Fossil Energy, U.S. Department of Energy Panel II:Ms. Kari Cutting, Vice President, North Dakota Petroleum CouncilMr. John Auers, Executive Vice President, Turner, Mason, & CompanyMr. Mark Zoanetti, Deputy Chief of Special Operations, Syracuse Fire Department
For more information about the hearing, including witness testimony, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.Read More
Washington, D.C. – The Research and Technology Subcommittee today held a joint hearing with the Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies to review the strategy, mission, programs, projects, and other activities of the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS S&T).
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “DHS S&T has yet to provide the necessary strategy and technology to control our nation’s borders. A nation that has lost control of its border has lost control of its future. But not only is the Directorate in a position to help secure our physical border, but also can better protect our virtual borders related to network and information technology. On a daily basis, our nation’s economy and security are threatened by cyber criminals and hackers. While the Senate remains immobile, we will continue our work on solutions here in the House. Unsecure physical and virtual borders threaten our national and economic security.”
In July, the Science Committee held a hearing on technologies that would help to secure the border. At that hearing, witnesses discussed the need for a unified strategy and consistent metrics for developing border technologies. Testimony from today’s hearing will help inform a potential reauthorization of the DHS S&T.
Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.): “Twelve years ago, the Homeland Security Act tasked the S&T Directorate with the coordination and integration of the research, development, demonstration, and testing and evaluation activities of DHS. Unfortunately, the DHS S&T has not yet been able to accomplish this task.”
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found DHS’s research and development (R&D) efforts to be “fragmented and overlapping.” In previous years, the GAO found hundreds of millions of dollars being spent each year on duplicative R&D projects by other offices within the department. DHS S&T will spend $1.2 billion this year on numerous projects.
Testifying today was DHS Under Secretary for S&T Reginald Brothers and Mr. David C. Maurer, Director of Homeland Security and Justice at GAO. For more information about the hearing, including witness testimony, please visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.Read More
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