WASHINGTON - U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) today sent a bipartisan letter to Equifax Inc. requesting additional documents and information regarding the company’s data breach that affected more than 145 million Americans. The letter was co-signed by Science Committee Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).
Today’s letter, which was sent to Equifax’s interim CEO Paulino do Rego Barros Jr., follows Chairman Smith and Chairman Gowdy’s September 14 letter to Equifax’s then-CEO Richard Smith that requested a briefing of committee staff by Equifax and a number of documents related to the breach.
The letter reads in part:
On September 14, 2017, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Committee on Science, Space, and Technology initiated an investigation into the recent data breach of private consumer information at Equifax. We look forward to Equifax providing all documents in response to the five categories of requested materials in the September 14 request, as well as the requests that were made at subsequent Committee briefings.
As the Committees’ investigation continues and additional facts are established, the Committees anticipate making additional requests. The Committees appreciate the company’s willingness to cooperate with our requests for briefings and documents to date.
We have learned key facts through congressional testimony of Equifax officials, including former Equifax Chief Executive Officer Richard Smith when he testified the company’s “information technology personnel” failed to patch the vulnerability that was later exploited, and a scan of the company’s computer systems also failed to find the unpatched software.
To better understand the technical and process failures leading to the loss of over 145.5 million Americans’ personally identifiable information (PII), the Committees require additional information.
The letter can be found here.
In 2015, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) disclosed a major data breach affecting more than 22 million individuals. As a result, the committees conducted oversight and held multiple hearings examining the OPM breach.
The magnitude of the Equifax breach could potentially surpass the amount of information compromised by the OPM breach.
Equifax reportedly first learned on July 29, 2017, hackers had been accessing the PII of as many as 143 million American consumers over the prior two months.
On September 7, 2017 - nearly six weeks later - Equifax notified the public of the breach.
On September 14, 2017, Chairman Smith and Chairman Gowdy sent a letter to Equifax’s then-CEO Richard Smith requesting documents and a briefing related to the data breach.
The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s jurisdiction includes the standards of use for securing personally identifiable information. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has jurisdiction over how data breaches impact the federal workforce and national security. Read More
WASHINGTON - The U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, chaired by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), today unanimously approved four bills relating to science, technology, engineering, math and computer science (STEM) education. The STEM Research and Education Effectiveness and Transparency Act (H.R. 4375) was introduced by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), chairwoman of the Research and Technology Subcommittee. The Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act (H.R. 4323) was introduced by Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.). The Women in Aerospace Education Act (H.R. 4254) was introduced by Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.), vice chairman of the Energy Subcommittee. The Building Blocks of STEM Act (H.R. 3397) was introduced by Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.).
Chairman Smith: “STEM education and career development is the key to enhancing the workforce of today – and tomorrow – and to ensuring U.S. leadership in technology and innovation. Today’s Committee passage of these bipartisan bills empowers us to assess the effectiveness of NSF’s STEM education programs and have more transparent data about federal grants. Jointly, these bills also support early childhood STEM education research, strengthen aerospace workforce opportunities for women, and promote veterans’ involvement in STEM programs. I appreciate my colleagues’ work on this legislation, and I look forward to considering these bills on the House Floor.”
Chairwoman Comstock: “In order to have a vibrant economy that provides opportunity and prosperity for all, we need to develop the talent of all Americans in STEM fields. By requiring NSF to report and make recommendations to Congress regarding the effectiveness of its research and education programs, we will be able to better understand which programs are effectively broadening the participation of women and historically underrepresented individuals in STEM. Graduates in STEM fields have the potential to develop technologies that could save lives, jump-start new industries or lead productive lives as scientists, engineers, astronauts, mathematicians or many other STEM careers. I thank my colleague Ranking Member Johnson for her leadership on this issue and look forward to working together to get this passed into law.”
Rep. Dunn: “This bill is a common-sense step to honor our commitment to America’s veterans. It also will bring highly trained service members into innovative STEM fields and help keep America’s economy on the cutting edge. I commend Chairman Lamar Smith on his leadership in broadening opportunities in STEM fields for our veterans.”
Vice Chairman Knight: “If we are to remain competitive in this increasingly dynamic and competitive global economy, it's essential that we promote STEM education and careers in our youth. The Women in Aerospace Education Act, along with the Building Blocks of STEM Act, of which I am proud to co-lead with Congresswoman Rosen, will ensure our young minds are equipped with the knowledge and experience to lead our industry into the future.”
Chairwoman Comstock’s STEM Research and Education Effectiveness and Transparency Act provides for a study and report on broadening participation in certain National Science Foundation (NSF) research and education programs and requires more data on federal research grant applications. It was introduced on November 13, 2017. The bill text can be found here.
Rep. Dunn’s Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act promotes veterans’ involvement in STEM education, computer science and scientific research. It was introduced on November 9, 2017. The bill text can be found here.
Vice Chairman Knight’s Women in Aerospace Education Act amends the NSF Authorization Act to strengthen the aerospace workforce pipeline for women through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program and NASA internship and fellowship opportunities. It was introduced on November 6, 2017. The bill text, amended to provide fellows and scholars research and intern experience at national labs and NASA centers, can be found here.
Rep. Rosen’s Building Blocks of STEM Act directs NSF to support STEM education research focused on early childhood. It was introduced on July 25, 2017. During markup, Chairwoman Comstock added provisions to the bill to award grants to encourage young girls’ participation in computer science and to update the NSF Noyce Teacher Scholarship program to include informatics. The amended bill text can be found here.
Letters of support for these bills can be found here. Read More
WASHINGTON - The U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, chaired by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), today unanimously approved three bills enhancing Department of Energy (DOE) basic research. The Department of Energy Research Infrastructure Act (H.R. 4376) was introduced by Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.), vice chairman of the Energy Subcommittee. The Accelerating American Leadership in Science Act (H.R. 4377) was introduced by Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), a member of the Energy Subcommittee. The Nuclear Energy Research Infrastructure Act (H.R. 4378) was introduced by Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas), chairman of the Energy Subcommittee.
Chairman Smith: “Maintaining America’s leadership in energy research infrastructure is a crucial priority for our Committee. Together, these three bills direct and authorize investments in DOE user facilities across the country that jointly host more than 30,000 researchers each year. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their commitment to our shared goals of supporting basic research and continually improving the world’s best science facilities.”
Vice Chairman Steve Knight: “For over a century, the United States has lead the world in scientific discovery and advanced technology. The discoveries and innovations created by American minds have not only provided immeasurable value to our economy, but have also improved the quality of life for all of mankind. The research advanced in this bill has the potential to be a generational leap in our understanding of the natural world.”
Rep. Hultgren: “The crown jewel in our nation’s research ecosystem—our national labs—lead the world in groundbreaking scientific research and employ thousands of scientists working on vital experiments. Open to the entire research community and other federal agencies, these facilities are the envy of the world, and other nations working to catch up and replicate our success. The Department of Energy’s Office of Science operates and maintains this large-scale research infrastructure which no single university or business has the capacity to propose. I introduced the Accelerating American Leadership in Science Act to ensure the United States remains the destination for the best and brightest in the world to continue their work exploring the outer reaches of our scientific knowledge. The research done at these facilities, and the technology they produce, reaffirms American leadership in fields that will improve lives and increase domestic jobs here in Illinois.”
Chairman Weber: “Access to fast neutrons is a critical part of the development of next generation materials and fuels for advanced nuclear reactor technology. The Nuclear Energy Research Infrastructure Act allocates funds from within the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy for the construction of the Versatile Neutron Source. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work alongside my fellow Texans, and the other members of this Committee, to support research infrastructure that will keep America safe, globally competitive and encourage nuclear innovation.”
Vice Chairman Knight’s DOE Research Infrastructure Act directs and authorizes the secretary of energy to upgrade the Advanced Light Source, to complete the Linac Coherent Light Source II High Energy upgrade and to complete construction of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams via funding allocated from within the DOE Office of Science budget. It was introduced on November 13, 2017. The bill text can be found here.
Rep. Hultgren’s Accelerating American Leadership in Science Act directs and authorizes the secretary of energy to upgrade the Advanced Photon Source, to construct a Long Baseline Neutrino Facility, to provide a proton power upgrade to the Spallation Neutron Source and to construct a second target station for the Spallation Neutron Source via funding allocated from within the DOE Office of Science budget. It was introduced on November 13, 2017. The bill text can be found here.
Chairman Weber’s Nuclear Energy Research Infrastructure Act directs and authorizes the secretary of energy to construct a Versatile Neutron Source user facility via funding allocated from within the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy. It was introduced on November 13, 2017. The bill text can be found here. Read More
H.R. 4376, the “Department of Energy Research Infrastructure Act of 2017,” approved by voice vote
H.R. 4377, the “Accelerating American Leadership in Science Act of 2017,” approved by voice vote
H.R. 4378, the “Nuclear Energy Research Infrastructure Act of 2017,” approved by voice vote
H.R. 4375, the “STEM Research and Education Effectiveness and Transparency Act,” approved by voice vote
H.R. 4323, the “Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act,” approved by voice vote
H.R. 4254, the “Women in Aerospace Education Act,” approved by voice vote
Amendment 037, offered by Mr. Knight, approved by voice vote
H.R. 3397, the “Building Blocks of STEM Act,” approved by voice vote
Amendment 001, offered by Ms. Comstock, approved by voice vote
Full Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
Energy Subcommittee Vice Chairman Steve Knight (R-Calif.)
Rep. Hultgren (R-Ill.)
Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas)
Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Comstock (R-Va.)
Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.)
Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.)
Letters of Support for H.R. 4323, the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act
Association of the United States Navy
Blinded Veterans Association
Paralyzed Veterans of America
The Retired Enlisted Association
Marine Corps League
Student Veterans of America
Letter of Support for Four STEM Bills
STEM Education Coalition Read More
Dyslexia differs from other learning disabilities. These differences are highly specific and readily identifiable. In dyslexic readers, these neural systems function inefficiently – the signature of dyslexia. There may be other indicators, as well.
With early identification and timely intervention, affected individuals can live productive lives and accomplish great things. Even Nobel Prize-winning scientists, some of the greatest and most creative individuals, have overcome dyslexia.
Dr. Sally Shaywitz, one of the nation’s leading authorities on dyslexia, told a hearing of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, “The really good news is that science is there for those who are dyslexic. We have not a knowledge gap but an action gap.”
In order to close the action gap, we authored the Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia Act – the READ Act. After winning unanimous Congressional support, the READ Act was signed into law in February 2016. The new law directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to prioritize dyslexia research that supports action: “early identification of children and students with dyslexia, professional development for teachers and administrators of students with dyslexia, and curricula and educational tools needed for children with dyslexia.”
Thirty states now mandate early dyslexia screening. More teachers and school administrators are receiving special training to recognize dyslexia and deliver individualized instruction and support for affected students. More schools are implementing proven new teaching methods and learning tools. These successes are encouraging.
Nevertheless, millions of Americans with dyslexia remain undiagnosed and untreated. In thousands of public schools, children are not effectively screened. Even when a young student is identified as having dyslexia, many teachers do not have the training and learning support tools to deliver needed intensive reading skills intervention.
Further, undiagnosed dyslexia leads to heart-breaking problems. More than eight million of our schoolchildren are affected, according to estimates. Children with undiagnosed and untreated dyslexia have reading struggles that make learning in every subject more difficult. They are more likely to drop out of high school and half as likely to go to college.
As adults, individuals with untreated dyslexia face lifelong challenges and their reading difficulties are likely to be permanent. They have significantly lower lifetime earnings and much higher unemployment. They also experience higher rates of mental health issues and incarceration and lower life expectancy. Their children face substantial risks of the same problems. The accumulated costs of millions of cases of unfulfilled potential are an enormous burden and an ongoing tragedy that deserves our attention.
Last month, an NSF-supported conference about the READ Act brought together learning disability researchers from across the country. Information presented at the conference underscored the importance of timely, results-driven actions. Studies show that nearly three-quarters of children with dyslexia will attain their expected educational development if two practical actions are adopted in every school district: simple, standardized screening for reading difficulties among children in kindergarten and first grade, and explicit, comprehensive reading instruction for those who are identified as having dyslexia.
Changing the way we approach dyslexia will create opportunities for brighter, more productive futures for millions of young Americans. It also will help individuals follow in the footsteps of geniuses like Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple, who overcame dyslexia and achieved wonderful, helpful innovations for our country and humankind.
The READ Act was authored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and cosponsored by Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) and Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.). Chairman Smith and Rep. Brownley co-chair the bipartisan Congressional Dyslexia Caucus. Read More
Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Darin LaHood (R-Ill.)
Full Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
Ms. Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary, Cybersecurity and Communications, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Department of Homeland Security
Ms. Renee Wynn, chief information officer, NASA [Truth in Testimony]
Ms. Essye Miller, deputy chief information officer for cybersecurity, Department of Defense [Truth in Testimony]
Dr. Mark Jacobson, associate teaching professor, Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University [Truth in Testimony] Read More