(Washington, DC) – Today, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) sent a letter to Secretary of Energy Rick Perry requesting information on recent restrictions placed on Department of Energy (DOE) employees’ federally sponsored travel. Though the DOE has been funded for the full Fiscal Year 2019, Science Committee staff have received reports that their employees were ordered to immediately cancel upcoming agency sponsored travel without sufficient explanation.
“Employee travel is routinely used to build and maintain relationships and knowledge with key colleagues and partners, a particularly important objective considering DOE’s broad geographic presence. So given its appropriated budget, I would like a clear explanation for why DOE may be restricting its employees’ travel without any clear justification for these actions,” Chairwoman Johnson said in the letter.
She continued, “I sincerely hope that these reports are inaccurate. DOE’s effectiveness is vital to ensuring our nation’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental, and nuclear security missions, particularly through the development of transformative science and technology solutions.”
A copy of the full letter can be found here. Read More
(Washington, DC) – Last night, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) introduced H.R. 435, the “National Gun Violence Research Act.” If enacted, H.R. 435 would authorize a national gun violence research program overseen by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and carried out by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Justice. The national research program would examine the nature, causes, consequences, and prevention of violence and unintended injury and death relating to gun ownership, use, and trafficking of firearms.
Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) released the following statement.
“It is truly bewildering that Congress has failed in its duty to address the threat of gun violence in our country. Gun violence is both a public health crisis and a daunting criminal justice challenge. It is past time for action to address it; and one important component for effective action is understanding the problem. We need more research to understand the impact of policies like assault weapons bans, concealed-carry laws, and minimum age requirements on outcomes like suicide, violent crime, and unintended injury and death.
“The National Gun Violence Research Act enables a whole-of-government approach to expanding our knowledge-base on the nature, causes, consequences, and prevention of gun violence. If we are to effectively curb the gun violence epidemic in America, we must invest in gun violence research.
“I want to acknowledge the leadership of Chairman Pallone and Chairman Nadler on this issue. Gun violence research is an issue that necessarily spans multiple federal agencies and, therefore, multiple congressional committees. I look forward to working alongside my colleagues in the 116th Congress to advance the field of gun violence research in order to improve the health and welfare of the American public.” Read More
(Washington, DC) – Last night, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) together introduced H.R. 36, the “Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019” and H.R. 34, the “Energy and Water Research Integration Act of 2019.”
H.R. 36 would expand research efforts to better understand the causes and consequences of sexual harassment affecting individuals in the scientific, technical, engineering, and mathematics workforce, and to examine policies to reduce the prevalence and negative impact of such harassment.
“I am so pleased to be joined by my good friend, Ranking Member Frank Lucas, in introducing both H.R. 36 and H.R. 34,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson. “H.R. 36 is an important first step to ensure equitable access to education and research experiences for women in the sciences. Sexual harassment is driving some of our brightest minds away from careers in research at a time when we need them most. If we are to tackle the scientific and technological challenges ahead of us, we must do more to ensure women are free to conduct their research without being degraded, harassed, or abused because of their gender.”
“H.R. 36 has a foundation of more than a year of investigation, analysis, and recommendations from the Science Committee,” said Ranking Member Frank Lucas. “Pervasive sexual harassment in the scientific community discourages women from critical work in good paying jobs and hurts American competitiveness. It’s unacceptable for taxpayer dollars to fund researchers who are guilty of harassing students or colleagues. Curbing sexual misconduct is a priority that Chairwoman Johnson and I share and I’m proud that this bill is one of the first introduced in this Congress.”
H.R. 34 would ensure consideration of water conservation and use in the Department of Energy’s research, development, and demonstration programs to help guarantee efficient, reliable, and sustainable delivery of energy and clean water resources.
“The Energy and Water Research Integration Act calls attention to the critical link between energy and water and instructs the Department of Energy to ensure due consideration of water issues in its research, development, and demonstration programs and provide additional tools to better guide these efforts well into the future,” said Chairwoman Johnson. “I would like to commend the Department of Energy for taking substantive action on this issue under the leadership of former Secretary Moniz and more recently under Secretary Perry. Working together, I hope that we can demonstrate a strong, sustained commitment to research and development in this vital area.”
“The Energy and Water Research Integration Act is bipartisan legislation that will improve our understanding of the relationship between energy and water use,” said Ranking Member Frank Lucas. “This bill will encourage the development of innovative technologies for water use, reuse, and recovery in the energy sector. Innovations from this research could improve efficiency and reduce water use in oil and gas production across the country and in my home state of Oklahoma.” Read More
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) was elected to serve as the thirteenth Chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee by the Democratic Caucus and confirmed on the House floor. Congresswoman Johnson is the first African-American and the first female Chair of the Science Committee.
Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) released the following statement.
“It is a great honor to be chosen to serve as the Chairwoman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
“I look forward to leading the Committee as we pursue a constructive legislative agenda that advances our nation’s research, development, and innovation enterprise and conducting oversight that will explore emerging science and technology issues and the impacts of the Administration’s science policies on the public and the nation as a whole. We must ensure that our tax dollars are being used effectively, the use of science by our agencies is being protected, and our public health and the environment are not being endangered.
“In my 26 years on this Committee, I have seen some of the best examples of what happens when we come together as lawmakers to work towards solutions. There is much work to be done. I hope that every Member appointed to this Committee will join with me to find solutions for the challenges of today and tomorrow.” Read More
Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
H.R. 36, the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019
American Astronomical Society
American Educational Research Association
“Sexual harassment in the academic workplace has been far too prevalent for far too long and must be eliminated. With this legislation, Congress has an opportunity to make a real difference through concrete, action-oriented steps directed to the pernicious problems so well identified in the recent National Academies consensus report. It is critical to the nation’s scientific enterprise that we have an evidence-based understanding of the causes and consequences of sexual harassment, are gathering national data on sexual harassment, promoting responsible workplace behavior, and coordinating federal science agency efforts in these areas. We applaud the introduction of this bill and urge its swift passage into law.”
Felice J. Levine, Executive Director, American Educational Research Association
American Mathematical Society
“Sexual harassment comes in many forms, is insidious, and indeed destructive of many individual careers. In all its activities, the American Mathematical Society strives to foster a welcoming environment that encourages the free expression and exchange of ideas. Sexual harassment is a form of misconduct that undermines the integrity of the mathematics community and harms the scientific enterprise broadly. We applaud Congresswoman Johnson for leading this effort to address a serious problem for our community.”
Dr. Karen Saxe, Associate Executive Director, American Mathematical Society
American Meteorological Society
American Physical Society
American Political Science Association
Association for Computing Machinery
“ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, supports the enactment of the ‘Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019,’” said ACM CEO Vicki L. Hanson. “Like many scientific organizations, ACM has strengthened its efforts to ensure that no one working in the computing field should experience any form of sexual harassment. ACM’s recently updated Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct identifies sexual harassment as incompatible with our profession and subject to remedial action. We have also revised and strengthened ACM’s Policy Against Harassment. We believe that these are necessary steps to ensure that everyone in our field is welcomed by their peers and that they are treated with respect and dignity they deserve. We believe that additional funding to understand the causes and consequences of harassment is essential to help combat sexual harassment.”
Computing Research Association
Consortium of Social Science Associations
Society for Personality and Social Psychology
The Optical Society
“Technological advancement thrives on a constant influx of new ideas from people with distinct perspectives and skills. To preserve the United States’ reputation for ingenuity, invention and innovation, our institutions of higher learning must foster environments where inclusivity is embraced and harassment and bullying is not tolerated. We cannot allow unacceptable conduct to continue driving women from science and engineering. The Optical Society appreciates Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson's recognition of this critical issue and supports her efforts to understand the contributing factors to and consequences of harassment on the scientific workforce. We further appreciate Ms. Johnson’s efforts to encourage victims to come forward and the establishment of visible and determined actions to address unacceptable conduct.”
Elizabeth A. Rogan, Chief Executive Officer, The Optical Society
Society of Women Engineers
“The Society of Women Engineers is committed to the advancement of women in engineering, and that means supporting women in science and academia. We are pleased that long-time ally, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, is once again standing up for fairness and decency in the scientific world with the introduction of the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act. A report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine confirmed what women in science have long known—not only is sexual harassment pervasive on the campuses of research institutions, it can be cruelly subtle for women scientists. Better understanding the causes and consequences of sexual harassment and reducing its incidence and impact, as the bill proposes, will support the endeavors of current and future female scientists and create a richer research enterprise in the United States.”
Karen Horting, Executive Director & CEO of the Society of Women Engineers
(Dallas, TX) – Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) made the following statement.
“President Trump’s forced government shutdown is a disservice to the hard-working professionals in the Federal government and to the American people. As Ranking Member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, I want to point out that our federal science agencies have a long history of working hard on research and education programs that return huge payoffs to the American people. Those agencies are basically closed for business today. As I’ve noted in previous shutdowns, as our competitors in other countries surge ahead in their R&D investments, we have basically shut down a large chunk of our federal science and technology enterprise. Shutting down the government is an embarrassment and the President should not be ‘proud’ of it.” Read More
(Washington, DC) – Yesterday, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a new report entitled, “Minority Serving Institutions: America’s Underutilized Resource for Strengthening the Stem Workforce.” This report examines strategies to best equip minority-serving institutions (MSIs) capitalize on their unique strengths of providing higher education to underrepresented students of color and low-income backgrounds with the resources, faculty talent, and infrastructure to educate and train the next generation of STEM professionals.
Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) released the following statement.
“The report released yesterday is an important one. Minority-serving institutions serve an out-sized role in educating students in the STEM fields, producing one-fifth of the nation’s STEM bachelor’s degrees. I am proud that in my home state of Texas MSIs account for more than 1/3 of the state’s postsecondary institutions.
“The importance of MSIs in preparing students for the STEM workforce will only increase as our nation’s demographics continue to change. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that we are taking full advantage of MSIs to help grow our nation’s STEM workforce and address the challenges of tomorrow.
“As I look to re-introduce my bill, the STEM Opportunities Act, in the new Congress, I will pay close attention to the recommendations in this report as we consider how we can continue to strengthen that legislation and other STEM legislation before our Committee.” Read More