Full Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas)
Mr. Edward McGinnis, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, U.S. Department of Energy [Truth in Testimony]
Mr. Harlan Bowers, President, X-energy [Truth in Testimony]
Dr. John Parsons, Co-Chair, MIT Study on the Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World [Truth in Testimony]
Dr. John Wagner, Associate Laboratory Director, Nuclear Science & Technology, Idaho National Laboratory [Truth in Testimony]
Full Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas)
Mr. William Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA [Truth in Testimony]
Mr. Mark Geyer, Director, Johnson Space Center, NASA [Truth in Testimony]
Ms. Jody Singer, Director, Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA [Truth in Testimony]
Mr. Robert Cabana, Director, John F. Kennedy Space Center, NASA [Truth in Testimony] Read More
WASHINGTON – Today the House of Representatives approved H.R. 302, the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018, by a vote of 398-23.
H.R. 302 includes the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s FAA Leadership in Groundbreaking High-Tech Research and Development Act (the FLIGHT R&D Act) as Title VII.
The FLIGHT R&D Act was introduced by Science Subcommittee on Energy Vice Chairman Steve Knight and prioritizes safety research and development in American aviation. Specifically, it requires that 70% of annual FAA R&D funding be directed to safety research, up from less than 60% today. Additionally, it establishes an FAA Associate Administrator for Research and Development to oversee all of FAA’s R&D programs.
Title VII of H.R. 302 also includes the Geospatial Data Act, originally introduced by former Science Committee member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.). This language establishes better coordination for more effective use of geospatial data.
Two additional provisions outside Title VII but within the Science Committee’s jurisdiction were also included in the bill. The first provides for specified aircraft operations of space support vehicles licensed under Title 51, the U.S. space code.
The other establishes a DOT Office of Spaceports and a national spaceports policy report to support and promote FAA-licensed spaceports to meet national security and civil space launch demands.
“The FAA Reauthorization Act includes important Science Committee provisions that promote coordination and innovation to enhance American aviation and commercial space transportation. Title VII prioritizes research and development into critical safety issues. I thank House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune for working with the Science Committee on these reforms.”
Vice Chairman Knight:
“Air travel has become an integral part of many of our modern lives. From traveling for business, vacation, or to visit friends and family, we spend more time in airplanes than we ever have before. With the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act, the provisions of the FLIGHT R&D Act will invest the necessary resources to ensure the safety, comfort, and reliability of air travel. I’m very pleased the House moved forward today to advance American aviation and I’d like to thank Chairman Smith and my colleagues on the Science Committee who have played a crucial role in this process.”
The full text of the bill is available here. Read More
WASHINGTON – Today the House of Representatives unanimously approved H.R. 6398, the Department of Energy Veterans’ Health Initiative Act.
The bill, introduced by Environment Subcommittee Vice Chairman Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), authorizes collaborative research between the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to solve complex, big data challenges focused on veterans’ health care and basic science.
The DOE and VA are currently collaborating on the “Million Veterans Program–Computational Health Analytics for Medical Precision to Improve Outcomes Now,” also known as MVP-CHAMPION. Through this initiative, the VA collects health care data from veterans who have volunteered to participate and transfers it to DOE, where it is stored and analyzed in a secure site. This partnership and exchange of data benefits both DOE and the VA and can improve healthcare services to our veterans.
H.R. 6398 statutorily authorizes the continuation of the MVP-CHAMPION program, and supports the vital collaborative research being done between the DOE and VA to understand various diseases and improve veterans’ quality of life. Rep. Norman’s legislations also authorizes a two-year DOE pilot program to advance research in artificial intelligence, data analytics, and computational research. The pilot program will further enhance DOE’s computing capabilities to meet nuclear science, energy, and security mission goals of the department.
Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry:
“The Department of Energy is home to six of the ten fastest supercomputers in the world. The Department of Veterans Affairs possesses the world’s richest medical data set. This legislation enables DOE and the VA to join forces to analyze and better understand veteran-related illnesses. I commend the House of Representatives for passing this important legislation. We all should have no higher priority than to provide the bravest among us with the best medical research the world has to offer."
“This legislation enables both the important work and resources of the DOE and VA to improve the quality of healthcare for our deserving veterans. By gaining access to the VA’s extensive genomic and health care database, the DOE is able to leverage its world leading supercomputers to develop next generation computing, algorithms and modeling capabilities to solve critical health challenges. This interagency partnership will help researchers gain fundamental knowledge on big data analytics, while allowing others to benefit from the Department’s growing expertise. I thank Rep. Norman for his hard work on this important piece of legislation.”
Rep. Ralph Norman:
“Our veterans should have access to better health care services and our scientist should remain on the cutting edge of big data analytics and advanced computing. This legislation will allow the Department of Energy and the Department of Veterans Affairs to work together, to improve the medical care of our veterans. Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our nation, and they deserve the best care possible. I am proud to sponsor legislation that will not only work to ensure our veterans receive the best care they need, but also ensures our nation remains a leader in innovation and technological advancement.”
The full text of the bill is available here. Read More
WASHINGTON – Today the House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation to support education and workforce development programs in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science (STEM) fields.
H.R. 5509, the Innovations in Mentoring, Training, and Apprenticeships Act, is sponsored by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and cosponsored by Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
More than two million jobs in STEM fields are projected to go unfilled in the next decade. H.R. 5509 directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide awards to academic institutions for innovative approaches to STEM education and related workforce development programs. The bill strengthens the workforce pipeline in STEM fields through apprenticeships and other applied learning opportunities with regional employers in in-demand STEM fields for two-year degree programs, technical skills certificates and baccalaureate STEM degree programs. The bill also requires NSF to conduct research to improve our understanding of the skilled technical workforce.
Majority Leader McCarthy:
“Making sure this century is America’s century means supporting opportunities for success in a competitive economy. Today’s passage of the Innovations in Mentoring, Training, and Apprenticeships Act will support education and training that fit the needs of the community. This targeted approach is a strong step in the right direction to fitting students with careers—not just jobs. I thank Chairman Smith for his help in getting this bill across the House floor.”
“In today’s technologically driven economy, our country faces the challenge of meeting the demand for a strong STEM workforce. H.R. 5509 is a step towards ensuring our country remains competitive. By directing the National Science Foundation to develop and support innovative STEM programs, American students will have a greater opportunity to succeed in this global economy. I thank Leader McCarthy for his hard work to build and strengthen the country’s STEM workforce.”
Click here to see a statement of support of H.R. 5509 from James Brown, executive director of the STEM Education Coalition.
Text of the bill can be found here. Read More
WASHINGTON - Today the House of Representatives unanimously approved H.R. 6229, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Reauthorization Act of 2018. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), chairwoman of the Research and Technology Subcommittee, and cosponsored by Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), full committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas).
H.R 6229 supports and strengthens the research, measurement, and standards programs of NIST. The bill authorizes a $125 million increase to the NIST scientific and technical research and services lab account to transform basic research into new innovations and technologies. This investment will accelerate research and development in emerging technology areas such as quantum information science (QIS), cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and composite materials.
“If America is to remain competitive in this increasingly dynamic global economy, it is essential that we support technology programs that will pave the way for American innovation. This bill will help ensure NIST maintains its position as a global leader in science and technology and keep American industry at the forefront. I thank Chairwoman Comstock for her leadership on this bill and my colleagues on the Science Committee for their support.”
Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Comstock:
“NIST’s mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve all American’s quality of life. Since its establishment in 1901, NIST has helped position U.S. technology at the leading edge, making contributions to many products and services. The legislation we were able to pass today, reauthorizes NIST for the next 2 years, increasing funds for quantum science, artificial intelligence and data science, advanced communications and the Internet of Things, and composites research and standards development. This legislation will lead to innovations and solutions to 21st century problems.”
Click here to view the full text of the bill. Read More
In the letter, Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Research and Technology Chairwoman Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) summarize the Committee’s continued oversight and allegations of sexual misconduct within the scientific community and provide recommendations for the GAO to further explore and provide potential solutions.
Full text of the letter can be found here.
On January 18, 2018, Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson sent a letter to GAO requesting a full study of sexual misconduct regarding federal grant making agencies’ compliance with relevant laws and policies.
Past letters regarding reports of a federal grant recipient’s sexual misconduct are available here, here, and here.
Information on the Committee’s hearing, A Review of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct in Science, can be found here. Read More
WASHINGTON – Members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee sent a letter to Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The letter reports on the Committee’s continued oversight of allegations of sexual misconduct within the scientific community to enable GAO to further explore and provide potential solutions to prevent these issues. On January 18, 2018, Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson sent a letter to GAO requesting a full study of sexual misconduct regarding federal grant making agencies’ compliance with relevant laws and policies. Since the request was made, several independent reports and findings of inappropriate behavior, sexual misconduct, and persistent issues within the scientific and academic communities have emerged.
The Committee provided four recommendations to the GAO to consider:
Consistent and effective training across the concerned communities to reduce sexual misconduct.
Clear, accessible structures to make reporting sexual misconduct easier.
Reconsidering the academic model of having a single advisor responsible for overseeing a student or trainee. This dynamic, and the resulting fear of reprisal, discourages reporting of sexual misconduct.
Implementing and enforcing effective consequences, including the cancelation of federal grants.
The letter was issued at the same time as an announcement of new National Science Foundation (NSF) grant terms and conditions designed to ensure researchers who have engaged in sexual harassment or assault are not awarded federal funding.
“No taxpayer dollars should be awarded to a researcher who engages in harassment and inappropriate behavior toward a colleague or a student under their charge. The Committee conducted a thorough investigation and made a series of recommendations to remedy this problem. NSF’s final rule is a significant step towards addressing sexual misconduct in the academic and scientific communities.”
Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Comstock:
“We must have strong policies in place to protect women in the sciences from sexual harassment to keep them in the STEM fields. And the Government Accountability Office must help Congress and the Federal government identify how to enforce these policies and weed out the predators that have eluded the system. STEM careers often are top paying jobs, and they are vital positions in keeping the United States competitive in the 21st economy. We are demanding action be taken to better protect and promote women in the workforce, to prevent sexual harassment, and to hold any predators accountable.”
The statistics suggest that sexual misconduct is pervasive among the scientific and academic communities. A review of a variety of studies at a 2016 workshop held by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine revealed that 40-70 percent of women had experienced sexual harassment during their careers or as students.
These statistics are especially troubling given the effect this behavior has on the reduction of women in STEM fields. At a Research and Technology Subcommittee hearing in February of this year, witnesses all testified that women are leaving STEM fields because of unprofessional behavior.
These findings—along with the Committee’s investigation and research of sexual misconduct across federal agencies, federal grant recipients, scientific industries, and academic communities—demonstrate the need to reform how sexual misconduct is addressed.
The full text of the letter is available here.
Past letters regarding reports of a federal grant recipient’s sexual misconduct are available here, here, and here. Read More
WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives unanimously cleared S.97, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, for the President’s signature. Based on language originated by Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas), the bill directs and authorizes the Department of Energy (DOE) to enable the American nuclear power industry to conduct civilian nuclear energy research and development that will advance our leadership in nuclear technology.
The bill was first introduced in Congress in 2015 by Weber alongside Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas).
The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act is the result of four years of bipartisan collaboration and coordination with the DOE, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and private sector stakeholders.
This legislation authorizes the research, facilities, and infrastructure necessary to help the development of new advanced nuclear reactors. It directs long-term research at DOE and authorizes a research reactor that will provide access to the fast neutrons necessary for advanced nuclear reactor technology.
The bill also establishes the National Reactor Innovation Center, which allows the testing and development of commercial advanced reactor prototypes at DOE sites. This will reduce the regulatory burden for a broad range of new reactor designs, encourage private sector leadership on the commercialization of these designs, and facilitate the growth of safe and reliable nuclear energy.
“Nuclear power has been a proven source of safe and emission-free electricity for over half a century. This legislation encourages private sector innovation, helps to maintain American leadership in this field, and allows us to continue to advance reliable nuclear technology. I look forward to seeing this bill signed into law.”
Ranking Member Johnson:
“Implementing the provisions in this bill will help accelerate the development of advanced nuclear energy technologies that are safer, less expensive, more efficient, and produce less waste than the current generation of nuclear reactors. I hope that it will also help ensure a brighter future for the U.S. nuclear energy industry. This bill is a great example of what we can achieve when we leave politics at the door and look for common ground to address the challenges facing our nation’s research enterprise.”
Energy Subcommittee Chairman Weber:
“Access to fast neutrons affords us an opportunity to explore the crucial development of next generation reactor designs, materials, and nuclear fuels. The Versatile Neutron Source authorized in our bill gives our scientists and national labs the tools do just that. We can’t afford to lose the ability to discover innovative nuclear technology here at home. America should lead the global marketplace. I’d like to thank Chairman Lamar Smith, Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson, Senator Mike Crapo, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for their efforts as we advance our bill all the way to the President’s desk.”
The full text of the bill can be found here. Read More
Environment Subcommittee Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.)
Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Ralph Abraham (R-La)
Ms. Linda Tsang, Legislative Attorney, Congressional Research Service [Truth in Testimony]
Mr. Collin Long, Director of Government Affairs, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association [Truth in Testimony]
Dr. Paul J. Miller, Deputy Director & Chief Scientist, Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management [Truth in Testimony]
Dr. Richard B. Belzer, Independent Consultant in Regulation, Risk, Economics & Information Quality [Truth in Testimony] Read More