Science, Space, and Technology

Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Frank Lucas

EPA’s IRIS Program: Reviewing its Progress and Roadblocks Ahead


Opening Statements Read More

Revitalizing American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing


Chairwoman Johnson and Ranking Member Lucas Request Delay of 5G Spectrum Auction


(Washington, DC) – Today, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) sent letters to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioners Michael O’Rielly, Brendan Carr, Jessica Rosenworcel, and Geoffrey Starks with concerns about the FCC’s plan to auction radio frequency spectrum for 5G wireless communications tomorrow. The frequency spectrum being considered has a potential for signal interference with Earth observation sensors for weather and climate forecasting which operate at adjacent spectrum frequencies. “The water vapor channel is critical to weather sensing, monitoring, forecasting, and warning, and understanding climate patterns. Any interferences with this channel would therefore seriously impact public safety,” Chairwoman Johnson and Ranking Member Lucas said in the letters. They continued, “Our concern is not with 5G technology. We are strong supporters of advancing America’s telecommunications infrastructure. However, advancements in telecommunications should not come at the expense of the safety and security of the American people. We are therefore asking for you to delay the auction of 5G spectrum until NOAA, NASA, and the DOD have been adequately consulted and their concerns have been addressed.” Read More

Chairwoman Johnson Opening Statement for Hearing on America’s Future in Space


 (Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is holding a full Committee hearing titled, “America in Space: Future Visions, Current Issues.” Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s (D-TX) opening statement for the record is below. Good morning and welcome.  I especially want to welcome our distinguished witnesses. I have often said that this Committee is about the future, and I commend to you the words on the wall behind me: “For I dipped into the future, far as human eyes could see.  Saw the world and all the wonder that would be.” I cite them because they, like outer space, capture the child-like wonder and hope for the future that are shared by young and old. This morning’s hearing, “America in Space: Future Visions, Current Issues” allows us to contemplate the visions, the wonder, and the possibilities for our nation’s future in civil space. And I hope we don’t lose touch with that sense of wonder as we look ahead.  This year we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing.  It was a monumental event in human history. Our astronauts have continuously occupied the space station in low Earth orbit for almost 20 years and carried out research there, while learning to live and work in space. Our scientific spacecraft have visited every planet in the solar system, and they continuously monitor our own planet’s health. Our commercial space sector is growing, offering innovative capabilities and potential new services. What will our future in space look like 10, 20, or 30 years out? Where are we going to be with human exploration in 2050? What would the discovery of life beyond Earth mean for humanity here on Earth? What will the roles and relationships of government and commercial space actors be? What will our response to the increasing number and capabilities of other nations in space be? Multiple studies and commissions have wrestled with these and other questions.  Today we’re fortunate to have renowned leaders in space science, human exploration, and international security to share with us their perspectives.  I look forward to hearing their testimonies.  I know they will help inform our future oversight and legislative activities in the 116th Congress.  A few days ago, the Administration released its Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal.  Relative to the Fiscal Year 2019 enacted appropriation, NASA’s budget would be cut, and it would not keep pace with inflation in the outyears. I will have more to say about the budget in future hearings, but for now, I will just note that I’m not sure how much vision fits into a budget that shrinks in real terms each year. If we want America to lead with a visionary and effective space program, we must be willing to commit the resources and funding stability to achieve it. Read More

America in Space: Future Visions, Current Issues


Opening Statements Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) Read More

Letters to FCC Chairman and Commissioners Requesting the Delay of 5G Spectrum Auction


Letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Letter to FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly Letter to FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr Letter to FCC Commissioner Jessia Rosenworcel Letter to FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks Read More

Engineering Our Way to a Sustainable Bioeconomy


Opening Statements Chairwoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) Read More

Chairwoman Johnson Opening Statement for Engineering Biology Hearing


(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology is holding a hearing titled, “Engineering Our Way to a Sustainable Bioeconomy.” Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s (D-TX) opening statement for the record is below. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman for holding this hearing. And I want to thank you and the Ranking Member for putting together such a distinguished panel of witnesses. This morning, we will hear about engineering biology research and its applications in energy, agriculture, manufacturing, the environment and human health. We have invited academic researchers, a small company, as well as experts on the ethics and security implications of engineering biology to help us understand how we can maintain U.S. leadership in engineering biology and achieve a sustainable bioeconomy. Engineering biology research allows researchers to safely re-engineer existing biological systems and to learn from and mimic existing biological systems to perform novel tasks and develop novel materials and products. Technologies enabled by engineering biology are exciting and have the potential to solve some of society’s greatest challenges, including providing food for a growing population, reducing our dependency on fossil fuels, and dramatically transforming manufacturing. They also have numerous applications for human health as well as for the environment. Because of the great promise of this research and its applications, I first introduced the Engineering Biology Research and Development Act in 2015. By then, several other countries had already prioritized engineering biology and developed national strategies for their investments, and I was concerned that the U.S. risked losing our leadership in an industry we historically dominated. Here we are, four years later, and instead of pulling together the expert stakeholders to develop such as strategy, the Trump Administration is proposing massive cuts to our science budgets once again. There is no question that we would cede our leadership in engineering biology—as well as in many other areas of science and technology—if the President’s proposed cuts to the nation’s R&D enterprise were to be enacted into law. I intend for this Committee to set us on a more hopeful path forward and I hope we can work on a bipartisan basis to ensure that the whole Congress does likewise. The Engineering Biology Research and Development Act would establish a framework for greater interagency coordination of federal investments in engineering biology and lead to a national strategy for these investments. The bill would also focus on expanding public-private partnerships and on education and training for the next generation of engineering biology researchers. Importantly, the bill would ensure that we address any potential ethical, legal, environmental, and societal issues associated with engineering biology. It will also ensure that public engagement and outreach are an integral part of this research initiative. The Committee was not given the opportunity to consider and move this bipartisan bill since 2015. However, it is on our agenda this year, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we consider amendments informed by the experts, including on today’s panel. A sustainable bioeconomy is central to the future of U.S. competitiveness and the wellbeing of our population. And engineering our way to a sustainable bioeconomy begins with a national strategy and careful attention to societal implications. I thank the witnesses for being here today. I look forward to today’s discussion, and I yield back the balance of my time. Read More

Chairwoman Stevens Opening Statement for Engineering Biology Hearing


(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology is holding a hearing titled, “Engineering Our Way to a Sustainable Bioeconomy.” Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology, Rep. Haley Stevens’s (D-MI), opening statement for the record is below. Good morning and welcome to the Research and Technology Subcommittee’s first hearing of the 116th Congress. A warm welcome as well to our distinguished group of witnesses. We have a great panel this morning and I am looking forward to hearing your testimony. As a Michigan native, it is a great pleasure to welcome Dr. Eric Hegg, who joins us today from Michigan State University. As Members of this Committee, we have the opportunity to learn about critical new and emerging technologies with the capacity to benefit society in a number of ways, and to consider how the Federal government can best support the responsible development of these technologies. This morning, the Committee will discuss new and developing biotechnologies enabled by engineering biology research, and their potential applications in sustainable agriculture, advanced manufacturing, and bioenergy. Engineering biology, a term which is used interchangeably with synthetic biology, is a multidisciplinary field at the intersection of biological, physical, chemical, and information sciences and engineering that allows researchers to re-engineer and develop new biological systems. While human gene editing is a hot topic of discussion in the public sphere, most of the engineering biology research being done today– even the human health research - is on microorganisms and plants. Engineering biology, in addition to enabling whole new industries, may yield significant environmental and health benefits because of its potential to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, improve food security and agricultural land use, make manufacturing processes much cleaner, combat antibiotic resistance, and even clean up legacy toxic waste sites. Today we will hear from the experts in academia and industry about the nature of engineering biology research, the current size of the commercial market and the potential for growth, how the U.S. stacks up against our foreign competitors, and the state of the U.S. biotechnology workforce. We will also hear from scholars on the ethical and security implications of engineering biology. It is essential that as we look to grow the U.S. investment in engineering biology R&D, we integrate the oversight framework necessary to protect the public and the environment, and to guard against national security risks. In this Committee, it is easy to get excited about the potential for new technologies. But we need only to look at the unintended consequences of past technologies to understand that we must also take a serious look at the risks.  Given both the tremendous economic potential and the potential risks of engineering biology R&D, it is essential that the U.S. maintain leadership in this area of research and technological development. I am concerned that we do not currently have any kind of national strategy. In the meantime, other countries, including China, are well ahead of us in establishing engineering biology as a national priority and providing the necessary funding to realize their goals. In this hearing, we will specifically consider the merits of the Engineering Biology Research and Development Act, introduced last Congress by the Chairwoman of the Full Committee, Ms. Johnson. The bill would provide a framework for a strategic and coordinated Federal program in engineering biology R&D. It’s long overdue that we take this legislation up in Committee. I’m sure today’s hearing will give us some good feedback on how to improve the legislation, so it helps ensure U.S. leadership in engineering biology R&D. I look forward to the expert testimony and to the discussion. And with that, I yield back. Read More

Chairwoman Johnson Statement on Trump’s FY 2020 Budget Request


(Washington, DC) – Today, President Trump released his Fiscal Year 2020 budget request. Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) made the following statement. “President Trump and his Administration have once again rejected reality with this FY20 budget request. This request proposes unreasonably deep cuts to many of the nation’s federal science agencies, including a 12 percent cut to NSF, 31 percent cuts to both the EPA and NIST, and a 60 percent cut to DOE’s advanced energy programs, continuing the trend of devaluing the unique role that Federal investments have on advancing our economy, competitiveness, and the future of our nation. This proposal is simply absurd and shows a complete disregard for the importance of civilian R&D and science and technology programs. If the President would like Congress to take his request seriously, he should make an effort to work together to craft a meaningful budget proposal.” Read More

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Ralph Abraham


Brian Babin


Andy Biggs


Mo Brooks


Barbara Comstock


Neal Dunn


Clay Higgins


Barry Loudermilk


Frank Lucas


Roger Marshall


Thomas Massie


Ralph Norman


Gary Palmer


Bill Posey


Francis Rooney


Randy Weber


Daniel Webster


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