So Far…

April 6, 2017

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, released the following statement in applause of the committee’s legislative accomplishments thus far in 2017.

“The American people gave a clear order last November that they wanted our country to go in a new direction. As a result, our committee returned in January and worked with Congress to immediately pass the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, which is the sum of 11 pieces of stalled legislation to strengthen and reform agencies and programs that administer basic research while creating well-paying jobs for hardworking Americans. This bill was signed into law on January 6. 

“In the new Congress, our committee hit the ground running with a White House that was ready to partner with Congress and the American people. We have worked tirelessly to bridge partisan divides and to pass nine bills out of the House, three of which have already been signed into law, with one more to be signed by President Trump in the coming days. With these valuable pieces of legislation, our committee has successfully paved the way for more women to pursue careers in STEM fields. Legislation signed by President Trump also included a much-needed authorization of NASA, which had not been authorized since 2010 and expired in 2013, that puts America back on track to being a global leader in space exploration. Next, President Trump is due to sign a bill from our committee this month that transforms our nation’s weather forecasting and warning capabilities through research and private sector enterprise, making it possible for business owners, farmers,  private property owners, and Americans across the country to better prepare for severe weather.

“Three of our bills have passed the House and are pending Senate action. One vital, bipartisan energy bill, the Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act, will advance basic research and nuclear energy research and development while setting clear fundamental science and technology transfer priorities for the Department of Energy. The HONEST Act and the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act will require EPA to be open and honest while strengthening public trust in the science used at EPA.

“Our committee also approved the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, Assessment, and Auditing Act of 2017 that will hold federal agencies accountable for implementing recommended cybersecurity measures to better protect Americans’ confidential tax, health, and other personal information. The committee has held seven subcommittee hearings and three full committee hearings to gain valuable information from world renown experts, stakeholders, agency officials, astronauts, and other leading scientists. 

“While the 115th Congress has only been back at work for less than 100 days, our committee has had many significant accomplishments and we are just getting started.  

“The committee has members with backgrounds ranging from military veterans to medical doctors to seasoned attorneys to small business owners. I look forward to working with my colleagues to generate even more worthy accomplishments and exceed the expectations of the American people. We will work closely with the Trump administration to make America great again.”



Four Bills Enacted this Year

From the 114th Congress:

S. 3084, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, a bicameral, bipartisan agreement that includes eleven House Science Committee bills that passed the full House over the last two years, including H.R. 1806, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015.  Bills also included in AICA are:  H.R. 1119; H.R. 1156; H.R. 1162; H.R. 1764; H.R. 1924; H.R. 3293; H.R. 5049; H.R. 5312; H.R. 5636; and H.R. 5639.


From the 115th Congress: 

H.R. 255, the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act, authorizes the National Science Foundation to use its entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world.

H.R. 321, the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act, authorizes the NASA Administrator to encourage women and girls to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to pursue careers that will further advance America’s space science and exploration efforts through support of initiatives like: NASA GIRLS and NASA BOYS; Aspire to Inspire; and the Summer Institute in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research. Such important programs are intended to encourage more young women to enter fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). 

S. 442, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017, is bipartisan, bicameral legislation that reaffirms Congress’ commitment to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and directs NASA to pursue a balanced portfolio of activities and authorizes $19.5 billion in fiscal year 2017.


One Bill Waiting for President Trump’s Signature:

H.R. 353, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act, directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to prioritize its research to improve weather data, modelling, computing, forecasting, and warnings. This final version of the bill was passed out of the House on April 4. H.R. 353 also includes H.R. 312 and H.R. 1427.


Seven Bills Passed on the House Floor:

H.R. 589, the Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act, provides policy direction to the Department of Energy (DOE) on basic research, nuclear energy research and development (R&D), research coordination and priorities, and reforms to streamline national lab management. H.R. 589 also includes language from the following bills that passed the 114th Congress:  H.R. 1806, H.R. 1158, H.R. 874, H.R. 35, H.R. 5638, H.R. 5640, and H.R. 4084 and H.R. 431 from the 115th Congress.

H.R. 1430, the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act of 2017 (HONEST Act), requires that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations be based upon science that is publically available.

H.R. 1431, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017, restores the independence of Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) and promotes fairness, transparency, public participation, and responsiveness to ensure unbiased scientific advice.

S. 442, which was the product of negotiations with the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, passed the House on March 7 and went to the president’s desk for signature on March 21.

H.R. 353, passed the House on January 9 and April 4 after Senate passage of a negotiated and final version.

H.R. 255 and H.R. 321 passed the House on January 10 and went to the president’s desk for signature on February 28.


Three Bills Passed Out of Committee:

H.R. 1224, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, Assessment, and Auditing Act of 2017, this bill takes steps to promote federal use of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework by providing guidance that federal agencies may use to incorporate the Framework into information security risk management efforts. 

H.R. 1431 and H.R. 1430 also passed out of the committee and went on to pass the House floor.


Three Full Committee Hearings:

On March 29, the SST Committee held a hearing entitled, Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications, and the Scientific Method.  Witnesses included Dr. Judith Curry, president, Climate Forecast Applications Network; professor emeritus, Georgia Institute of Technology; Dr. John Christy, professor and director, Earth System Science Center, NSSTC, University of Alabama at Huntsville; state climatologist, Alabama; Dr. Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science, Pennsylvania State University; director, Earth System Science Center (ESSC), Pennsylvania State University; and Dr. Roger Pielke Jr., professor, Environmental Studies Department, University of Colorado.

On February 16, the SST Committee held a hearing entitled, NASA: Past, Present, and Future.  Witnesses included the Honorable Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut; former United States senator; Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, Gemini VI, Gemini IX, Apollo 10, Apollo-Soyuz Test Project astronaut; chairman, NASA International Space Station Advisory Committee; Dr. Ellen Stofan, former chief scientist, NASA; and Mr. Tom Young, past director, Goddard Spaceflight Center; past president/COO, Martin Marietta; past chairman, SAIC.

On February 7, the SST Committee held a hearing entitled, Making EPA Great Again.  Witnesses included the Honorable Jeffrey R. Holmstead, partner, Bracewell LLP; Dr. Kimberly White, senior director, Chemical Products and Technology, American Chemistry Council; the Honorable Rush Holt, chief executive officer, American Association for the Advancement of Science; and Dr. Richard Belzer, independent consultant.


Seven Subcommittee Hearings:

On March 22, the Space Subcommittee held a hearing entitled, The ISS After 2024: Options and Impacts.  Witnesses included Mr. William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for human exploration and operations, NASA; Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, executive director, Coalition for Deep Space Exploration; Mr. Eric Stallmer, president, Commercial Spaceflight Federation; and Dr. Robert Ferl, distinguished professor and director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research, University of Florida.

On March 21, the Research and Technology Subcommittee held a hearing entitled, National Science Foundation Part II: Future Opportunities and Challenges for Science.  Witnesses included Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, acting chief operating officer, National Science Foundation; Dr. Maria Zuber, chair, National Science Board;  Dr. Jeffrey Spies, co-founder and chief technology officer, Center for Open Science and assistant professor, University of Virginia; and Dr. Keith Yamamoto, vice chancellor for science policy and strategy, University of California, San Francisco.

On March 9, the Research and Technology Subcommittee held a hearing entitled, National Science Foundation Part I: Overview and Oversight.  Witnesses included Dr. France Córdova, director, National Science Foundation (NSF), and Ms. Allison Lerner, inspector general, National Science Foundation (NSF).

On March 8, the Space Subcommittee held a hearing entitled, Regulating Space: Innovation, Liberty, and International Obligations.  Witnesses included Ms. Laura Montgomery, attorney and sole proprietor, Ground Based Space Matters, LLC; Dr. Eli Dourado, senior research fellow and director, Technology Policy Program, Mercatus Center, George Mason University; Mr. Douglas L. Loverro, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, U.S. Department of Defense; Mr. Dennis J. Burnett, adjunct professor of law, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Law; and Dr. Henry B. Hogue, specialist in American national government, Congressional Research Service.

On February 28, the Environment and Oversight Subcommittees held a joint hearing entitled, At What Cost? Examining the Social Cost of Carbon.  Witnesses included Dr. Ted Gayer, vice president and director of economic studies, Brookings Institute; Dr. Kevin Dayaratna, senior statistician and research programmer, Center for Data Analysis, The Heritage Foundation; Dr. Michael Greenstone, Milton Friedman Professor in Economics, the College, and the Harris School; director, Interdisciplinary Energy Policy Institute, University of Chicago; director, Energy & Environment Lab, University of Chicago Urban Labs; and Dr. Patrick Michaels, director, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute.

On February 15, the Energy and Oversight Subcommittees held a joint hearing entitled, Risky Business: The DOE Loan Guarantee Program.  Witnesses included Ms. Diane Katz, senior research fellow in regulatory policy, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation; Mr. Chris Edwards, director, Tax Policy Studies, Cato Institute; Mr. Dan Reicher, executive director, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University; and Dr. Ryan Yonk, assistant research professor, Department of Economics and Finance, Utah State University; research director, Institute of Political Economy, Utah State University.

On February 14, the Research and Technology Subcommittee held a hearing entitled, Strengthening U.S. Cybersecurity Capabilities.  Witnesses included Dr. Charles H. Romine, director, Information Technology Lab, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); Mr. Iain Mulholland, industry member, CSIS Cyber Policy Task Force; chief technology officer, Security, VMware, Inc.; Dr. Diana Burley, executive director and chair, Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection (I3P); professor, Human and Organizational Learning, The George Washington University; and Mr. Gregory Wilshusen, director, Information Security Issues, GAO.