On January 30, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing to discuss the implementation of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA). The AICA reauthorized and updated policies at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and other federal science agencies.
According to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Science and Engineering Indicators 2018 report released on January 18, the U.S. is currently the global leader in science and technology (S&T), though our nation’s share of global S&T activities is declining as others continue to rise. This year’s report indicates that the U.S. invests the most in research and development (R&D), attracts the highest venture capital, awards the most advanced degrees, and is the largest producer in high-technology manufacturing sectors. However, U.S. leadership in the global science and engineering landscape is being challenged by rapidly developing nations, particularly China.
After the second session of the 115th Congress began on January 3, two new members were sworn into the Senate – Doug Jones (D-AL) and Tina Smith (D-MN) – bringing the party numbers to 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats, and 2 Independents. There is now a one-vote margin separating the majority and minority for each committee in the Senate, except the Judiciary Committee which has a two-vote margin. House committee assignments have also shifted in the second session, with the Energy and Commerce Committee welcoming four incoming Republican members and new leadership announced in the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
The federal government went into a three-day partial shutdown after the Senate rejected a short-term spending agreement that passed in the House to keep agencies funded past January 19. The shutdown ended when both chambers passed and President Donald Trump signed H.R.195 into law on the night of January 22. H.R.195 funds the government at FY 2017 levels through February 8, extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years through FY 2023, and delays the enactment of three health care related taxes.
As the first month of 2018 draws to a close, we thought it’d be a good time to look back over 2017 in the Critical Issues program. We would like to thank you for being part of the Critical Issues community this year, whether you were one of the 10,000+ people who watched a webinar live or on YouTube, gave us feedback to improve what we’re doing, or said hello on Twitter. We are always working on ways to bring you more useful, expert, impartial geoscience information or opportunities to discuss geoscience issues, and 2017 was our busiest year yet.
The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) is pleased to announce the publication of its first Geoscience Policy Annual Review, an in-depth summary of the major developments in federal geoscience policy during 2017. Throughout the year, geoscience issues were the focus of significant action by President Trump and the 115th Congress. The Geoscience Policy Annual Review provides a nonpartisan synthesis of legislative, budgetary, and administrative actions across geoscience topics.
A list of notices from the federal register for December 2017 from various federal science agencies, including the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Environmental Protection Agency, and more.