Latest News

June 2017

  • House Releases FY18 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill: On June 28, the House Appropriations Committee released the fiscal year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill. The bill contains $54 billion in discretionary funding – a decrease of $2.6 billion below FY17 – and funds the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies. The bill targets funding increases for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS). The bill does provide a funding increase to NASA, but cuts funding to several other key science agencies such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and NSF. (28 June 2017)
  • House Subcommittee Advances Bill to Store Spent Nuclear Fuel at Yucca Mountain: On June 15, the Environment Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the “Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017”, advancing it to the full committee for further consideration. The bill would authorize the Department of Energy to move ahead with a permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, and also provide for the construction of interim monitored retrievable storage facilities to provide flexibility “until Yucca Mountain is fully licensed and prepared to receive shipments.” (15 June 2017)
  • DOE To Unfreeze All ARPA-E Grant Funds: On June 14, the Department of Energy announced that it will release the remainder of FY16 funds previously frozen for over thirty competitively selected Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) awardees. (14 June 2017)
  • House Passes Energy Workforce Bill: On June 12, the House passed a bill that promotes education and workforce development programs to increase the number of individuals, including scientists, trained to work in energy and manufacturing. The bill would direct the Department of Energy to prioritize education and training activities when awarding grants. (12 June 2017)
  • How Many Science Jobs are at Risk Under Trump’s Proposed Budget? House Democrats Seek Answers: In a June 9 letter led by Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), 55 House Democrats called on the leaders of seven federal science agencies (DOE, EPA, NIST, NASA, NIH, NSF, and NOAA) to provide information on the number federal, laboratory, and university jobs that would be eliminated if the President’s budget request for fiscal year 2018 were to be enacted. The letter argues the funding levels requested “would cause permanent damage to our research infrastructure and workforce and furthermore force our National Labs to lay off critical scientific staff.” (9 June 2017)
  • NASA Acting Administrator Lightfoot Discusses the FY18 Budget on Capital Hill: NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot testified before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee on the proposed fiscal year 2018 budget. Much of the discussion surrounded the White House’s proposed cuts to the Earth Science budget and the termination of the Office of Education. (8 June 2017)
  • NSF Director Córdova Testifies at Budget Hearing: NSF Director France Córdova appeared before the House Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee to discuss the agency’s budget proposal for FY18. (7 June 2017)
  • American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017 Bill Introduced: U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) introduces H.R. 2809. This bipartisan bill is cosponsored by Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas), Rep. Jim Bridestine (R-Okla.), Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas), Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.), and Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.). (7 June 2017)
  • President Trump Will Withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement: The President announces that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate accord, dealing a serious blow to global efforts to combat climate change. (1 June 2017)

May 2017

  • The Trump Administration Releases its FY18 Budget Proposal: The President’s budget proposes deep cuts to our nation’s leading scientific agencies including National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Read AGU’s response here. (23 May 2017)
  • Bill to Fund Federal Government Approved: The House approves the FY17 Consolidated Omnibus Appropriations Bill, the legislation that will provide discretionary funding for the federal government for the current fiscal year. (3 May 2017)
  • Senate Passes Space Weather Bill: The Senate unanimously passed a bill intended to support space weather research and planning to protect critical infrastructure from solar storms. (2 May 2017)

April 2017

March 2017

  • Weather Bill Passes Senate: The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, sponsored by Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), passes the Senate without objection. (29 Mar 2017)
  • HONEST Act Passes House: A revamped version of the Secret Science bill, the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment (HONEST) Act, passes the House. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), aims to make scientific research and data at EPA more transparent, but draws criticism from scientific organizations. Read AGU’s transparency position statement. (29 Mar 2017)
  • Nuclear Energy Bill Introduced: Senator Barasso (R-WY) along with a bipartisan group of 10 senators introduced S.512 Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act. The bill is currently being considered in the Senate. (20 March 2017)
  • President’s Budget Released: The White House released the President’s budget, entitled “America First – A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again“, a “skinny” or outline of the President’s budget. The Administration is slated to release a more detailed budget in May. Read AGU’s response here.
  • House Republicans’ Science Priorities: Today, the Republican members of the House Science, Space, & Technology Committee sent their fiscal year 2018 views and estimates to the House Budget Committee. This document outlines the GOP’s views on the agencies within it’s jurisdiction, including: Department of Energy’s Office of Science, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). (13 March 2017)
  • Senate Democrats’ Science Priorities: Today, some Democratic members of the Senate Commerce, Space, and Transportation Committee sent their fiscal year 2018 views and estimates to the Senate Budget Committee.  This document outlines the GOP’s views on the agencies within it’s jurisdiction, including: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. (10 March 2017)
  • Scientific integrity bill introduced in the House: Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduces  the Scientific Integrity Act, a companion to the Senate bill introduced by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL). (3 Mar 2017)
  • New Secretary of Energy: Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) was confirmed by the Senate to be the new Secretary of Energy. (2 Mar 2017)
  • New Secretary of Interior: Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) was confirmed by the Senate to be the new Secretary of Interior. (1 Mar 2017)

February 2017

  • INSPIRE ACT Becomes Law: The law directs NASA to encourage women and girls to pursue STEM education opportunities and careers in aerospace. The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Barbara Comstock (R-VA) and in the Senate by Dean Heller (R-NV). (28 Feb 2017)
  • Earth and Space Science 101: Missed the first briefing of the House Earth and Space Science Caucus? Check out storify for a great recap of the event! (28 Feb 2017)
  • New Commerce Secretary: In a 72-27 vote, the Senate confirmed Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary. To learn more about Secretary Ross and the other nominees, read our Bridge blog post here. (27 Feb 2017)
  • Member’s day is February 28th: While only 52 out of 435 members of the House of Representatives sit on the Appropriations Committee, which writes the yearly federal discretionary spending bills, every Representative can make a public statement to the committee, stating their priorities for federal spending. Ask your Representative to stand up and speak out for Earth and space science. Deadline for Representatives to request time for testimony is 21 February, so act now. (15 Feb 2017)
  • Science Adviser Petition Update: We reached 10,000 signatures. Thank you to all who signed, shared, and supported our efforts. (13 Feb 2017)
  • Senate introduces bill to protect scientific integrity: Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and over 20 other senators introduce the Scientific Integrity Act, which aims to protect science at federal agencies from political interference. (7 Feb 2017)

January 2017

  • President Trump signs immigration ban executive order. Stand against the immigration ban, and tell your legislator that science has no borders. (27 Jan 2017)
  • Scientific Integrity: AGU issues letters to U.S. federal agencies addressing recent developments, where directives have been given for the agencies to cease public communications. Stand up for scientific integrity by sharing an AGU letter (25 Jan 2017)
  • Space Weather Bill: Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) introduces the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act, which would establish a national, coordinated plan to better understand and forecast space weather events (12 Jan 2017)
  • Science Policy Events at 2016 Fall Meeting: Did you miss a science policy event at Fall Meeting. Catch-up here. (10 Jan 2017)

December 2016

  • Heading to San Francisco for Fall Meeting? Learn more about science policy events. (1 Dec 2016)