The STEM Education Coalition is very pleased that President Trump will sign a pair of bipartisan bills into law that will authorize NASA and the National Science Foundation to bolster their efforts to bring more women and girls into the critical science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The morning of Jan. 20, as one of his final acts as President of the United States, President Barack Obama signed into law bipartisan legislation to codify the Presidential Innovations Fellows (PIF) program, making permanent a pathway for government to attract experienced technology entrepreneurs and innovators to public service. The bill, H.R. 39, mirrors legislation introduced in the Senate by U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mark R. Warner (D-VA), and James Lankford (R-OK).
The President signed into law the bipartisan American Innovation and Competiveness Act (AICA) (S. 3084). AICA represents a bicameral, bipartisan agreement that includes nine 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.
This year, 170 international, federal, state and local government officials -- including about a dozen members of Congress -- will attend CES® 2017 to experience the groundbreaking ways increased connectivity and tech innovation transform our world and help our country succeed.
The NDAA authorizes a total of $618.7 billion in spending, including more than $67 billion for a war fund known as the overseas contingency operations (OCO) account. That’s $3.2 billion more than Obama requested for OCO, which will be used for base budget items such as a 2.1 percent pay raise for troops and increases in the number of troops for Army, Marines and Air Force.
While the rise of secure digital communications necessitates that law enforcement have additional authority to successfully investigate crimes and combat terrorism, expanding government hacking power needs to be done in a careful and deliberate manner. Given the scope and importance of these rules, Congress should oversee the changes to ensure they respect civil liberties, do not weaken cybersecurity, and achieve the desired results for law enforcement.
“This bill maximizes the nation’s investment in basic research, and helps boost U.S. competitiveness, creates jobs and spurs new business and industries,” said Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX), who chairs the House science committee, in a statement issued shortly after the vote. “It improves accountability and transparency, reduces administrative burden on researchers, enhances agency oversight, which improves research coordination, and reforms federal science agency programs to increase the impact of taxpayer-funded research.”
Federal departments and agencies, including the science agencies and programs, will now face uncertainty about the total funds they have to spend for the upcoming year. They will likely respond by spending conservatively in the first months of 2017 as a precaution. In addition, they will be barred from starting new programs or stopping old ones and from implementing funding increases submitted in the president’s fiscal year 2017 budget request.
He became a hero as the first American to orbit the Earth and then served as a longtime U.S. senator. But John Glenn, who died Thursday at age 95, continued to defy gravity decades after his initial flight. The last survivor of the original Mercury 7 astronauts flew into space again at age 77. To his fellow crewmates on the space shuttle Discovery in 1998, the legend-turned-senator had to be called John. Or else.
Congress passed sweeping legislation Wednesday that boosts funding for medical research, eases the development and approval of experimental treatments and reforms federal policy on mental health care. The 94 to 5 Senate vote Wednesday followed a 392 to 26 House vote last week.