Week in Review 5.13.22

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee newsletter! The SST Newsletter highlights the goings on of the Committee, the hard work of our Members, and a look ahead.

House Science Members Join Conference Kickoff Meeting for Innovation and Competitiveness Legislation

On Thursday, the Conference Committee on H.R. 4521, the bipartisan innovation and competitiveness legislation, held its kickoff meeting. Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, led the House delegation. U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, (D-Wash.), Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, chaired the meeting. The 107-member Conference Committee is tasked with reconciling differences between the House’s America COMPETES Act and the Senate’s United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA).

Hear from a few House Science Conferees:

“It is time for us to revitalize federal support for the kinds of research and development initiatives that have long made the U.S. a beacon of excellence in science and innovation.”

-Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)

“Our human capital gap is one of the most vulnerable parts of our supply chain. But provisions in the COMPETES Act would address this. While increasing STEM scholarships for U.S. students, the bill simultaneously draws the world’s best and brightest STEM doctoral recipients and company founders to the United States.”

-Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)

“I look forward to working with members of this Conference Committee to advance competitiveness legislation that uplifts American workers, addresses climate change, and puts the U.S. at the forefront of innovation and manufacturing.”

-Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)

“My District is in the heartland of the automotive industry. Every day, I wake up to headlines about the chip shortage. And the impact of the CHIPS crisis is wide-ranging — it has dramatically impacted Michigan’s small to midsize manufacturers as well.”

-Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI)

Passed the House: Five House Science Bills

On Wednesday, the House passed five Science, Space, and Technology Committee bills:

H.R. 847 — Promoting Digital Privacy Technologies Act

H.R. 5324 — NWR Modernization Act of 2021

S. 66 — South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act of 2021

H.R. 7077 — Empowering the U.S. Fire Administration Act

H.R. 1437 — PRECIP Act

Securing the Digital Commons: Open-Source Software Cybersecurity

On Wednesday, the Subcommittees on Investigations & Oversight and Research & Technology held a joint hearing titled, “Securing the Digital Commons: Open-Source Software Cybersecurity.” Science Committee Members and witnesses discussed the unique benefits and risks inherent in open-source software, and explored the ways industry and government can collaborate to enhance open-source cybersecurity.

“In a world where our technology so often comes with hidden drawbacks or motivations, open-source software is often a charmingly utopian exception. At its best, it is simply people creating software out of passion, and sharing out of a desire for others to benefit from the fruits of that labor. It empowers people of all backgrounds and levels of technical ability to build upon the work of others and find or make software suited to their needs. There is something wonderful about that.”

- Chairman Bill Foster (D-IL) of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight

“A vibrant open-source ecosystem is an engine for U.S. competitiveness and growth. This ecosystem benefits Americans every day, including in my home state of Michigan. During the pandemic, open-source applications tracked open hospital beds and helped Michiganders access food for their families when schools were closed.”

- Chairwoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology

Read full opening statements and watch the hearing here.

Space Situational Awareness: Guiding the Transition to a Civil Capability

On Thursday, the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics held a hearing titled, “Space Situational Awareness: Guiding the Transition to a Civil Capability.” During the hearing, witnesses shared testimony regarding planning for the transition of certain space situational awareness services and information into a civil capability.

“The growth in space activity has made SSA crucial. Space-enabled services like communications, national security activities, banking, weather forecasting, and Earth imaging depend on the ability of systems to operate safely in space. However, safety is far from guaranteed. Mega constellations of thousands of satellites are creating orbital congestion, and orbital debris from past missions — and reckless anti-satellite tests — are compounding the risks of operating in space. The sustainability of the space environment is in peril if we don’t act.”

- Chairman Don Beyer (D-VA) of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

Read witness testimony and watch the hearing here.

Looking Back: Colorado CODEL

Last week, Members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology were welcomed to Colorado by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) to visit some of the many research and technology facilities in the Denver area. They also participated in a roundtable with state and local representatives, emergency management officials, Governor Polis, and individuals from NOAA and NWS to discuss the recent Marshall Fire. After the roundtable, Members toured the fire damage in Old Towne Superior.

Check out Rep. Perlmutter’s takeaways from the trip:

Coming up in Committee

Full Committee Markup

Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Time: 12:15 p.m. ET

Place: 2318 Rayburn House Office Building and Online via Zoom

Markup of:

Subcommittee on Research and Technology Field Hearing

Subject: “Building a Workforce to Navigate the Electric Vehicle Future”

Date: Friday, May 20, 2022

Time: 10:00 a.m. ET

Place: Oakland County Commission Chambers

1200 Court Tower Blvd, Pontiac, MI 48341

and Online via Zoom

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U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology