Capitol Hill

Congress’s “Rocket Scientist” to Take Helm of World’s Largest Science Organization

Rush Holt, a physicist and Democratic congressman from New Jersey, was named today as CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a nonprofit that promotes science and publishes the Science family of journals. When he retires from his eight terms in the U.S. House of Representatives in a few months he will succeed Alan Leshner, a neuroscientist, who has held the AAAS job since 2001.

Top DOD intel official calls for cyber bill

Because effective cybersecurity requires public and private enterprises to work together, “I think we need legislation in this area,” said Michael Vickers, the Defense Department’s (DOD) top civilian military intelligence official. “Cybersecurity is a job for everybody,” he said a Defense One event Wednesday.

U.S. Senate votes against Keystone XL Pipeline

In a combustible blend of oil and politics, the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected legislation Tuesday night aimed at forcing completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Republicans vowed to resurrect the controversial issue swiftly after taking two-house control of Congress in January.

Former House Members Say R&D Credit, Device Tax Likely to Be Addressed in 2015

Congress probably won't take up the research and development tax credit or the medical device tax in the lame duck session, but is likely to address both taxes in the next session as part of a larger discussion on corporate tax reform, former lawmakers said Nov. 6 during a post-election briefing.

House votes in favor of Keystone oil pipeline

Congress inched closer to a possible showdown with President Barack Obama over the Keystone XL oil pipeline as the Republican-controlled House approved the project. Supporters in the Democratic-run Senate predicted they will get the 60 votes needed to pass it next week.

Democrats line up behind Obama in net-neutrality battle

Democrats are falling in line behind President Obama’s call for federal regulators to treat the Internet like a public utility. GOP leaders of both the House and Senate have said that aggressive rules would hurt the economy and have lambasted the idea of reclassifying the Internet under a law that was written decades ago.

House panel to hold net neutrality hearing

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will examine federal regulators’ attempt to write new net neutrality rules next month, it announced on Wednesday. The Dec. 10 session is likely to offer Republican committee leaders the chance to grill Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officials on the expected new rules.

Obama thrills left with Web fight

Obama on Monday released an unusual video statement urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enact the toughest possible rules on Internet service providers, thrilling liberal activists who have long pushed him to take a firmer stand on net neutrality. Net neutrality — the principal that all traffic on the Internet should be treated the same — was a plank of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and appears to be taking on added significance as he enters the twilight of his term.

Tech industry drawing up wish lists for new U.S. Congress

A Republican majority in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives presents opportunities and challenges for technology-related legislation in Congress. Big industry groups are drawing up wish lists and honing strategy. The following are some of the developments technology and telecommunications lobbyists are watching in the next Congress:

Research in the national interest - Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas)

The original statute that created the National Science Foundation referred to grants being in the national interest.  Arguing against a national interest standard insults American citizens who have every right to expect that their hard-earned dollars will be used on projects that benefit our nation.

GOP has votes to pass Keystone

Before Tuesday’s election, supporters had 57 votes in the Senate in support of Keystone, including a dozen Democrats. After Republicans picked up seven Senate seats (and counting) in Tuesday's election, the vote count for Keystone had ballooned to 61.

Outlook Dims For Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act

The Senate has so far failed to act on a companion bill (S. 1468) that is similar to the House bill. But advocates say it’s still possible that Congress will return after the election and take the final steps needed to both authorize the network and adopt related policies aimed at strengthening U.S. manufacturing.

Elizabeth Warren Teams Up With Orrin Hatch To Push Huge Science Research Fund

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) have been quietly working for the past year on the Invest for a Healthy Future Act, a bill that may end up increasing money for government agencies that fund research by more than $21.5 billion over the next dozen years.

Controversy Over NSF Grants Continues

Lamar Smith's (R-TX) August 27 letter cites various court decisions that he states affirms that “Congress’s authority to obtain information, including but not limited to, confidential information is extremely broad.”  He later writes “There can be no dispute about the Committee’s authority to oversee the NSF. This controversy continues to cause significant conflict between Smith and the most senior Democrat on the committee, Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX).

White House to seek budget relief deal in Congress

The Obama administration will press Congress next year to ease planned austerity measures that threaten to drag on the economy, a White House official said on Tuesday. Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said he wants to build on a deal reached in Congress last year that provided a temporary reprieve against so-called sequestration budget cuts.


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