Ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) issued a statement after the election results Tuesday night stating that, if elected chairwoman, she wants to restore the credibility of the science committee “as a place where science is respected and recognized as a crucial input to good policymaking.” Johnson said that includes acknowledging that climate change is real, “seeking to understand what climate science is telling us, and working to understand the ways we can mitigate it.”
Tuesday’s elections resulted in a Democratic majority in the House, but the changes for the next Congress go far beyond this outcome. Flipping party control means new chairs for every committee in the House; many Senate Republicans in leadership positions are reaching their party’s term limits, yielding new committee seniority; and, retirements and incumbent losses yield further changes.
The faces of Capitol Hill are changing. When the 116th Congress heads to Washington in January, there will be a record number of women in the ranks -- at least 123, according to the news website Axios, including the first Muslim women, the first Somali-American, and the first Native American women. There will be more scientists too.
Recently, I was honored to be invited by Dr. Robert Boege, Executive Director of ASTRA to join ASTRA’s Futurist Dr. Ronnie Lowenstein, and serve as a NetGeneration of Youth Cyberjournalist covering a Congressional Briefing held in the Rayburn House Office Building on October 11, 2018 entitled, “Ending Opiod Use: A New Hope”. The event was co-sponsored by ASTRA, The World Association for Laser Therapy, NetGeneration of Youth, The Optical Society of America, and thirteen other science and medical organizations. What an opportunity to learn about PBM, “photobiomodulation,” an innovative medical technology, as well as, to be exposed to the organizational stakeholders who advocate for support of America’s ‘science and technology innovation ecosystem.’
With Europe passing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) -- a significant piece of data protection legislation with global implications -- and now California implementing a new privacy law, coupled with several high-profile incidents involving companies exposing consumer data, there is a growing push for federal data privacy legislation in the United States.
The American economy added 134,000 jobs in September, according to the US Department of Commerce. The unemployment rate sits at 3.7% - the lowest since 1969. On the other hand, earlier this week Verizon announced 44,000 layoffs to its global workforce, including a significant portion in the United States, and the outsourcing of 2,500-5,000 jobs to external contractors.
The bill will rebrand DHS’s main cybersecurity unit known as National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency, spinning the headquarters office out into a full-fledged operational component of DHS on the same level as Secret Service or FEMA.
The rollout of 5G high-speed wireless networks are expected to usher in an era of super-fast internet speeds, but many experts worry that the new technology will only leave poor urban communities further behind.
The bill aims to do a number of things, including establishing an AI in government advisory board, directing the White House Office of Management and Budget to look into AI as part of the federal data strategy, getting the Office of Personnel Management to look at what kinds of employee skills are necessary for AI competence in government and expanding “an office” at the General Services Administration that will provide expertise, do research and “promote U.S. competitiveness.”
The first section of the FY 2019 budget to pass included funding for energy and water, the legislature, military construction and veterans’ affairs. While the year-over-year growth was not as strong for most initiatives as from FY 2017 into FY 2018, the average gain within the Department of Energy was about three percent.