Blog Archives

House Science Committee Organizes

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has announced its membership roster for the 117th Congress (see the majority and minority press releases). As previously reported, the Chair and Ranking Member will again be Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK). Members new to the Science Committee this Congress include Carlos Giménez (R-FL), Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Randy Feenstra (R-IA), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Young Kim (R-CA), Jake LaTurner (R-KS), Peter Meijer (R-MI), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Jay Obernolte (R-CA), Deborah K. Ross (D-NC), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Daniel Webster (R-FL), and Susan Wild (D-PA). Democratic subcommittee leadership is largely unchanged from the 116th Congress, with the exception of Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) helming the Subcommittee on Energy and Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) leading the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee. On the Republican side, Rep. Bice will serve as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Environment, Rep. Obernolte will serve as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, and Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) will be the Ranking Member on the Research and Technology Subcommittee. The full Science Committee roster is available on the Science Committee website.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 2), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

House Appropriations Leadership Finalized

The House Appropriations Committee recently announced its membership for the 117th Congress, including the naming of Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) as full committee chair and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) as chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee (see below for details). Congressional committees in the House and Senate have been slowly taking shape in recent weeks; however, many committee rosters have yet to be finalized, especially in the Senate where the majority has recently shifted from Republicans to Democrats. We will continue to report on notable new assignments as they are announced.

House Appropriations Committee (see majority press release and minority press release)

  • Full Appropriations Committee
    • Chair: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) *NEW*
    • Ranking Member: Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX)
  • Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee (with funding jurisdiction over the National Science Foundation, Census Bureau, National Institute of Justice and other agencies)
    • Chair: Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) *NEW*
    • Ranking Member: Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
  • Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Subcommittee (with funding jurisdiction over the National Institutes of Health, Department of Education and other agencies)
    • Chair: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
    • Ranking Member: Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)
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Posted in Issue 3 (February 2), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

COSSA Releases Analysis of FY 2021 Appropriations for Science Agencies

As previously reported, before adjourning for the year Congress passed a combined appropriations and coronavirus aid package that provides much needed pandemic relief and will fund the government through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2021 (September 30, 2021). Following several days of uncertainty, President Trump signed the package into law on December 27.

COSSA’s full analysis of the final FY 2021 funding bills for federal agencies and programs important to the social and behavioral science research community is now available here.

Attention now turns to the 117th Congress which convened on January 3. Lawmakers have begun the process of organizing and making Committee assignments ahead of President-Elect Biden’s inauguration on January 20, even as control of the Senate is not yet decided. Stay tuned to COSSA’s coverage for the latest developments.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 5), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

Congress Works to Close Out Term as Leaders Named for 117th Congress

With time running out before the current continuing resolution (CR) funding the government expires on December 11, Congressional leaders are still working to negotiate a final deal for an omnibus spending package to fully fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2021. Reportedly, appropriators have reached an agreement on the top-line funding levels for the various appropriations bills (see COSSA’s analyses of the House and Senate proposals). The main obstacle appears to disagreement be on the size and composition of an additional COVID-19 relief funding package, which would be attached to one of the appropriations bills to ensure passage. Although appropriators have reaffirmed their commitments to the December 11 deadline, they may pass an additional CR to give themselves additional time to wrap up spending. However, time before the end of the session is running out, particularly if Members hope to set aside time to quarantine ahead of returning home to their families for the Christmas holiday.

In the meantime, House Democrats have named leaders of several key committees important to the social sciences. The House majority selected Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) to take the helm of the House Appropriations Committee, replacing Nita Lowey (D-NY), who is retiring at the end of this year. Rep. DeLauro is a senior appropriator and current chair of Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS). During her tenure on the Labor-HHS subcommittee, DeLauro has been a big supporter of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and health research. In addition, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), a longtime champion of the social sciences, was unanimously re-elected to serve as Chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee, which oversees the National Science Foundation. Control of the Senate still depends on the results of the upcoming Georgia runoff elections. COSSA will continue to report on additional Committee appointments important to the social sciences as they are announced.

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Posted in Issue 24 (December 8), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

December Headlines to Feature Deep Dive on 2021 Policy Landscape

COSSA members are invited to register for the monthly Headlines webchat on Thursday, December 10 at 2:00 pm Eastern Time. The COSSA team will break down the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month, followed by a deep dive discussion on the social science policy landscape facing the new Congress and the Biden Administration next year. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization or university can register for the webchat here.

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Posted in Issue 24 (December 8), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

President-Elect Biden and a Divided Congress: 2021 Policy Outlook

The results of the 2020 elections seemed to have something for everyone to be happy (or unhappy) about. Former Vice President Joe Biden pulled out a convincing electoral victory, and while President Trump has yet to concede and his team continues to threaten legal challenges to the results, these protestations seem to be largely political theater at this point. However, while winning the White House was obviously the most important outcome for Democrats, they dramatically underperformed expectations in the Congressional races. This outcome likely leaves President-elect Biden with a difficult landscape to navigate in order to enact his policy agenda after the transition.

Presidential Transition

With the presidential race decided, attention now turns to the presidential transition. Almost immediately, the President-elect’s team began moving forward with plans and key appointments. The President-elect launched a transition website that so far lists four major priorities for the new Administration: COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity, and climate change. In addition, the transition team has appointed a COVID-19 Advisory Board headed by David Kessler, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner and Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco; Vivek Murthy, former U.S. Surgeon General; and Marcella Nunez-Smith, Associate Dean for Health Equity Research at the Yale School of Medicine. COSSA will continue to provide updates on plans for the transition, including notable policies and appointments.

House Races

While Democrats headed into Election Day hoping to expand their majority in the House of Representatives, the results tell a different story. The House will likely remain under Democratic control; however, at the time of this writing, Republicans flipped eight seats while Democrats have netted only three.

Notable Results:

  • Donna Shalala (D-FL), former Clinton cabinet member and professor of political science, was defeated in a re-match with Maria Elvira Salazar (R).
  • Kendra Horn (D-OK), member of the House Science Committee, lost to Oklahoma State Senator Stephanie Bice (R).
  • Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), PhD political scientist and social science champion, lost his primary bid to a more progressive Democrat, Marie Newman, earlier this year. Newman went on to win the seat against her Republican challenger in the general election.

Despite these losses, several major science—including social science—champions on both sides of the aisle won reelection. A few races remain too close to call, such as incumbent Rep. Matt Cartwright’s (D-PA) bid against Trump booster Jim Bognet (R); Rep. Cartwright is a pro-science member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Also important to watch is the incoming Republican freshman class, which will be skewed pro-Trump. Of particular note is the election of Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO), both proud QAnon conspiracy theorists, and Ronny Jackson (R-TX), who served as the White House physician from 2013-2018.

Senate Races

Underwhelming performance by Democrats in the Senate races was also a major headline, especially given that Democrats went into Election Day with the real potential of securing Senate control. Republican incumbents defied the odds, with a net loss of only one seat (having lost two and flipped one). Given the likely win of the Republican incumbents in the two outstanding Senate races (Alaska and North Carolina), we expect control of the Senate to be decided by a runoff election for Georgia’s two Senate seats in early January. The Democrats would need to flip both seats to tie control of the Senate 50-50, which would allow the Democratic White House to break ties in their favor.

Notable Results:

  • Cory Gardner (R-CO), who has been a visible figure in pro-science policy activities over the last several years, was defeated by former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D).
  • Martha McSally (R-AZ) has been unseated by astronaut Mark Kelly (D).
  • Gary Peters (D-MI), vocal supporter of science, narrowly won reelection in Michigan.
  • GOP incumbents Susan Collins (R-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Steve Daines (R-MT) all squeaked out wins in highly competitive races.

With so many unknowns, close monitoring over the next several weeks will be critical to determining a path forward for social science advocacy. Stay tuned to COSSA for the latest developments.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

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Posted in Issue 22 (November 10), Update, Volume 39 (2020)


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